Podcast: Hard Truths by Vertex | Episode 1 - Building an enduring VC with Kee Lock Chua

Kee Lock CHUA | 18 Jan 2023

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our very own podcast - Hard Truths by Vertex!

Episode 1 - Building an enduring VC with Kee Lock Chua (18 Jan 2023)

You might know of Vertex Ventures as a successful VC in South East Asia and India. But did you know that it had a troubled start? So how did we then go on to becoming one of the top VCs in the region with investments in Grab, Nium and PatSnap and what is our secret recipe for identifying the kinds of founders that build unicorns? What are the hard truths about building an enduring VC? Learn about these and a lot more directly from Kee Lock Chua, CEO of Vertex Holdings and Managing Partner of Vertex Ventures South East Asia and India.

Our Guest

Chua Kee Lock
is CEO of Vertex Holdings and concurrently Managing Partner of Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India as well as Chairman of Vertex Growth Fund.

Prior to this, he held senior positions in Biosensors International Group, Ltd., a developer / manufacturer of medical devices; Walden International, a US-headquartered venture capital firm; NatSteel Ltd., a Singapore industrial products company, and Intraco Ltd., a Singapore-listed trading/distribution company. Mr. Chua co-founded MediaRing, provider of voice-over-internet, which later listed on Singapore’s stock exchange.

Mr. Chua was appointed by the Singapore Government as a Non-Resident Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba and the Republic of Panama in 2020. He currently serves on the boards of several companies, including Yongmao and Credit Bureau Asia, which are publicly listed.

Mr. Chua graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin and a M.Sc. degree from Stanford University.

Your Host

Elise Tan is the Director of Communications and Community at Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India. Prior to joining Vertex, she has had extensive experience in investor relations and partnership at global venture funds and accelerators with more than $100m in AUM. Elise also currently runs a Southeast Asia-based startup community of nearly 800 entrepreneurs called the Asia Startup network and actively supports their startup journey through panels, meet-ups and mentoring programs.

In This Episode

  • (01:18) What’s top of mind for Kee Lock
  • (03:10) Kee Lock’s most memorable deal
  • (07:38) How Vertex tries to evaluate founder passion and the example of Nium
  • (10:48) Challenges Kee Lock faced in the early days of Vertex
  • (17:58) Lessons from Kee Lock’s father that still hold good today
  • (22:25) The key ingredients for work life balance
  • (25:45) What female founders most need
  • (28:11) Words to live by

If you like what you hear please follow or subscribe to the show so you don’t miss out on any of our upcoming discussions.

Watch this episode on YouTube.

Part 1

Part 2

Listen on:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0yhZ7RPNEvX36IC5b9Z1lh

Google: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy50cmFuc2lzdG9yLmZtL2hhcmQtdHJ1dGhzLWJ5LXZlcnRleA

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hard-truths-by-vertex/id1659392336

Check out and Listen to the other episodes here.


We thank you Vertex Holdings for their support.

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Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India is part of the global Vertex Ventures network of funds.

In addition to Southeast Asia and India, the Vertex Global Network is comprised of affiliates in Silicon Valley, China and Israel. This provides a unique platform for our portfolio companies to realize their full potential by leveraging the combined experience and resources of our extensive network of global partners.

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