Dec. 3, 2020

Aaron Fu (Catalyst Fund) - The Biggest Misconception When Investing In Emerging Markets, Difference Between Selling to SMBs and Consumers, and the Effects of Mobile First

Aaron Fu (Catalyst Fund) - The Biggest Misconception When Investing In Emerging Markets, Difference Between Selling to SMBs and Consumers, and the Effects of Mobile First

Our guest today is Aaron Fu, Head of Growth at Catalyst Fund. Catalyst Fund is an inclusive fintech accelerator that is focused on investing in companies located in different parts of Africa, India and Mexico. They support innovative startups building affordable, accessible and appropriate solutions to reach the world's 3 billion underserved, while accelerating innovation ecosystems across emerging markets. We focus on the difference between selling to a consumer, SMB and enterprise business, how he analyzes emerging markets and how some of these companies scale cross border.


And there you have it. It was such a pleasure chatting with Aaron. I highly recommend following him on Twitter @aaronQfu.


Some of the questions I ask Aaron:

  1. What are some of the differences in your due diligence approach then a company focusing on selling to enterprises?
  2. What are some of the differences in the business model that entrepreneurs need to account for when the customer is a small business vs. a consumer?
  3. Looking at your portfolio, it seems as though one of the themes is cross-border exchange. When we spoke with Maya from Ingressive, she spoke how when a company expands crossborders, it’s not as straightforward. When you are thinking about investing in these types of companies, what are some of the risks?
  4. When we spoke previously, you mentioned how some of the businesses started in Africa also have overlap and have done quite well outside of Africa (i.e. South American and Mexico). What are some of the reasons why these companies have been able to be successful overseas?
  5. What have been some of the challenges when investing in consumer facing businesses that are in emerging markets?
  6. We’ve discussed at length on this show how investors think about opportunities relating to the american market. When it comes to emerging markets, how do you think about opportunities?
  7. Can you walk me through your due diligence process?
  8. Has it been hard establishing conviction amongst founders remotely?
  9. What is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to investing in emerging markets?
  10. What’s one thing that you would change when it came to venture capital?
  11. What’s one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?
  12. What’s one piece of advice that you have for founders, wanting to build a business?