EP 138 – Nicolas du Cray and Rajive Keshup – Cathay Innovation – The Ecosystem Is Now Too Big to Ignore

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Michael Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.  Michael lived and worked in Tokyo from February 1990 until December 2011.  Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, building one of the biggest and fastest-growing podcast listener bases in the region.  His AsiaTechPodcast.com show has listeners in more than 130 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Based in Singapore, Nicolas du Cray is a Partner at Cathay Innovation (www.cathayinnovation.com), in charge of the activities of the fund in Southeast Asia. Cathay Innovation is the VC arm of Cathay Capital, a global PE/VC investment platform with €3.8B under management.

Management Consultant turned (successfully exited) Founder/Operator turned Venture Capitalist.

The Asia InsurTech Podcast spoke with Rajive Keshup, a director at Cathay Innovation and Nicolas du Cray, a partner at Cathay Innovation, about ecosystems, embedded insurance and the role of InsurTechs when it comes to accelerating financial inclusion in Southeast Asia.

Find the transcript of our conversation here:

Michael Waitze
Okay, we’re on. Hi, this is Michael Waitze, and welcome back to the Asia InsureTech Podcast. This is the only podcast in Asia focused on insurance that gives entrepreneurs, thought leaders and investors, and we’ve got two great ones today, a platform to discuss how technology is reshaping the insurance industry globally. Today I’m joined by Rajive Keshup, and Nicolas du Cray. Rajive is a director at Cathay Innovation in Singapore. And Nicolas is a partner at Cathay Innovation, also based in Singapore. Rajive and Nicolas, it is so great to have you both on the show. Thank you so much for doing this today.

Nicolas du Cray
Great to be here. Thank you.

Rajive Keshup
Thank you, Michael.

Michael Waitze
Oh, my God, you both sound great. Before we get into the main conversation, and let’s start with Rajive on this one, what do you think is the biggest trend in insurance and InsurTech in Asia and by extension, the rest of the world?

Rajive Keshup
It’s a great, it’s a great first, it’s a great first question. I think if we if we sort of look at Asia and in no different from from the rest of the world, I think there’s two, there’s two trends that will that will driver that will catalyze the future of insurance. The first one is largely around embedded, or ghost insurance. And so embedding the product into a wide variety of offline and online products and services. And, and then being able to distribute that across a value chain that spans a wide variety of industries. And so, so that’s sort of one and we still sort of seeing that play out mostly online in e-commerce. But I think the real meat of growth, for the InsurTech space will largely be offline. So to give you a really good example, if I went to a retail store to buy a baby stroller, I would have to find my insurance somewhere else. But if I had it at point of sale, or even embedded into the product, into the the entire customer journey and product experience, I could get a lot more value out of out of that purchase, and it’ll be a much more delightful customer journey. And so I think, you know, insurance has never been associated with delightful customer journeys, globally, but I think, I think that that’s, I think that’s changing as as InsurTech really starts to embed into a wide variety of products. So that that for me would be number one.

Michael Waitze
And Nicholas, do you want to add anything?

Nicolas du Cray
Well, I think Asia has shown the way on how to digitalize insurance operation. If we look at companies in China, like Ping An that were, you know, recently more recently created, but really were built as digital ecosystem from inception, we can have a good idea of what the insurance of the future could be. The reality of this industry is that most of the insurance companies are very traditional companies. They are not digitally savvy, and not digitalized at all. But there’s clearly an opportunity actually to contribute to the digitization of the insurance industry. So learning from what has happened in China, and then implementing similar ideas in Southeast Asia. And I think this can also show the way of how the industry is going to evolve in the next few years, globally.

Michael Waitze
Yeah, two really great topics. Before we get any further, and let’s start with you, Nicolas, since you’re already going, can you give us a bit of your background, and then RajivE jump in when he’s done?

Nicolas du Cray
So I’m, I’m in charge of the Singapore office for Cathay Innovation. So we are a global VC that started to invest in this region. When we launched our fund I was actually in China before moving to Singapore. I started my career with France Telecom Orange group in China, I was I was looking at Chinese innovation and try to identify innovative business models in China that Orange could learn from for new services and an applications on its own networks. And that position evolving to getting to know very well the Chinese players and the Chinese startups on that position evolve into a corporate venture activity. So I started to invest in Chinese startups about 12 years ago, first inside Orange, and then another platform, I finally joined Cathy Innovation in 2016. Inside the China team Chinese team to help run the Chinese operation until I moved to Singapore at the end of 2019.

Rajive Keshup
And I, I started my career at AT&T doing corporate development and corporate strategy. So that’s the common denominator that the thinking I have the telco or the paint the paint of the telco. And then from there I went to business school and and then proceeded to, you know, meet mid sized career in strategy consulting. My last role in strategy consulting was managing director for a firm called boozin company, where I was helping on the private equity side doing work, specifically leaving the technology sector for the firm, and then move to Southeast Asia to do a lot more work in in an operator capacity. And so CFO and a number of startups here, met with Nick and cafe in late 2018, early 2019, kept in touch and then found an opportunity to work closer together late last year, and to join the firm a little under a year ago. In the middle of all of that my wife and I had founded a startup in the pet services space, which we subsequently exited in 2017. And, and so that’s a little bit about me a little, a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing at the same time.

Michael Waitze
Rajive, where are you from originally?

Rajive Keshup
I was born in Dubai spent a number of years in Hong Kong moved to the states for high school and then University and this is so so a lot of Northeast for for the most part northeast of the United States.

Michael Waitze
Got it Same here. Except that except for the fact that I was not born in Dubai.

Rajive Keshup
exotic

Michael Waitze
New Jersey, that whole area is very familiar to me. Yep. And Nicolas, really quickly, can we just get a better feel for Cathy Innovation at scale, like if you step back a little bit, what’s the mission and goal of Cathay.

Nicolas du Cray
So Cathay is a is an investment platform that’s really tried to erase borders. So either between industries and between, like actual physical geographies. Two of the mains ideas behind Cathay is that actually technology has no border. And technologies are being disrupted by traditional industries are being disrupted by technologies everywhere in the world. So we were founded in Europe by a Chinese entrepreneur, and we grew to a global investment platforms that has $4.5 billion under management. And we we positioned ourselves as a platform that can support entrepreneurs everywhere in the world, with in depth knowledge of what is happening in innovation anywhere in the world. And also what is happening in traditional industries, and in the where they actually taking the digital transformation. So beyond financial investment, we actually do a lot of gathering of information and information about trends, between geographies, and also across different industries, in order to in order to identify the best investment opportunities, and the best entrepreneur who will actually execute these intrinsic opportunities. So we active in Europe, US, China, Southeast Asia, a little bit in India, and and also with partners who are active in Africa and Latin America.

Michael Waitze
Do you think there’s an extra benefit that you get? And I want to introduce this in this way? Do you think there’s an extra benefit that you get by kind of being sector agnostic, and others by looking at innovation across all the industries, but more maybe more importantly, also looking at it across geographies? In other words, if you’re just a one sector fund, pick anything like prop tech, right? And you’re just based you’re only investing in Southeast Asia? Do you think you miss some knowledge gathering and some best practices that you can then import or export depending on where you are into different industries and different locations if you’re global?

Nicolas du Cray
Absolutely. We I mean, the fact is traditional industries don’t work as silos anymore, in particular, because technology is reinventing them. So if you think about, for example, the automotive sector now a big part of what happened in the automotive sector, is dependent on software, for example, not only hardware is dependent on alternative business models around for example, ride hailing, mobility as a service, but also insurance as a matter of fact. So if in the automotive companies are tier one suppliers, we’re only looking at the vertical industries that will miss many opportunities that are in adjacent sectors. And for us being of sector agnostic and also multi geographic fund, we really want to be able to identify opportunities that are across geographies and across industries. And the way we do that is basically buying one fully integrated teams teams that can actually work with many different industry players globally, and be really on the ground in different geographies, identifying entrepreneurs, who want to tackle these big challenges for the for the for the industries?

Michael Waitze
Yeah, do you have situations, at least internally where somebody in in Europe or somebody in the United States sees a great investment opportunity, and then they call you or talk to you in Asia and say, Hey, you know what, if you see something like this, it may have different nuances and a different flavor, but you should definitely keep your eye out for this. Because what we’ve seen in the US and in Europe, this thing is going to grow kind of conversations?

Nicolas du Cray
We do this all the times that’s actually the way we operate. So basically, when we look at a specific company in a specific geography, we actually going to look at similar businesses and all what has happened in terms of best practices, and lastly, years, you know, the geographies. And obviously, a lot has happened in the US and the US have been the innovation leader of the world until now. But in the last 10 years, a lot has happened in China, you know, one more things happening in Europe as well. And in the case of Southeast Asia is the polar opposite of what’s happening here is inspired by China and by Silicon Valley. So being on the ground in both China and Silicon Valley urges us to, to better tackle the opportunity in this region.

Michael Waitze
Yeah, I mean, you just have more viewpoints, right? It just add more data points, it seems obvious to me, but there are so many funds that are just like regional focused. And there are some funds in certain countries, I won’t mention them. They’re just like, we only invest here, you have to have an office here, we won’t invest in anything else. I feel like they missed some opportunities because of that. But Rajive I want to get back to one of the things you talked about at the beginning, and this is embedded insurance, right, you’re right, this is a massive trend that we’re seeing right now, not just in Asia, not just in India, but all over the world. What changed that made this possible, right, because it’s not so technologically dependent, if I can say that, I think but what do you think changed that made this so possible?

Rajive Keshup
I think there’s there’s two things, right, there’s demand and and then distribution. So on the demand side, having a customer experience that is largely sort of, you know, all encompassing, has has made this has made retailers and has made ecommerce providers have to work a lot harder to earn that dollar, because the ecommerce side alone or the logistics alone has not necessarily been the the the enabler. And so they’re looking to find other differentiators to really have a leg up. And so being able to differentiate by embedding has been incredibly important. And so that’s sort of the poll. And then the same thing with retailers. Being able to have a, a program that’s, that’s tailored to the customer’s needs have have widely been been the case and just began sort of tailoring things. I think Asian insurance has, has largely leapfrogged in terms of being able to build out models that allow for a lot more tailoring because of propensity of pay and the level of insurance of, of the communities in the countries we operate in. And so as a result of that demand is driven a lot of product innovation. And then the other one is distribution. If an InsurTech really and truly wants to differentiate themselves, being able to embed their products into or distribute their products into as many sort of end use cases or end use applications is the only way that they get into that long tail because it is a fragmented long tail. And so there’s there’s the very inefficient way of doing that, which is going through agents, but you don’t necessarily hit all of the commercial pieces as well as, as you do through going through the retailers and the e commerce players directly. And so I think it’s both supply and demand that have sort of made made that possible. It’s not it’s not necessarily a technological breakthrough by any means, but more of an evolution in the product experience and in the distribution experience that that sort of allowed for it. And I think the natural demographics of Asia. Being in an incredibly underinsured part of the world has only made this a little bit more of a hotbed for, for this type of insurance and an InsurTech’s in general.

Michael Waitze
Yes, you make a really good point. In other words, in a place where penetration is high, the necessity for new products like the the profits that are coming off of just existing and incumbent products is just so high. Yep, it’s just easier to do, right. So actually, the necessity to innovate hasn’t been there. But here I’m in Southeast Asia as well. I’m in Bangkok because it’s so greenfields, and frankly, India’s the same way, you can just innovate from the get go, because nobody really has any expectations. And to be fair, airlines have been selling embedded insurance for decades, right? Click that button, we’ll just include it in your airline ticket kind of thing. Yeah,

Rajive Keshup
That’s right, the propensity to pay is so low, right, the level of expectation on product is also equally low, right. And so between those two things, you’re you’re going to need to innovate in order to solve distribution. So you know, if I was InsurTech, and we’re investors in the few, the the market opportunity is massive, but you’ve got to be very creative to really extract value out of that market. And the more creative, the higher chances of winning.

Michael Waitze
Yeah, I agree. Nicolas, what role do you think mobile first, in this region plays in the distribution of insurance, and then the product innovation as well.

Nicolas du Cray
So obviously, you know, with with mobile first approach, you can embed insurance products pretty easily, right. And I’ll say that, I would say that we also pushes you to, to do better in user experience. Because people on the mobile or have obviously don’t have large screen on and are not browsing freely, very easily. So if you actually want to sell an insurance product on a mobile, you have to have an external user experience, rather than trying to push the traffic to another app or another website or something like that. And in addition, I would say, obviously, the mobile economy in Asia is being so massive, is basically law lot of new digital platforms than people can use for distribution. And so this is where the players can be more innovative, with maybe insurance products that don’t look like insurance products, right? Now, it could be something very different. And then we breaking away from the image of the traditional insurer, that is just routine by brokers and, and especially from Asian perspective, you know, insurance is always a bit scary, because it’s, it can sometimes remind people of that bad things can happen. So I think we can gamify a lot. So you know, the user experience with insurance since two digital platforms, and we can also innovate with products.

Michael Waitze
Yeah, I think it’s culturally really interesting. You make this point kind of in passing, right. But I think in Asia, there’s the sense that I don’t want to think about the bad things that are going to happen, I probably know I need insurance, but I’m not going to buy it, because if I buy it, then I’m admitting that something bad’s gonna happen. And I just don’t want to get my head around that. And we don’t spend a lot of time talking about it. It looks like you wanted to say something. Rajive?

Rajive Keshup
Yeah, I was just gonna say, I, you know, I definitely think that, you know, when we say Asia, that sort of one size fits all, I think we need to break it into markets. You know, things are a lot more rudimentary than then even that, right? Like, we made this investment in a company called Lifepal a couple of months ago now, and they attract 4 million users to their app and website, which is mobile first every month.

Michael Waitze
And 500,000 people to their Instagram channel.

Rajive Keshup
That’s right. And, and the, you know, the really cool thing about them, you know, when you sort of dig under the surface is insurance, they they sell like a couple of 100 products. And it’s really easy to understand what they sell, but a lot of folks don’t necessarily understand what they’re buying. And so their whole hook into driving all of this is content. And most of it is educational content, to really talk about what you’re buying, why it’s important, what you needed for what sorts of scenarios you know, you get in and it really breaks it down in an in an easy to consume way. So that’s the sort of hook to drive them in, and then make the purchase and then you start to you know, get into this other problem where you’ve, you’ve got a lot of micro insurance policies for specific diseases or specific, you know, scenarios or situations. And so now they’re developing a wallet to sort of hold all of these things in one place and so you can have multiple insurers but but really Lifepal owning owning the wallet. And so I think that mobile experience is so important in creating value in places that value don’t exist and in educating and sort of bringing in and retaining a whole new user cohorts, a set. And so, so that’s why, you know, we believe mobile is in at least in Indonesia, which is a large subset of the Southeast Asian economy. And you know, the same could be said for Philippines, we certainly see that in Vietnam is the default way to to drive insurance penetration.

Michael Waitze
Yeah, and I want to I want to be clear about this. In no way do I think that Asia is one model. In the 30 years that I’ve been here, I’ve seen a lot of different things happen in a lot of different countries, and frankly, in a lot of different regions, even in the same country. Lifepal is a great example. And I guess that brings up something else when you look at these because you mentioned this term user experience. Do you think that these InsurTech’s are being measured against other insurance company experiences? Or has it broadened out to where they’re now being compared to pick a company, Amazon, Gojek? You know, what I mean, we’re just have to have the best in class experience, because that’s what they expect on their phone.

Rajive Keshup
Yeah, I think with insurance being so low in terms of penetration, there hasn’t really been an expectation. And so the level, the initial ability to delight was quite easy. With Lifepal, and really all b2c and short text, I think the next generation of cohorts are going to expect a customer experience that is largely seamless with best in class, e-commerce, you know, purchasing anything online. And so I think that they will constantly be held to to a much higher standard. And so we’ll speak about Lifepal, because I’m familiar with that. But you know, they’ll spend a lot of time investing in quality of content and quality of user experience to really drive up that user engagement, because what worked yesterday, is not going to necessarily work tomorrow in terms of being the same hooks for new users. And so yeah, so I’d say early days, and in version one and 2.0 of the insurance or InsurTech industry in Southeast Asia, you can get away with whatever because you know, it’s a, it was a very low bar. There’s little or no insurance in versions three, four, or five, and so on. You’ve got to be best in class, to really to really play in if you aren’t, someone else will be. And it will drive it and, you know, InsurTechs can expect competition from all all over the place. I mean, you’ve got another another plug friend shameless plug for another company that we invested in called Coherent, that could essentially turn any company into an InsurTech. And so as a result, if your traditional InsurTech isn’t necessarily measuring up, you could have you know, Coherent work with Shopee and turn Shopee into an InsurTech overnight. And so those things are dangerous, because, because because competition could effectively come from anywhere.

Michael Waitze
Yeah, I mean, if you look at Tesla’s essentially turning themselves into a car insurance, and then frankly, into just a general insurance company, as well, my feeling is that any place where there’s distribution where you have connectivity to a cohort of users, or just a cohort of people that you should somehow be involved in the insurance business because that’s where all your distribution is going to come from. And if you already have it, then that’s just an easy leap. And just to be fair, we had both if you want to learn if the listeners want to learn more about Coherent they can listen to Episode 94 with John Brisco, that was great actually. And we also had Benny Fajarai on the show a couple of weeks ago, so people can listen to that too. For more detail about Lifepal. I wanted to ask you about the logistics business as it relates to health care and health care delivery because I don’t think you can talk about insurance and health care without talking about logistics. I don’t know if you’ve seen these companies but like a company like Aroga in Bangladesh that’s doing pharmacy delivery and apparently has had 2 million deliveries since they launched eight months ago. And you see companies like homedge which is doing home care as well. It has to be related to the insurance and health care and I’m so I’m curious about how you look at the logistics businesses initially and then I want to move into this overall look into health care insurance is kind of a package deal. Nicolas you want to start?

Nicolas du Cray
Yes. So so we what we observe is that health insurance can be generated via different kinds of platforms are being established, right. So if we look at telemedicine for example, usually you have few players in telemedicine, that start to expand into e-pharmacies. So there’s obviously a logistic component to that. But very quickly after that, they start to distribute health insurance. They usually start with the startup product, but clearly because they are a digital platform, they can also do much more customized digitally digital products that are much more granular in terms of segmentation and they can use the data that they aggregate with the telemedicine platform to actually be better at pricing as interest product, for example. And this is going to evolve as one broad topic. So we don’t really see any vertical approach to all of this is really about combining telemedicine with e-pharmacies with logistics with digital health and health insurance as one whole package, where we’re going to tackle some of the big challenges in the region, obviously difficult access to health care, you know, not enough beds in hospital, how to get access to a doctor, how to get health insurance. And all of this is very high impact and resolving massive issues in the region.

Michael Waitze
Rajive?

Rajive Keshup
I would concur with with everything that that that Nick just mentioned, I would add that if you look at all of the telemedicine players in the region, we spoken to a number of them as well as one of the companies you mentioned around elderly, elderly care, all of their models have insurance as you know, number one or number two catalysts and growth growth driver. We spoke to this is not necessarily in health but this is a another travel company and you know 10% of their revenue in pandemic sort of came from this travel travel hospitality 10% of the revenue came from came from embedded insurance. And so as a result of that, you know, folks know that you know, their their current business model, and the time is going to get them so far, but they’re going to not need to start getting deeper and deeper within their additional initial customer cohorts to really drive that lifetime value. And so as a result having insurance, which is you know, as far as we’re concerned a straight to gross margin business with with limited claims, if you know, what you’re doing could have dramatic, positive impact on your on your net margins. And so that’s why we feel like it’s an embedded, it’s a it’s a continued continuous trend, as far as embedded insurance is concerned and health and as well as in pharmacy firms, the delivery, all of those, it’s just, it’s just a natural next step in evolution in those business models. The cool thing is that these business models are now mature enough and have mature enough cohort base to really take advantage of it. And so really be able to drive volumes that are that are effective pan region. And so you see, you know, companies like Doctor Anywhere who are in multiple countries start to use insurance quite effectively, to deliver services across multiple region and really own more of the customer and more of the of the intent value chain, which is, which is quite nice.

Michael Waitze
Yeah. And look, I see this on a regular basis, right. So I know somebody who is building a company that’s meant to compete at some level with Shopify, a company called Doctor Tech, right, the founder is French, but based here, and in a lot of the conversations that I have with him, I just keep saying, look, if you have 1000 users or 2000 people as you grow, there has to be as you have a platform where people are using it all the time, you have to be offering insurance, not just to the sellers who has what he’s doing. Like I said, he’s building a Shopify business style business, not just to the sellers, but embedded in the products that the sellers are also selling. And as a differentiator, it makes a gigantic difference for him. So that’s being worked on as well. And that’s actually super interesting to me. But again, I’ve talked to people about this all the time, to the extent that you are building a business that has a platform of cohorts. At some level, because of the digitalization that Nicolas was talking about earlier, it makes this possible, you can then embed products in almost anything you do. And then you have companies like Coherent that makes it possible for any company to be an inshore tech. So all these things are coming together at the same time. And this is different than the conversation we were having before about like what made embeded possible because in this case, this is all really a technological solution to a problem based on scale. Is that fair?

Rajive Keshup
That’s fair completely fair.

Michael Waitze
When you both Look out over the healthcare, maybe FinTech and InsurTech, I’m going to throw them all together, kind of in the same group, if you look at the landscape there, it doesn’t just have to be in Asia. But when you look at it globally, what are some of the types of services and products that you’d love to see built, we just be like, all invested in that thing. But don’t exist yet, kind of thing.

Nicolas du Cray
I’d like to start with, I mean, a really good idea. But a big the big thing to tackle is, is really going after the bottom of the pyramid, rather than, you know, starting from cities and an urban population, and so on, right? Because we’re talking about hundreds of millions of people in Southeast Asia who are not financially included yet. Yeah. And obviously don’t have access to health care don’t have access to insurance. So companies who could actually support so financial inclusion has seen many companies are going there. And and there’s there’s a lot of progress. But that’s only one thing, right? So how do we enhance access to healthcare to the bottom of the pyramid? And how do do we allow people in rural areas to better protect their families and themselves. So obviously, it’s a billion dollar ideas as is not easy to execute with some sort of high impact idea, which we believe that in the end will be tackled, despite of the original fragmentation and the challenges of, of going deep into the rural areas. Technology allows it, and we want to identify the funders who could actually do it.

Michael Waitze
I love talking to venture capitalists who bring up financial inclusion on their own, it’s just awesome to hear.

Rajive Keshup
I didn’t say let’s pull that thread further. Right. I think that’s, I think that’s phenomenal. And if you kind of look at all the building blocks that would take to make that happen, which is just let’s say, the big theme is how do we protect the bottom of the pyramid? Right? And and so what do you need to do that? Well, everyone’s got a mobile phone 2G or 3G, or or 5G, you know, 4- 5G, everyone’s got one and, and so through those products, you could do that through those mobile phones, you could, you could distribute a pretty phenomenal experience, you could embed it in a paycheck, you could embed it in, you know, in a in a claims form for taxes, etc. And if somebody did the work to study, what is the bottom of the pyramid, you know, need insurance for, and how do those needs differ, as you sort of go up in income levels, I’m pretty sure that, you know, 20% of your diseases are applicable to 80% of the population. And so if you could really master insurance for just those 20% or a little bit more, and cover a pretty wide swath, you could drive an effect change quite, quite dramatically. Nobody’s built it. You know, there’s a bunch of those building blocks in our portfolio, a lot of them aren’t. But you know, we’d love to see that. That’d be both because the, the money that could be made at the, at the bottom of the pyramid, and the scale, and the inclusion that you can create, and the value that you create is is is enormous. And so you know, that would be insurance and and FinTech and, you know, mobile tech distribution for, for for use in the best ways.

Michael Waitze
I love it. I mean, it’s so it is transformational, for lack of a better word for everybody to have this distribution mechanism in their hand. And I think if you combine a few ideas together, I mean, look at earned wage access, right? So you earn this money, but you need it at the beginning of the month and not at the end of the month, and you can get access to it right? At any point in time during the month, it just gets deducted from your paycheck. But to be fair, it’s the same thing. Like we could do health care financing that’s directly deducted from a paycheck for almost everybody. Yeah, all whether you’re making $1 a month or $100 a month, it kind of doesn’t matter. It’s if you do it percentage based, there’s a way to serve people, and to give them access to health care products and insurance products in a way that’s affordable. At scale, particularly if everybody is included and mean by definition, the cost of that should go down drastically if the number of people that are included is massively higher. That makes sense.

Rajive Keshup
Currently, we have the best cat videos on tik tok. So I feel like we have a little ways to go before we get there and really harness the power of the mobile device. Which by the way, is more powerful than most computers at the moment. But I feel like we have a little ways to go.

Michael Waitze
I mean, you say it in just a little bit, right. But there is a sort of resource allocation problem when it comes to building cat videos on Tiktok which are great, that’s neat. Yeah. But if some of those resources were dedicated to building health care funding products for the bottom, of the pyramid, I think that would make all of us happier and frankly, would allow more people to watch cat videos on Tick Tock for lack of a

Rajive Keshup
Yes, that’s right. And it’s bigger disruption. But I actually think you’d make a ton of money and make a ton more money. It’s just you know, slower burn and slightly more long term because you’re, you’re burning on a much larger volume. But um, but once the infrastructure is built, and the distribution channels are built, there’s a ton that you could you could do with it. You know, we have a portfolio company in India, so not necessarily Southeast Asian problem, but in India, which essentially, is the operating system for the Jio phone, that runs to Jio is 150 million users targeted for this population at 150 million of the bottom of the pyramid. But even that is only starting to scratch the surface of, you know, apps and games and financial payment platforms and financial financial paycheck platforms. And so you know, still a few few years away from I think embedding insurance into people’s paychecks. But there’s the distribution is ready in certain markets and other markets a little bit more fragmented. But if we put enough resource allocation to it, there’s actually quite a bit of money to be made, while while doing really good for society.

Michael Waitze
Yeah. And look, India, it seems to me and Nicolas, you can jump in on this as well. But India, it seems to me is the perfect place to try to build this. Not only is the addressable market gigantic, right, so the top tier cities have most of the services that they need, not all of them, but the second tier, third tier. And then the suburbs of those third tier cities have plenty of other people 1.2 billion or 1.3 billion people. But the other thing that’s interesting about India, and there are many is that the payment rails are already there. And they’re standardized. So it’s easy to distribute financial services products are on those rails, right? Because they’re standardized, nationally. And with access to the mobile phones, you have all these little pieces that are together in India, plus a massive address of massive addressable market, Jio does some interesting things in giving products away, I think there may be sort of an Xavier Neil style opportunity in India, where you give like phone service where you give internet service away, and then use that platform to then not only make people financially included, but also financially, make them financially literate as well. So they can actually understand the products that they’re buying. But you’re right, it’s a slow burn but boy if you do it. And I think to be fair, anything worth doing is gonna take time, right? I like to say everyone’s an overnight success 10 years later, it could take time, but the opportunity is so huge, that it’s definitely worth doing.

Rajive Keshup
Yeah, I think the only other barrier to that is just a ton of stakeholders on those building blocks, you know, there’s one person that owns the infrastructure, there’s one person that owns the rails, and in terms of distribution of the operating system, or the hardware, and so it will take time to sort of get folks together in certain markets. But I think it’s an evolution, you know, we didn’t think that, you know, COVID, would catalyze telemedicine and or zoom or, and here we are, we never thought we’d you know, invest as much as we have without meeting founders physically, so all of those assumptions have sort of been thrown out the window. And I think this one is, is one to tackle and, you know, eventually, somebody bright, will figure out a way and hopefully we’ll be backing, we’ll be we’ll be in a position to back them.

Michael Waitze
Exactly. So before I let you go, I want to ask both of you about something that happened in Singapore, I’m not sure if it was last week or the week before. But the Singapore Stock Exchange announced a multi billion dollar effort to get tech companies to list in Singapore. Why does this matter? Like what’s the significance of this?

Nicolas du Cray
Yeah, so it’s actually a major milestone. I think it was also catalyzed by the success of Bukalapak on the IDX, right, in Jakarta stock market. And just to Singapore, observing, you know, the traction that Hong Kong Stock Market, with the listing of Chinese companies Finally, realize that there is an opportunity to develop Singapore as as a as a place where technology company could get listed, and the track record of SGX with technology companies was not great. But clearly now we have very strong institutional support from government, public institution, private institution to to make something out of SGX for technology investments. And so first we were very excited.

Rajive Keshup
I viewed as a signal that the ecosystem is now too big to ignore, and so is in this next evolution of of the ecosystem. The ecosystem has got everything. It’s got talent, that and from large companies that have left and built their own companies. It has got a multitude of optionality as far as regional and international investors have concerned across all levels of funding, there’s no shortage of funding. It’s got the best accelerators, and and a lot of the best advisors. And so for us this, we view this as sort of that next evolution of growing up, right. It was also much needed as Nick mentioned, given that, you know, there was no real exit opportunity that was that was local to a lot of homegrown and and i think it’s a way for, for the Singapore government to really retain a lot of value in Singapore, of successes that they helped seed and sort of help create, especially with the stock market drying up. I definitely think that it’s a welcome, welcome announcement because it creates much needed liquidity optionality for well governed or highly governanced companies that are ready to take that next step and go public. And so from all of those fronts, it’s a it’s a fantastic milestone, and I think it’ll be the very initial set early signs of more things to come. As, as far as a rejuvenation of the SGX is concerned. I could want evolution of it.

Michael Waitze
Yep, yeah. Okay. Okay, guys, this was great. I want to end on that super happy and exciting. Let’s look to the future kind of note. I want to thank both of you, Rajive Keshup and Nicolas du Cray. From Cathay Innovation in Singapore. Thank you guys both very much for doing this today.

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