Kanin Asva: An Innovator Through Venture Capitalism
Innovation and disruption are two powerful forces in modern business. One entrepreneur embracing these is Kanin Asva, the founder of venture capital firm, Robust.
Asva is helping innovators push the boundaries of technology and create new products and services built to last.
Within the last 12 months, Robust has secured significant investments for two pioneering companies: Symbiome, an R&D-focused life sciences brand at the forefront of microbiome research, and Offsight, a project management software company that boosts productivity in modular construction.
According to Asva, Robust’s primary mission is to drive technological advancements, potentially generating outsized returns for investors.
“Many startups fail in their first and second years because they lack the money to keep the company running,” he said. “They also struggle with issues of support. The business space is complex, and finding your way is hard as a new entrepreneur.
“But through Robust, we aim to help entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. We will help them leverage tangible, value-added solutions. We de-risk the portfolio and generate alpha by optimizing for quality. Everything is done with precision: from the ideation, investment thesis, branding, corporate identity, website and external communications.”
With his team, Asva leverages the regulatory framework to the entrepreneur’s advantage by building strategic partnerships, coalitions, grassroots networks, lobbying, and public affairs.
Asva has emerged as one of Southeast Asia’s few successful solo fund managers. He provides advisory services to growth-stage firms and startups on Asia’s technology ecosystem and regulatory landscape.
He can draw on his own family’s experiences as entrepreneurs in the Government contracting space in Thailand for his independent thinking and willingness to back other entrepreneurs.
His journey began at 18 when he moved from Bangkok, Thailand, to the US. He completed his bachelor’s in Management Science and a Master’s in Financial Analysis from the University of San Francisco, summa cum laude.
Asva went on to manage over $200 million and worked with top companies in different fields. He was a Principal at Dynafolio, a small-cap private equity firm focusing primarily on turning distressed companies around. He also worked with Marwin Technologies, Bangkok Bank, Econ One Research and Oyster.
With offices in New York, San Francisco and Bangkok, Robust’s borderless venture capitalism is underpinned by a network of industry veterans, strategic experts, financial experts and dynamic founders.
He added: “I am a rare breed of fund manager, one of the few solo General Partners who launched an early-stage fund that straddles North America and Asia.
“The most notable thing about launching Robust was raising the fund. Coming up with a thesis and convincing investors worldwide to part with their money. I’m still far from the summit, but it is the hardest thing I’ve done to date.”
Asva’s belief is that good design relates to good business. Steve Jobs once said: “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer. Design is how it works.”
He added: “I have always been a champion of good design. The design spans an entire company and brings all the elements together to work cohesively. Even so early on, Robust has won an award from awwwards.com for its branding.
“The companies we invest in have synergy, and we hedge the portfolio by having minor positions in public equities. The perfectionist in me pays attention to minute details like this because it’s how you portray yourself to the world.”
Later this year, Robust launch its own publication dubbed Robust Research, designed to empower humanity with knowledge.
Asva explains that Robust Research will democratize access to information by publishing white papers, essays, and reports on emerging trends in venture capital and other areas. They will work with experts in these areas to ensure that only correct information is shared.
“Innovation is now more critical, and prioritizing it is the key to unlocking growth. It can benefit markets in emerging countries by helping them find solutions that will help make hard-to-secure products more accessible,” he adds.
It also benefits companies and consumers. As more entrepreneurs embrace innovation, Asva is helping them bring their ideas to life.
His decisions as an entrepreneur also mirror the challenges they also have and the detractors who doubt their potential. Asva said: “I probably pitched about 600 potential investors,” he said, “and only 25 had conviction. I’ve been laughed out of the room many times, particularly by traditional Asian investors. They probably didn’t take me seriously, but my ambition continued to burn bright.
“Ultimately, I raised capital from outside investors to prove I could do it independently. And I haven’t looked back since.”
Article presented by Amir Bakian