Ice Breakers

Ice Breakers with Herston Elton Powers

September 21, 2023

Herston Powers is the Founder and Managing Partner at 1982 Ventures, an early-stage VC fund focused on fintech and tech infrastructure in Southeast Asia.

1982 Ventures is backed by global institutions, multinationals, major family offices, GPs of leading SEA and global funds, and unicorn founders.

Their portfolio includes bluesheets, NextPay, and Homebase

👋🏼 How would you explain your job to someone outside tech?

I'm the founder of 1982 Ventures which is an early-stage venture capital fund. We invest in tech, specifically fintech, startups to generate outsized returns for our investors.

Very simple but difficult business model that includes: fundraising, investing in and supporting startups, exiting or realizing profit from investments, and providing substantial returns to our investors (repeat).

🧐 What's something about you or your job that would surprise us?

About me: I started working at an early age (12-13 years old) by US standards. Before graduating college, I had already done babysitting, fast food, warehouse work, landscaping, mortgage and real estate, call center, bartending, waiting tables, DJing, and club promotion.

About the job:

1) Seed-stage, specialist, and smaller VC funds outperform large late-stage funds.

2) Venture Capital is a people business.

The best founders are able to choose who gets to invest in their start-ups and to win their trust you need more than a brand or capital. It requires showing up every day to support their vision and being trusted enough to provide guidance.

On the other side of the people equation, we are stewards of other people's hard-earned capital. This includes institutional investors, family offices, and high-net-worth individuals. 

These investors have many choices on where to invest their money and we are grateful for those that have trusted us with this responsibility.

🏆 What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?

Without a doubt, it's founding 1982 Ventures. I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur but having the opportunity to build a firm that has the potential to be great is incredibly rewarding (and daunting).

There is still so much work to do and more highlights (and lowlights) to experience. I'm grateful to be in this position.

🔍 What's a startup trend or space you're watching this year?

We are at the start of a supercycle for tech and VC in Southeast Asia. The conditions have never been better in this market to create massive companies. 

More importantly, Southeast Asian founders are now better equipped with more experience and resources at their disposal.

💼 What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry? 

Get comfortable with risk. Get ready to work harder than you ever thought you could in the service of others. Be humble.

🗣 What's one thing you can keep talking about for hours? 

My family and 1982 Ventures. 

🎥 What's your favorite movie/TV show? 

This is the hardest question of the interview because I love cinema!  Films: There Will Be Blood and Interstellar. TV show: True Detective (Season 1) and Friday Night Lights

🍨 What's your go-to ice cream flavor?

Salt caramel (dairy-free).

FYI. We've edited this interview for clarity.

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