The end of the year is a great time to reflect on what went down and gather learnings for a new year. So, I thought I should dedicate this week’s newsletter to sharing three of my favorite learnings about the South Asian tech industry that came up during Rest of World’s weekly brief conversations called “3 Minutes With.”

In these interviews, founders, investors, and experts from the region told us about their strategies, challenges, and opportunities. I hope these give you some food for thought as you plan for 2023:

🇮🇳 Info Edge co-founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani’s primary advice to his portfolio companies:

“The customers’ money is better than the investors’ money. If you’re taking the customers’ money, and you’re getting it repeatedly from the same customer, it means that you probably have a viable business. That’s why the customer is coming back. If you are getting customers’ money, the investors’ money will almost definitely follow. But getting investor money does not guarantee you customer money.” [Read full interview]

🇧🇩 Shikho co-founder Shahir Chowdhury on what the pitching process for a first-time Bangladeshi founder looks like:

“My first three slides are about Bangladesh! I have a Bangladeshi map; I tell them about the 180 million population, the demographics, the macro story, the stable GDP growth, the stable effects rate, the internet penetration, the smartphone penetration. Then, I move into the student population … In Silicon Valley, there was a dog-walking app, Wag!, that raised $200 million. I am dealing with 90 million people who have no access to education, and I’ve raised $5.6 million, busting a gut for the last three years.” [Read full interview]

🇳🇵 True North Associates’ investment manager Nidhaan Shrestha on what outsiders get wrong about Nepal:

“Most seasoned investors understand and have hunches on how developing markets like Nepal operate. What they discount is the intensity of perseverance, patience, and persistence required to operate a business here. Recent developments in digital readiness, adaptation, adoption of technology, and the talent pool are a nice surprise to outside investors and businesses. And the narrative around entrepreneurship is quite romanticized and would require a deeper lens to weed out the fluff. Quality over quantity!” [Read full interview]