Saison Thinking
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Saison Thinking

Opening the 2022 Cohort of Saison Capital VC Scout Program

There is no reason Venture Capital industry dynamics and early-stage investment frameworks should be opaque, and we should aim for a world where capital is a commodity, information is free, and there is an even playing field between founders and VCs. See some of our writing on venture and business models here.

We are focused on building a practical education in evaluating early-stage business models, giving smart, ambitious people, who are passionate about learning and working with early-stage companies, hands-on part-time experience at a VC fund, and a strong curated community of founders, operators and community builders.

We are especially looking for unusual profiles and messy CVs — profiles that HR finds hard to place. Our Scouts include YC founders, ex-partners of VC funds, country managers of SEA tech unicorns, etc.

As the 2021 Scout Program [Batch #2] is drawing to a close, we are looking to onboard the next 2022 Cohort [Batch #3] of scouts at Saison Capital, which will likely be no more than 15 people globally.

About the Program

In this remote 12-month program, scouts help Saison Capital with deal sourcing, learn how a VC fund works, and what it takes to make it in this space. Roughly ⅓ of our first cohort of 10 Scouts were repeat founders, ⅓ were in finance, and ⅓ were operators, out of hundreds of applications.

You can learn more and apply here by Sunday, March 6, 2022, at 11.59 P.M. (GMT+8). The program will begin in the first weekend of April.

Successful candidates for the Saison Capital Scout Program should be able to check many of the following boxes:

  • You are a strong networker or exhibit a strong passion for connecting to startups and founders
  • You want to be part of a global community in Venture Capital
  • You’re comfortable working independently and remotely — and know what this feels like
  • You have a strong passion for startups and venture capital, or are keen on pursuing a role in early-stage startup investment in the future

Why join us?

  • Learn core skills through a robust, pragmatic, and remote Saison Capital VC Education Curriculum
  • Be a prominent voice in the startup community as you represent Saison Capital in outreach to startups and founders
  • Gain access to Saison Capital’s investment team, extensive network of industry professionals and experts, and interact with them on a regular basis
  • Be a key driver of an early-stage fund’s growth and innovation, and make decisions that will be integral to early stage companies and Saison Capital
  • Become a member of Saison Capital’s Global Scout Network, drawing lessons and building a global VC and VC-enthusiast network

What are you doing differently from Batch #1 + Batch #2?

  • The potential to invest and build a fund with us: We believe in operator-led investors. As such, we have leaned on our background as an institutional LP into many first-time fund managers/micro-funds to create a process where we help active Scouts with proven access and insight deploy capital and eventually start a fund. Exciting updates on this project will come out in the coming months.
  • Economic component: We believe in economic democratisation. In line with previous cohorts, our Scouts are financially incentivised for the companies they have successfully referred to us, with a % of the investment going to the Scout. We are first and foremost interested in education and community — to create a curated group of high-quality tech folks who are motivated to learn and push the boundaries of what is possible to build, rather than foster an approach focused on monetary gain. So far, it has worked, and the community that we’ve created have been passionate about sharing their knowledge and helping each other, while being able to introduce great founders that we have partnered with. However, we know that incentives help to align values, and so have decided to publicly share the fact that there is an economic component with our program.
  • Last year, our cohort was only 20% women. This year, we know we can do better: our target is for a gender equal batch of scouts, 50/50 women/men. Visible representation is important to attract more diverse candidates, so they can ‘see’ themselves in this program. We’ll be sharing more on this in the coming weeks — stay tuned!

Specific responsibilities will include:

  • Speaking & networking with founders, startups and industry leaders
  • Representing Saison Capital at startup events and meetups
  • Helping startups that are a great fit for Saison Capital’s investment interest
  • Connect to Saison Capital and the broader Credit Saison ecosystem

VC Curriculum developed by us

As part of our scout program, we developed an in-house VC Education Curriculum, organised into a series of monthly interactive lectures covering:

  1. VC 101
  2. Deal Sourcing
  3. Due Diligence
  4. Investment Thesis Building
  5. Mental Models & Heuristics
  6. Term sheets and Legal aspects of VC

In addition to this set of general lectures, we had deep-dives into specific industries and verticals as well, with expertise sharing among the scouts. This created a space for open discussion and insight generation as professionals with diverse skill sets and experiences (of both industry and geography) share their ideas.

Why join the Saison Capital scouts program?

Saison Capital has built a world-class community with access to top notch deals and global operators, investors, and founders’ expertise. If you are conducting due diligence on a neobank in Indonesia, looking to dig into agent banking in Nigeria, or building a thesis on embedded finance in India, there will be someone in the community to support.

~ Wes Schwalje, Chief Operating Officer, Tahseen Consulting

In Saison Capital’s Scouts program, you get to interact with some of the smartest folks in the VC world, and build meaningful connections with and learn from a diverse group of peers.

~ Lov Loothra, Director of Product, TazaPay

Tell us how was it like working with the Saison Capital team

I have been continuously blown away just how open the Saison Capital team is in sharing their knowledge and insights as part of the Scout program. The team remains humble and low-ego despite their many successes: hands down my favourite VC team.

~ George Kesselman, Head of Commercials, ZhongAn Tech

Everyone on the Saison Capital team was extremely helpful and always approachable. Their thesis-driven approach makes every conversation interesting and insightful conversation.

~ Ethan Zhang, Strategic Advisor, Koinworks

“The team at Saison Capital definitely knows their stuff and their onboarding education is excellent. I learnt a lot of investment knowledge, especially into the FinTech space through them. Definitely a great investment team to work with!”

~ SEA VC Fund Partner and Founder

What was one thing you took away from the Scout program? (aka what you enjoyed/benefitted from)

I found it very inspiring to meet and learn from fellow entrepreneurs across the region who are dedicated to pursuing their passion and building something great.

~ Matthew James McDonnell, Co-Founder, ReturnKey

I enjoyed discussions with other Scouts, both informally and in structured learning sessions that open your mind towards other industries and teach you how to identify high potential companies.

~ Brian Cu, Co-Founder, Sarisuki

“The hallmark of Saison Capital’s scout program is its informative and in-depth VC curriculum. I especially like the fact that it is very interactive and real-life experiences are brought in to explain concepts. Beyond the curriculum, I thoroughly enjoyed the sharing sessions conducted by fellow scouts. The program does a great job in bringing together experienced people with insights into a variety of industries and providing the space for sharing and discussion. Happy to be a part of this great community.”

~ YC Co-founder of two Fintech Startups

About Saison Capital

Saison Capital is a corporate venture capital arm of Credit Saison, a Tokyo-listed $30B AUM consumer finance company and one of the largest credit card issuers in Japan. We invest in Pre-Seed to Series B companies globally. We invest across all verticals, including but not limited to SaaS, marketplaces, fintech, we have a fondness for embedded finance — non-fintech companies and industry leaders that are looking to build fintech arms within their ecosystems.

Our direct investments include Crypto Yield Farming platform, Finblox, SME finance management platform Bukukas, B2B cross border payments startup Tazapay, Indonesian B2B marketplace Ula. Our LP investments include some of the top-performing funds in SEA (Beenext, CyberAgent), and global funds like IOSG Ventures, Antler and Better Tomorrow Ventures.

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Find out more and apply for the program here.

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Chia Jeng Yang

Chia Jeng Yang

Principal @ Saison Capital | Consumer/fintech investing | Angel/Operator | work with smart people on projects: http://chiajy.com