After starting Gobi Partners in Shanghai, China, in 2002, Thomas Tsao expanded it to Singapore in 2010.

“That was our first international office, and that was our first foray into Southeast Asia,” he tells Technode Global in a video interview (below).

That was two years before Sequoia entered the region, in case anybody is keeping score.

Fast forward to today, Gobi Partners is one of the most active VCs in Southeast Asia, with seven funds active in the region, from seed to growth-stage.

In our interview, the first episode in our Up Close With VCs series, Tsao gives insights on shifting tech trends across Southeast Asia, explains why he’s so worried about “bad actors” (no, not Nicolas Cage), shares some alarming stats about how much runway startups have left during the ongoing pandemic, and picks three countries he thinks are being “overlooked” right now.

See: Thomas Tsao on virus crisis: ‘This is an extinction-level event’