The XA Network, a Singapore-based tech investment firm composed of a network of leading global tech executives, has announced the appointment of several key technology executives into its advisory board, highlighting the impact of innovations amid a backdrop of increased digitalization in the region.

The membership-based network of executives has appointed the following to its advisory board: John Wood, former Microsoft executive and founder of Room To Read; Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube, Maya Hari, and Twitter VP and Managing Director of APAC; and David Thevenon, General Partner at Balderton Capital. The board will be working closely with the members of the organization as it scales to champion its new purpose–“to be an organization that fosters inclusive innovation for the benefit of startups across Southeast Asia.”

“I’m delighted to join this esteemed board to support and drive the ambitious community of investors. The XA Network brilliantly embodies Metcalfe’s law – e.g., the value of a network rises exponentially as the number of users grows. I believe this generation of technology leaders, by working together to support the start-up ecosystem in Southeast Asia, will have an immense impact on the region,” said Wood in a statement. “We are all very committed to the power of smart capital, intense mentoring, and fuelling inclusive innovation. This approach resonates with me on many levels and I look forward to helping XA Network scale to the next level.”

Since its founding in 2018, the organization has grown to 100 members. It has also made 30 investments and has already had its first exit with Lomotif, a Singaporean video-sharing social networking platform, for $125 million. As for its portfolio, two-fifths of its companies have advanced to Series A/B funding rounds.

The organization’s network consists of members from companies such as Alibaba, Gojek, Grab, Google, Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter. With their cumulative experience, XA Network will be able to offer counsel and mentorship to its portfolio companies. It aims to empower the Southeast Asian tech community with its inclusive innovation approach.

Among XA Network’s portfolio companies who have benefited from the organization’s help are Indonesian startups Sampingan (which enables access to the gig economy) and Bukukas (which aids small businesses to digitize their operations). Singaporean knowledge-sharing platform Tigerhall was also able to secure $3.8 million in seed funding in April 2020.

Nellie Wartoft, Chief Executive Officer at Tigerhall commented on XA Network’s support: “We raised $2m in 2020, it was a huge milestone for the company but we had a lot to do. The XA Network members are some of the absolute most supportive investors I’ve ever had on my cap table. They’re never afraid of rolling up their sleeves and doing real work either, which is rare to find amongst investors. They feel much more like an extended team than just financial investors to me, and have been key to Tigerhall’s success.”

The appointment of these tech titans to the advisory board also shows the potential for tech startups in the Southeast Asian region. Southeast Asia’s digital economy is set to grow 3x to $300 billion by 2025. Every year, Southeast Asia’s digital economy has grown, and even an externality like the COVID-19 pandemic is not slowing it down. The pandemic may have even helped the region’s digital economy as it has accelerated digital adoption among businesses and enterprises. According to XA Network’s press release, over 70 percent (400 million out of 580 million) of the region’s population is now online.

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