Ishan Sinha, Point72 Ventures: Investing in Global Fintech Startups, Ep 101

Originally from New Delhi and Kathmandu, Ishan Sinha grew up on the move. Because of his Father’s job, he lived in six countries on three different continents until finally settling in Connecticut. Today, as Vice President of Point72 Ventures, he still normally spends lots of time on planes, but that’s been on hold in light of COVID-19. Under normal circumstances, he travels several times throughout the year to explore markets in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. 

Point72 Ventures is the independent, early-stage investment arm of Steven Cohen’s $16B hedge fund Point72 Asset Management.  The fund –always seeking to be at the forefront of new technology– naturally contacted a lot of startups, which eventually turned into investable businesses. Their first investment in Latin America was in Pierpaolo Barbieri’s fintech Ualá. Ishan, with his international background, jumped at the opportunity to work on the fund’s new global endeavors.

In this episode, I sit down with Ishan to talk about his nomadic upbringing, Point72’s core thesis and decision to explore outside of the US, and his insights on the differences between traditional investing and venture capital. We also discuss how Latin America compares to Southeast Asia, and Ishan gives advice on how to approach the Latin American market.

A cultural education at a young age

Ishan reflects on the valuable lessons he learned from growing up all over the world. He explains that being a foreigner in a lot of places taught him how to quickly connect with people, a skill that comes in handy at Point72 when he travels abroad to meet entrepreneurs from different countries.  

Learn more about how the nomadic lifestyle helps Ishan dive into different markets in this episode of Crossing Borders.

Traditional investing vs. venture capital

Accustomed to a more quantitative approach to analyzing businesses in public markets, the qualitative side of venture capital presented Ishan with a new and unexpected challenge. Making a decision based on abstract concepts or products and markets that do not exist yet contrasted with the heavy reliance on data that Ishan was used to. 

Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to find out how Ishan uses his past experience in public markets to complement his work in venture capital.

Drawing parallels between Latin America and Southeast Asia

Ishan discusses the similarities he’s seen in markets across the world, particularly between Latin America and Southeast Asia. In 2019, he started spending more time in the Philippines as he closed his first investment in the country and noticed that the businesses in the region were not that different to Latin America’s. Both regions seem to be using technology as a leapfrog to solve similar pain points. 

Learn more about the parallel markets popping up all over the world in this episode of Crossing Borders.

Ishan Sinha is following his mandate to invest globally. As Point72 expands throughout the region, Ishan’s experience in public and private markets as well as his unique upbringing will be key to tackling Latin America’s diversity.

Show Notes:

  • [1:21] – On staying home
  • [2:44] – About Point72 Ventures
  • [6:12] – Expanding outside of the US
  • [8:10] – Lessons learned from a nomadic upbringing
  • [11:19] – Becoming an investor in tech
  • [14:14] – Traditional investing vs. venture capital
  • [18:40] – Point72’s core thesis in LatAm
  • [21:55] – Starting the conversation with Point72
  • [23:07] – Southeast Asia vs. Latin America
  • [29:27] – What’s next for Point72 in LatAm?

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