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|Occupation||Entrepreneur • Investor|
Hian Goh is a Singaporean technology investor and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Asian Food Network (formerly Asian Food Channel), as well as co-founder and partner at Openspace Ventures (formerly NSI Ventures).
Hian Goh was born in Singapore. He speaks English and Mandarin.
Goh has over 15 years of entrepreneurship and leadership experience in Southeast Asia. After graduating from Oxford with a law degree, he went to work for Salomon Smith Barney in 1997 – first in the bank’s London base, then at its newly established Singapore office where he handled investment banking for the technology, media, and telecom (TMT) sector.
He founded Guangzhou-based call center operator RICC, in 2001. After a meeting with a Singaporean direct call advertising business targeting consumers in Hong Kong, Goh suspected that a call center in Guangzhou, where Cantonese was more widely spoken than in Singapore and residents had an intimate knowledge of Hong Kong culture through television, would have greater success.
For nearly three years he worked on getting the business off the ground. But despite its use of technology, RICC was never profitable enough to grow, and Goh’s lack of track record at the time meant the company never raised the venture capital funding that might help it fight off incursions by larger rivals.
After shuttering RICC in 2003, Goh returned to Singapore. Seeking to refresh his skills he enrolled in an MBA course at INSEAD, where he discovered the opportunity that would lead to his next start-up.
Asian Food Channel
After several years at Solomon Smith Barney TMT Investment Banking, Goh co-founded Asian Food Channel, a 24-hour pay-TV channel, in 2005 with Briton Maria Brown. It was the first-ever food television channel to broadcast pan-regionally in Asia. For its achievements of reaching over 130 million viewers in 12 countries including Brunei, Singapore and South Korea, Goh was recognised for his innovation and entrepreneurial spirit with the DBS Insignia and Prestige co-administered DBS Insignia Spirit of Vision Prestige award in 2011.
During his time at AFC he raised over $20 million in venture capital financing for the channel , and the company received the “Winner of the Best Performing Investment by a Singapore VC” award.
Venture capital and board member
After 8 years as CEO at AFC, he transitioned to a founder and partner at Northstar Silicon Island, the venture arm of Northstar — a private equity firm based in Singapore which manages over US$1.2 billion — with former investment banker Shane Chesson. Together, they targeted tech and digital media start-ups to provide the first round of venture capital after initial seed funding.
During this time, Goh has also served as an advisor to Infocomm Investments, the VC arm of IDA. He is also a Mentor at JFDI to early-stage startups, and has served as Entrepreneur in Residence at INSEAD in Singapore.
When NSI rebranded and went independent, Goh and Chesson continued to take primary leadership roles as Managing Partners. Openspace Ventures, which focuses on Series A and B funding, has quickly become one of Southeast Asia’s most prominent VC funds.