Gian Adhitya

  • SEA
“A startup is all about culture, and there is no culture without a team on a mission.”

I was born in a small town called Ambon in the Moluccas, a scenic archipelago in the east of Indonesia that’s home to thousands of spice traders and fishermen. My family happened to dabble in both: my grandmother ran a small store and my father worked with oyster farmers. In 1999, a communal war broke out and our family moved out to Java. Moving from a remote town to a big city, I learned to embrace change and insecurity early on. I often relate to the ‘bring it on’ mentality many of our founders have, and the idea of striving to punch above your weight.

My interest in physics led me to study engineering for my undergrad. One day in Oct 2014, I was running experiments in my campus lab when I read the news that Tokopedia, a humble e-commerce upstart in Indonesia, raised a huge investment from global investors – one of them was Sequoia Capital. I was thrilled and exceedingly proud of that milestone. At that moment, I scrapped long standing plans to become an academic and weeks later, took an internship at a tech startup. I fell in love with the hustle and the overall energy in the space. Before I knew it, I embarked on my second internship with Google and started charting a career path in tech. I learned then that serendipity is real, and keeping an open mind is the key to unlocking new opportunities. It’s an idea that stays with me, to this day. A few years later, I got an opportunity to have a chat with the Sequoia Southeast Asia team.

We work with founders who come from different backgrounds, started up at different stages of life, and have both different blind spots and superpowers. They could be experts with over 20 years of industry experience, and they could be newbies with insatiable curiosity and contrarian thinking. The one thing they have in common is they care a lot about the problem they’re solving and have a relentless drive to make a difference. They set clear vision and direction, and are able to rally their team behind it. I’m always on the lookout for such founders.

One of the most valuable things a VC partner can give a founder is ‘altitude’. Starting up puts a founder in a vast map with many uncharted, hidden territories. I’m always elated if I can help our founders zoom out and see more of the map, make fewer detours, and get to the X mark faster.

Get in touch with Gian

Pop Culture / Gaming / Minimalism / Pun / Javanese Folklore