Sequoia

Maurice Simon

“We must create to know who we can be.”

In 1988, when I was a child, my mother stood on stage with Steve Jobs as he demonstrated NextOS to an audience in Singapore. A concert violinist, she played a captivating Bach concerto in E Minor, while a computer synthesised sound formed the other half of the duet. This juxtaposition of music and technology would serve as a serendipitous blueprint for my life.

My parents, and their respective journeys, have been a major inspiration to me. My mother moved to Germany at 16 to study violin. She dedicated her life to an Arts career, a path few Singaporeans pursue, and became a celebrated, renowned violinist. My dad left Germany as a teen and hustled his way across multiple jobs in Europe, finally settling in Singapore, working in finance (with a stint running supermarkets in Cambodia along the way). They forged their own unique paths, and desired that I, too, find my own way. 

I became a lawyer to understand the world of business and to help great entrepreneurs make an impact on the world. I recently spent several years at GoTo, launching their consumer and fintech services across SEA, whilst moonlighting as a DJ at clubs and festivals to keep the musical side of my soul revved up. 

My parents taught me that overcoming adversity is how we grow, and that our legacy is measured by our impact to others. This is what great founders do and know. I’m grateful to now be at Sequoia Southeast Asia, where I help founders across SEA partner with us to achieve their vision to build enduring companies.

Lawyers absolutely need to stretch beyond their core domain to serve as business enablers to deliver true commercial value.

I believe the best legal advisors for investors and founders are those that get the balance right and enable businesses to scale and succeed over the long term with confidence and agility.

Product companies in the realm of emerging and innovative technologies often operate in absence of clear regulations. As such, impactful legal advisors in their corner need to be domain experts and understand regulatory sentiment, what teams are building, what problems for users they are solving and what the optimal business model is, to effectively navigate regulatory complexity.

A mantra I follow is to ‘begin with the end in mind’. This means taking a long-term view of the immediate problem and solving not just for now, but also for risks that may only arise years later, when investor and business imperatives will be different from today.

If you are a founder looking at how to build an effective in-house legal team that can accelerate your ability to achieve business/product OKRs and scale with confidence and agility, I’d love to speak with you.

Get in touch with Maurice

Electronic Music / Scuba Diving / Travel / Gaming / Web3