Inside The Growth Room of Paulo Joquino, Senior Content Strategist at Insignia Ventures Partners

Paulo Joquino is a Senior Content Strategist and the Co-Author of Navigating ASEANnovation at Insignia Ventures Partners

Paulo Joquino, Senior Content Strategist at Insignia Ventures Partners

Say "Hi" and connect with Paulo on LinkedIn

1) To kickstart, could you share about your current role, what the company does and a bit about your career background?

I’m currently Senior Content Strategist at Insignia Ventures Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm partnering with unstoppable founders building great companies in Southeast Asia. The firm invests across industries and geographies in the region, including unicorns Carro, Ajaib, GoTo, and Appier, as well as category leaders Payfazz, Shipper, Tonik, Super, and Flip.

In a word, my role is storytelling. I help craft and share the stories of our portfolio companies, as well as perspectives on the ongoing story of Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem, coming both from leaders in these companies and my colleagues too.

At the end of the day, these stories have to be crafted and shared in a way that drives the exposure these companies need, whether that’s exposure on their growth story, specific milestones, open roles, company culture, or even products and services.

Prior to Insignia Ventures, I had already been sharing stories of startups, albeit from a more personal perspective. My journey diving into startups began with a hackathon / pitching competition back in 2014, one of the first and few in Manila for students at the time. Since then, telling the stories of the Philippines’ growing startup ecosystem became a part of my own personal growth, primarily through helping student organizations like YouthHack and the Asia Pacific Student Entrepreneurship Society (ASES) put together pitching competitions, startup internship programs, mentorships, and accelerators.

Over time, it became important for my growth to not only be telling these stories, but actually experiencing things for myself. That led to internships and consultant or volunteer-based projects at startups and various other ecosystem stakeholders. These included interning as an associate at G3 Partners, a Seoul-based marketing agency for tech startups, running tech community engagements at coworking space and business community, ASPACE Philippines, and interning at workspace marketplace FlySpaces. After graduating university, I found an opportunity to challenge myself further and still continue sharing stories about startups at Insignia Ventures.

In addition to the marketing role at Insignia Ventures, I’m also privileged to be part of the team behind Insignia Ventures Academy or IVA, the education arm of the VC firm that has been running since last year Asia’s first experiential venture capital accelerator. It’s a part-time 12 week program for operators, angels, founders, and professionals from a whole host of backgrounds to dive into the world of venture capital within the Southeast Asia context. My role in IVA also revolves around storytelling: leading the development of content and curriculum for the program.

2) Can you describe what your typical workday looks like?

Broadly it’s a loop of creation, distribution, and engagement. Creation ranges from writing articles to editing a podcast episode or helping a portfolio company craft an opinion piece or press release. Distribution involves spreading the word about the content created through various channels, be it through press engagement, contributions to third party media, or social media posts. Engagement closes this loop, involving check-ins with portfolio companies, brainstorming or planning sessions with colleagues, and evaluation of the content performance as well.

3) What does personal growth mean to you?

Personal growth is just as much about how we deal with the “no’s” we encounter day-to-day as it is about saying “yes” to opportunities. These no’s could come from outside as forms of rejection, and also from within, in the form of the opportunity costs of our decisions.

In the world of startups and venture capital no’s abound, with rejections being doled out from both sides of the table. When investments are made, that more often than not means passing on many others as well. Venture capitalists obsess over the passes and misses just as much as they do laud their wins. And of course startups are often built to take on preconceived and status quo “no’s”, from breaking down social stigmas to changing behaviors that are tied to longstanding inefficiencies.

As a storyteller in this world, I’m inspired by the experiences of founders who have worked around these “no’s” to create real impact and uplift the lives of others. Personal growth is achieved in similar fashion, by thinking and acting beyond the “no’s” in our lives.

4) Is there a habit you consciously exercise to ensure you achieve your ideal personal growth?

I’m reminded of something a founder mentioned on the On Call with Insignia Podcast -- something along the lines of “the growth of a startup is measured by the number of experiments it has run.” In the same way personal growth can be measured by experiments, because by nature experiments force us to go beyond the “no’s” and think about “what if”s instead.

Experiments are also foundational to my approach to storytelling. Asking “what if” is important to being creative, from “what if we start a podcast?” to “what if we used memes to communicate insights?” Of course some experiments pan out better than others, but the first principle here is to go for it anyway, because there’s a lot more to gain either way than there is to lose.

We could get into how to best approach these experiments, but that’s a discussion for another time.

5) What does it mean to grow in your career? How do you measure your career growth?

Career progression is often associated with levels of seniority, increased responsibility, higher salary or paycheck, but I’d like to measure my career by the stories and storytelling I leave behind. How many of them last and have actually made an impact on those who hear or read them?

Working in Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem is exciting in that regard because we’re just at the beginning, vis-a-vis more mature ecosystems, say in the US, Europe, or China. There’s a lot more stories of great companies to tell and follow over the next decade and beyond, and it would be really remarkable to have told these stories from the very beginning.

6) Aside from your full-time job, is there anything else you like to do outside work?

I also do a weekly podcast with my friend on Asian pop culture, it’s called The Weekly Stan Up, where we usually react to and talk about songs, tv shows, movies, artists, food anything that we are fans or stans of, and have the occasional guest come on our show to talk about what they stan. We just started our second season!

I occasionally mentor some Stanford students also as part of Asia Pacific Student Entrepreneurship Society Alumni Foundation, and have had the privilege of getting to know some amazing leaders through the program.

7) Are there any books, podcasts or apps that have been helpful for your growth?

99% Invisible was one of the earliest podcasts I listened to that really got me into the whole podcasting medium. That and Reply All by Gimlet.

My writing style and my interest in writing has been influenced more by fiction, from the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Harry Potter, or even beyond books including shows like Arcane or Squid Game. These works of imagination as they’ve become part of pop culture can also be helpful in building up what I’ll call the “reference repository” that fuels metaphors and parallels.

As for apps, I get inspiration for content from TikTok and Reddit.

8) Any tips you’d like to share for those who are looking to venture into similar roles?

As much as possible, take the initiative to create your own JD, or build upon what is expected and be creative with what you’d like to do in the role.

9) Finally, what is the one quote you always live by?

Too much to ask for one quote for all time, but at the moment I’m really inspired by the “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us” quote by Gandalf, and the context with which he said this line to Frodo -- he gave Frodo vision and hope while allaying his doubts and fears, something that we all can benefit from amidst the noise and uncertainty of life.


Paulo is hiring for Marketing Analyst (Community Growth Lead)

Paulo is looking for a partner-in-content to expand the reach of the stories we share. You can check the JC here and reach out to his LinkedIn have ideas of your own that you’d like to experiment with.


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