Matthew Kang Holding, Class of 2014
Although Matthew only spent three years at Bangkok Patana School, he felt it played a key role in his long-term education and goals.
“Having attended many schools, I can confidently state that I had a superb experience at Bangkok Patana. The campus was modern and the staff cared about their students. I was able to participate in a variety of extra-curriculars (e.g. orchestra) as well as filming talent shows – students were delegated responsibility.
The International Days were unforgettable. Having an exposure to a variety of cultures and being able to celebrate them was a fantastic opportunity. Moreover, I cherished the Year 7 Residential. This was unique to Bangkok Patana and I was able to go on an adventure with my friends. For instance, I remember snorkelling near a cave full of sea urchins and swimming near a blacktip reef shark.
At Bangkok Patana I learned that the greatest tragedy is unfulfilled potential. I recall teachers being stimulating and providing a world class education. This significantly impacted my academic and professional career. The challenging academic environment also motivated me to work harder. My teachers taught me that it was not wrong to have an enquiring mind and question the norm.
I attended the University of Birmingham where I obtained a Bachelor of Medical Science in Biomedical Materials Science and am currently pursuing Masters (MPhil) in Bioscience Enterprise at the University of Cambridge.
When I was at University, I thought that it would be a ‘fun’ and challenging experience to create a side hustle. Inspired by my father’s entrepreneurial endeavours in Asia, I founded a start-up that developed a range of plastic free, plant-based snacks featuring high fibre and high protein snacks for the growing number of health conscious and environmentally aware consumers. Recently, Virgin Startups provided a loan for the project and I have held numerous discussions with angel investors. We are speaking to Sainsbury’s Future Foods, Healthy Nibbles and Snack Nation (USA). I have been stretched many times; however, am thankful for the lessons I have learnt regarding management and execution.
Aside from founding the startup, I ran numerous societies on campus and participated in the Vice Chancellor’s Challenge at university. For instance, I was involved with the investment society in the first year. In an increasingly competitive world, I recommend this to any student who wants to break through into a specific career. If these societies don’t exist, start one! I hope that you do the same at your university. Get stuck in with extra-curriculars and you won’t regret it.
After graduating, I interned at an early-stage, deep science venture capital fund in London. The fund backed ambitious founders, specialising in breakthrough biotech and AI (Machine Learning) technologies. There I worked in investment and analysis and developing growth strategies. This experience opened more doors, and I now serve as a part-time executive ambassador with HS Ventures, an innovation ecosystem that scales healthcare startups to tackle global health issues.
Currently I am a venture capital investor at Midven which operates six funds in the UK. We fund new market entrants that are looking to scale quickly. We are sector agnostic, so that means I get a lot of exposure to many industries, such as: biotech, consumer products and nuclear fusion. My role involves conducting due diligence, deal sourcing, investing, and fund management. Of course, this also involves a lot of networking. A previous fund I worked for, UFP Fintech, seeded a major unicorn (Revolut) and numerous market leaders. I am learning a lot about venture capital and the UK startup ecosystem. I have been able to attend events such as Expanse Summit, Web Summit and meet with the Czech Republic embassy to discuss fintech regulations.
I enjoy tackling questions. I actively engage with science and philosophy organisations, such as Christians in Science (based at the Faraday Institute in the University of Cambridge). Leading the Birmingham chapter allowed me opportunities to interview scientists such as Reverend Dr Rodney Holder.
Also, I am passionate about problem-solving and the environment. I believe that startups and translational research are the best ways to overcome such challenges. As a result, I recently started a podcast on Anchor.fm, The Future Impact Show. We interview scientists, entrepreneurs and investors about actions that we can take now in order to sustain a growing population. Feel free to give it a listen. I welcome new ideas and criticism!
In ten years, I hope to be tackling the issues that will sustain our new world as the popular grows. The UN predicts that the human population will reach 10 billion in 2050. I have quite a few objectives some of which include alleviating diseases with AI enabled drug discovery and utilising nature to improve our designs in biomaterials and medical devices.
With my experience in venture capital, I hope to launch and manage global healthcare/ biotech funds. Particular interests of mine include digital health, longevity and regenerative medicine. It is clear that this has to be the new focus in light of COVID-19. As a species, we are very unprepared.
Scott Kupor from venture capitalist Andreesen Horowitz once told me: “Never underestimate your network”. My experience testifies to this and I hope that anyone reading never doubts this. Keep working hard in whatever you do!”