PropTech & South East Asia: Shelli Trung (REACH Australia)

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Episode Themes

  • Shelli’s upbringing in Australia as a refugee
  • Her non-linear career path (Scientist → Real Estate → Venture Capitalist)
  • The importance of networking & taking chances
  • Proptech investment themes across APAC & impact of COVID-19 on startups
  • Thoughts on cultural & gender barriers in the workplace

About Shelli Trung & REACH

Shelli Trung is the Managing Partner for REACH Australia and Southeast Asia. REACH is a scaleup program for the real estate industry created by Second Century Ventures (SCV), an early-stage technology fund backed by the National Association of Realtors®. SVC is among the largest proptech funds globally with a portfolio of 100+ investments across mortgage, finance, marketing, big data and hardware including success stories such as DocuSign (IPO $6B+), August Home (sold to Assa Abloy), HouseCanary ($63M+ Series C) and Updater ($1B+).
Prior to this, Shelli was an active proptech angel investor with a global portfolio of startups from New York, Shanghai and Australia. She was the Investment Fund Manager for Queensland University of Technology CEA where she oversaw a portfolio of 30 seed/Series A investments. Shelli has spent 10 years in corporate innovation successfully deploying new technology across the banking, medical and transportation sectors. For more: 

Shelli was also a winner at the 40 Under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australians 2020 awards. Find out more here:


About PDF

Professional Development Forum (PDF) was established to help diverse young professionals reach their career fulfillment. More here:


1:55 – Introduction
2:55 – Shelli’s refugee experience; on resilience & work ethic.
10:00 – Thoughts around refugees & migrants.
12:30 – Growing up in Australia, Australian vs US entrepreneurial culture, lack of guidance, lack of diversity in senior roles.
18:00 – Advice for young professionals in advancing their career, power of networks, being open to opportunities & experiences.
26:00 – Shelli’s non-linear path from neuroscience to real estate.
32:00 – Seeing investment opportunities after the global financial crisis, the opportunities in Asia now, Australia not utilising our Asian talents & capabilities.
39:00 – Examples of Australian startups with Asian roots, Australia & the Asian Century.
42:00 – What is REACH Australia? Venture capital & real estate tech businesses, the opportunities in APAC (Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia).
47:00 – What sort of businesses / startups does the REACH scaleup program accept? Digital transformation vs the traditional mindset of real estate landlords. Impact of COVID-19 on startups.
58:30 – Thoughts on venture capital “dry powder”. Is this a problem? Don’t focus on the funding, focus on the customers
1:02:00 – the US vs Australia entrepreneurship, founders, startup culture.
1:06:00 – Thoughts around cultural & gender barriers in the workplace. There is no glass ceiling in the investment industry.
1:09:30 – Wrapping up, future plans, how to contact Shelli.