James Tan

Chairman, Action Community for Entrepreneurship
Managing Partner, Quest Ventures

James Tan is Chairman at the Action Community for Entrepreneurship, the national private sector-led organization responsible for Singapore’s startup ecosystem. Established in 2003 by the Ministry of Trade & Industry, ACE leads strategic community efforts to promote entrepreneurship, scale startups and build champion enterprises.

James Tan is also Managing Partner at Quest Ventures, a leading venture fund for technology companies that have scalability and replicability in large internet communities. Prior to this, James was co-founder and COO of 55tuan, a NASDAQ listed e-commerce group that grew to more than 200 cities and 5,000 employees across China.

As the first Singaporean and one of the rarefied few foreigners to found a public listed internet company in China, and for his investments in the next generation of entrepreneurs, James was recognised as an outstanding overseas Chinese by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council of China. For his outstanding global contributions, James received the Alumni Award from the University of South Australia.

James currently serves as advisor, board member or trustee on the Applied Innovation Institute, Business Angel Network of Southeast Asia, Beijing CYL Joint Committee on Entrepreneurship Development, National Research Foundation CGAP Fund, Social Impact Catalyst, Sports Excellence Business, and Vietnam Angel Network.

James has been guest speaker at China-focused and entrepreneurship events such as ITB Berlin, Private Equity Insights, Stanford-PARC Digital Cities, SWITCH, and World Islamic Economic Forum. He is an advisor or mentor at Chinaccelerator, Founder Institute, and PSA unboXed. He has guest lectured at Fudan, IE, Tsinghua, and UC Berkeley.

James is a graduate of the University of South Australia, and received scholarships from both Beijing and Singapore governments for his MBA from Tsinghua University in partnership with MIT. He studied and dropped out of computer science at NUS during the first dot-com era to work on two-sided markets.

For leisure, James enjoys photography and has been featured in ComputerWorld, Readers’ Digest, and commercially represented by Liaison Agency. He backpacks Asia and volunteers in marine conservation as a PADI scuba-diving and DAN dive-safety instructor.