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Angus Murray, Managing Director of Foxy’s Ice Cream

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After delving into what consumers really want, Angus Murray found the answer, Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream – small batch ice cream with probiotics and less sugar! Who can say no to that?

What’s your story?
We’ve been making healthy ice creams for 5 years. Ice cream is not supposed to be healthy, it’s a reward, a treat, something sweet at the end of the day or a bribe to get the kids’ rooms tidy. We had an opportunity to pivot when two large customers went out of business owing us a lot of money. We did a deep dive into what consumers really wanted and found our slice of that answer – rich indulgence, with a health benefit. The result is Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream – small batch ice cream with probiotics and less sugar.
In 2017 we will be available in 6 counties, 4 of which are in Asia.

What excites you most about your industry?
It’s highly competitive and there are some very big players who are conscious of smaller companies like mine taking shelf space from their established brands. On the store shelf, Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream runs up against them and big budget advertising campaigns or, perhaps more challenging, price cuts on premium products. We have to be very creative, careful and aggressive with the slim margins we make, and be strong on price. We make a premium product and command a premium price. I have seen larger players like Unilever and Nestle get into price wars with premium products where the result is that they now only sell when on discount. Ice cream is not a commodity item.

What’s your connection to Asia?
We had the opportunity 3 years ago to attend an expo in China with a US Government trade marketing organisation. We hadn’t planned on exporting, but we were blown away by the reception of Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream and immediately allocated funds to have a small office in Hong Kong and invest in the region. We have exhibited many times around Asia and in 2017 will enjoy distribution in South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong and China. We find the level of nutritional intelligence is often greater than our home market of the US and the message of probiotics and less sugar resonates well with Asian consumers.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong to me is the easiest location for our pan Asian ambitions. It’s a major hub for air transport. I am based in the UK, but spend at least 120 days a year in the US and Asia. The trade practices are up to date and relevant to today’s market and the resource bank is considerable. I have a very fond place in my heart for Shanghai, China, Seoul and South Korea. The Koreans are incredibly well informed with nutrition and Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream really needs to be on point to succeed there.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“It’s not about you, it’s about the consumer.” This comes from a scene in a very average comedy film called Joe Dirt, but is often forgotten. Just because I like something, doesn’t mean the target audience will.

Who inspires you?
My wife, her ability to assist not only in the generation of my product, but to help manage me during times of extreme stress, run a successful pediatric practice and raise our daughter inspires me every day.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That Trump now holds nuclear codes.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’d avoid or ignore the pressures of feeling rushed. Frequently customers, situations and other factors have put severe pressure on timelines for production or action. Bad decisions are made when timelines are unachievable. There is nothing that is worth sacrificing attention or quality, for the sake of negotiating a time line.

How do you unwind?
My daughter is 4, so we play with barbies and pretend to cook horrific dishes on her play oven. Her creative and uncluttered mind helps me reset mine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I have a soft spot for Kuala Lumpur – it was the first major Asian city I visited back in 1998, and we’ve had a love, love relationship since then. I’ve spent days wandering around the markets, the river bank, the city often getting lost and relying on having to overcome a language barrier to get frantic directions from locals.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Porter’s, Competitive Strategy. So, you have an idea? Mum thinks it’s great? Cut down on the hubris and speed up the analysis with Porter’s 5 forces. In my mind, you cannot be an entrepreneur in any industry or location without a fundamental understanding of these principles.

Shameless plug for your business:
Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream – the only super premium ice cream fortified with thoughtfully sourced, all natural ingredients and probiotics.

How can people connect with you?
LinkedIN.com/in/angusmurray, Instagram: fxyicecream, facebook.com/thoughtfulicecream

Twitter handle?
@foxyspash for my brand and @angusjdmurray for me

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Callum Connects

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

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Agnes Yee started Space Executive in Singapore, which is a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

What’s your story?
After graduation, I joined a design media company as a Business Development Executive, during the era when ‘reading a magazine online’ was unheard of. I believe that laid the foundation for being unfazed by rejections.

I fell into recruitment pre-GFC and rode the highs and lows in the early years. A decade later, I decided to set up my own recruitment company, partly because I could. I’m acutely aware of the face that being an Asian female in Singapore is sometimes a privilege, and that many women in the world are living a very different existence.
Thereafter, we joined Space Executive as part of a merger. I am currently the Partner of Space Executive, a recruitment company focused specialist disciplines, including Legal, Finance, Digital, Sales and Marketing and Change. We also run Space Ventures, a venture capital business, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
On a daily basis, we’re influencing how one spends a third of their day. It is interesting how the Internet has transformed the industry, and I’m excited to see how we can harness technology to bring us to the next phase of this business.

The VC is an extension of applying our skills and experience in reading people. We very much invest in the people as much as the idea. Being a native Singaporean, it’s been exhilarating watching Southeast Asia becoming a hotbed of ideas; and young entrepreneurs simply daring to dream.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I love that I speak both English and Mandarin, grew up playing with Indian friends and eating Malay food.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore for the low barriers of entry to set up a business, but has to be China (and Hong Kong) for their hunger and constant innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
青春不要留白 which translates to ‘Don’t waste your youth.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who has gone against the grain.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It wasn’t recent but reading the article on https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html never fails to blow my mind how little time we have left. Charting our lives in weeks, and realising I only have enough time left to enjoy 60 Christmas turkeys, read 300 books (all if I’m lucky); and mostly, I’m left with the last 5% of the time that I spend in-person with my parents.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m cognisant that every decision I made in life has brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change one thing. But I’d really like to have had more time to travel.

How do you unwind?
Exercise and wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Trekking any mountain in Asia. It brings us back to the most basic. To overcome elements of nature and our own mind.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive started in Singapore, a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We assist organisations in accessing a targeted and specialised, and often times transient talent pool.

Out of Singapore, we have recruited across 14 countries; and have embarked on our global expansion plans with offices in Hong Kong and London this year, and US, Japan and Europe in the following years.

Space Ventures provides funding, management and financial guidance to young businesses with original ideas. We have invested in peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring, social media education, and other start-ups spanning diverse industries. We are always interested in hearing more about new ideas.

How can people connect with you?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnesyee/

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Connects

Chrystie Dao-Szabo, Founder of iPayMy

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Chrystie Dao-Szabo founded iPaymy for Business – a secure and easy to use
platform enabling SMEs to pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today.

What’s your story?
I’m Chrystie Dao-Szabo, and I’ve worked as an international banker for over 22 years. During that time, I travelled through Asia, Australia and Europe, and everywhere I saw how my clients struggled with managing their finances and keeping cash around.

I wanted to use my experience to help them, but I also knew the solution they needed didn’t exist yet. This pushed me to give up on my secure career, and instead look into the innovative world of FinTech for an answer.

This is how I founded iPaymy – at its launch, a platform to help consumers pay their monthly expenses using their credit cards. We’ve grown a lot since, and today, iPaymy for Business is a platform that allows business owners to use their credit cards to pay for rent, salaries, invoices and taxes, freeing up their cash for business-critical operations.

What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me most about FinTech is it’s culture of constant disruption, thanks to cool and innovative products and services coming out every day.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Vietnam, grew up in Australia and worked in Asia, Europe and Australia. Being raised by traditional Vietnamese parents meant that deep down I was still an Asian at heart, so I have a strong connection with the region.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore of course. It’s easy to do business, English is the main language, and the infrastructures like public transportation are great. Also, the government supports local innovation in multiple ways, like giving grants for SMEs and FinTechs.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Keep giving, and one day you will receive.

Who inspires you?
My parents. My father had a successful business in Vietnam just before the fall of Saigon in 1975. After the war, my father was sent to a re-education camp for three years, which meant my mum had to bring up two young kids – a 3-year-old, me and my 4-year old brother on her own.

In 1980, we all fled Vietnam on a boat and arrived in Sydney, Australia via refugee camps in Indonesia and Singapore. There, my parents had to start over with nothing to their names and only AUD 50 given to them by the Australian government.
They went on to build several businesses in Australia!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The number of young and smart people who have carved out successful careers by founding their own startups (or joining really cool ones). When I was starting out my career, doing any of these was not a viable option; it was either working for an accounting firm, an insurance company or a bank.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I were starting out my career now, I would choose the path of joining a startup as you get to learn so much about running a business and how to assemble a winning team.

How do you unwind?
I like travelling to a beach or a resort destination and just relaxing by the pool or beach. I also like to unwind after work with a glass of champagne or wine, and a bowl of truffle fries.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Thailand. I love the people and the spicy Thai food.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The E-Myth. It’s a book series that dismantles common myths about entrepreneurship in different industries.

Shameless plug for your business:
With iPaymy for Business, SMEs can pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today. SMEs love iPaymy because it works like a credit card, but pays like cash.

iPaymy’s secure and easy to use platform reliably delivers payments to vendors while freeing up cash and providing access to interest free credit. Forget the delays and aggravations that come with traditional SME financing options. Schedule recurring payments, manage invoices, set payment reminders, and monitor payment status all from one dashboard.

It’s never been easier for SMEs to meet monthly payment obligations while keeping cash available to fuel growth, bridge receivable gaps, and make immediate investment in the supplies, services, and expertise needed to drive a growing business forward.

How can people connect with you?
You can find me on LinkedIn or contact me by email.
My LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrystiedaoszabo/
My email: [email protected]

Twitter handle?
https://twitter.com/ceedeees

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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