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Deborah MacArthur

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Deborah is an investor who likes to “find and fill the gaps.” She is based in Africa and divides her time between philanthropy and angel investing.

What’s your story?
As an American, I started my first business when I was 18 years old in Oklahoma and my fifth business when I was 50 in Morocco, North Africa. I have had two successful exits (one private sale and one IPO), one failure and I still operate two businesses in Africa, where I live full-time: The MacArthur Company and Global-Lights, the Lighthouse for Moroccan Leaders.

I also lead the AEAngels in Africa. It is a small (less than 100) set of very private and committed investors who work alongside the $1Million African Entrepreneurship Award effort and is the most reliable bunch of people for qualified deals in Africa.

My mission in life is to “Give it all away. Again.” So, we divide up our time, talent and assets into philanthropy and angel investing across the African continent, with a home base in Morocco.

What is your involvement with Investment?
First, I am an angel investor in Africa, tickets of $10K USD – $50K USD. And I co-launched AEAngels with BMCE Bank of Africa.
Second, I lead the annual $1M African Entrepreneurship Award, powered by BMCE Bank of Africa, which invests $1M USD/year in African businesses.
Third, I invest in education projects with no expected ROI, except an educated workforce. Tickets $2M.

How did that come about?
I firmly believe there are two silver bullets to developing countries becoming developed:
#1 – education; #2 – creating businesses that create jobs. These beliefs are based on my American roots and family heritage, and lots of research!
But there is an “access to capital” gap across Africa which angels can fill. I like to find and fill gaps.

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?
Go where your money is. Passive, long-distance investment rarely provides the expected results.

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
Betting on the “what” instead of the “who.”
Letting your emotions and somebody’s slick pitch override your common wisdom.

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Reading too many inspirational PR clips and believing in “overnight success.” Nothing is overnight except heart-ache.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
Put yourself in the investor’s’ shoes. What do THEY care about? Answer: making money. So, definitely know the economic cost per unit of whatever you are producing – because they WILL ask!

Who inspires you?
Those who have a little and turn it into a lot.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
People in Goma, DR Congo, live under an active volcano and the beautiful Lake Kivu. It wiped out their town in the 1900’s. What did they do? They used the lava rock to rebuild beautiful streets and fences! I believe, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But it blew me away to see a whole city whereby, life gave them lava and they made lava lamps!

What business book do you recommend the most?
Two: The Articulate Executive and Crucial Conversations.

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
If you struggle with getting your executive and middle-management to change, call me.

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with AsianEntrepreneur.org

If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]

Investors

Eva Law

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Eva Law invests in businesses and people who share something she believes in and understands well.

What’s your story?
I serve affluent families, corporations and investors in Asia. I am well connected with entrepreneurs, wealth creators and the next generation who dream big. I offer my clients solutions which are contingent to their requirements.

Apart from supporting clients with their investment, I am passionate about helping clients with things like family governance, family business growth, management and succession. Since recently establishing the Life-Quest Fellowship, I now support good causes and help them to build a dynamic economy, harmonious society and a ‘greener’ world.

I am available for talks, I welcome co-investment in any form and I am always happy to meet bright people with good ideas.

What is your involvement with Investment?
With regard to my own investment, I together with my vehicles are actively investing in technology, impact investing projects and young companies.
My daily life requires me to work closely with the buy-side parties. They are the wealth owners, the successors and the co-investors. In this role, I need to fully understand their unique requirements. I manage and facilitate the potential formation, execution, disposal and ongoing management of the investment activities either operating in-house or run by mandated external managers.

How did that come about?
I started investing in technology when the tech-bubble burst. For impact investing, I was inspired by people with vision and good hearts and that was when I engaged in the family offices network. My investment in young companies started 2 years ago when I started supporting programs relating to the incubation and acceleration of start-up companies which exhibited the potential to be successful. Being a family office specialist, it is my natural role to offer tangible support to clients to assist in arranging their investments, club deals and asset disposals.

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?

  • Be patient with long-term investing
  • Buy and invest only in businesses or projects you understand
  • Make informed decisions – do due diligence and checking
  • Take diversification seriously
  • Know when to sell and when to buy
  • Maintain liquidity at a reasonable volume

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
Many investors confuse historical returns with future expectations, the investment advice they receive about long term probabilities and average returns may have little or no relevance to the actual results they get.

I have seen on many occasions, investors fail to match investment styles with their own personal goals. There’s no single right answer to investment strategy that will result in financial success for everyone. Investors have to find the path that will adhere to their unique expectations, limitations, skills, resources, goals, values, and risk tolerances for achieving financial success.

Following those ‘gurus’ who have made their millions doing the “blah, blah, blah” strategy doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy for all investors. Investors are advised to be vibrant and be able to make decisions contingent on their own conditions.

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Not being adaptable. Companies don’t fail because of changes to the environment. They fail because their leaders are either unwilling or incapable of dealing with change. Indeed, companies don’t change. People do. It means that to stay competitive in today’s environment warrants not only the skill and will to adapt to change but also the foresight to anticipate it.

Excessive optimism. Failure to consider the downside risks will bring the business to a halt quickly. Often an enterprise or start-up expects to have its product on the market in the near future and have sales growing at aggressive rates with unrealistic margins. Sooner or later, the company will experience cash flow disaster, and most entrepreneurial businesses have no plan whatsoever for such variances. They fail not because the idea was necessarily bad but more than anything because their forecasting was poor and the capital dries up.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I receive advice from the people who surround me – my family, the church, the community. I have shared some of the advice i have received which resonates with me:

  • Don’t give up on what you want most, for what you want now. It’s about sticking to your priorities.
  • You cannot control the external world, but you can control your reaction to it. By focusing on what I can do, I can stay positive.
  • Only pack what you can carry yourself. I realize excessive pressure is no good and it won’t help your end goal.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
First, fundraisers should have clear expectations and well contemplated strategies. Second, qualifying the target investors/funders early so they focus their scarce resources on people likely to support them. At last, research the potential investors/funders and build a relationship with them over time. People buy from people they like, trust, respect and believe in.

Other tip: Make the pitch simple. Nobody will buy what they don’t understand. It’s very important to take the complexity of the company and industry and develop a “narrative” that helps investors and funders better understand the context. It’s basically story telling.

Who inspires you?
The people I am surrounded by.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Do what you love and create the environment that’s right for you. That is why I built the Associations, the Fellowship and my own business. I love doing what I want to do and I can help the world along the way.

What business book do you recommend the most?
I recently read Jonathan Taplin’s book, Move Fast and Break Things. It examines the “monopoly platforms” built by Facebook, Google, Amazon and others. It also discussed technology’s impact on society.

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
Association of Family Offices in Asia (AFO) is a professional society in Asia which distinctively gathers single, multiple and virtual family offices as well as industry societies in the region. AFO offers a range of consultancy services and organized activities to facilitate collaboration and co-investment among the prestige circle.

Asia Co-Investors Club (ACIC) is a group of private investors who organize partnerships. The relevant group in ACIC establishes new ventures, buys or sells securities and real assets based on a majority vote of the members. Club meetings are voluntary, thought provoking and educational. Each member may actively participate in investment decisions.

How can people connect with you?
Connect me via LinkedIn or write to me at [email protected] or reach out to my assistant at [email protected]

Social Media profiles?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/evalaw/

This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with AsianEntrepreneur.org

If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]

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Investors

Louie Pinto

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Louie Pinto swears by his tried and tested formula – the Billionaire Rule of 3.

What’s your story?
My name is Louie Pinto. I was born in the USA to immigrant parents with humble beginnings. In my 20s, I decided that I wanted more out of life and wanted to live an extraordinary life, so I decided to study the rich and wealthy. For the last 18 years, I’ve studied under some of the top mentors in the word, like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Joel Bauer, Harry Dent, etc. I came up with a formula called the Billionaire Rule of 3, which I started to teach and apply in my own life and the lives of others. I’ve spoken to over 10,000 people in the last few years in Asia alone.
Last year, I founded GCBA- Global Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Alliance with 2 partners of mine in Singapore. We started at a coffee shop and less than 1 year later, we have thousands of members and we have impacted many of their lives.

What is your involvement with Investment?
I focus on modern wealth strategies, which include bitcoin and blockchain education. Investing in cryptocurrencies is risky, that is why I teach people to focus on crypto education. I teach people to have a small exposure to crypto, keep their traditional investments, like RE and stocks, but also use a small amount in crypto to supercharge their returns.

How did that come about?
I was first exposed to bitcoin in 2014. I did nothing. Then last year in April, I had a mentor ask me to really take a hard look at bitcoin again as a way to create generational wealth in a short amount of time. I started to share with some friends, then it grew from there. We have thousands of members all around Asia in our Alliance.

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?
Well, my billionaire rule of 3. Step 1. Find the right trend. Step 2. Is it the right time? Step 3. Take massive and immediate action.

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
Focus too much on not having a plan or a strategy. If you don’t have a plan, you become a gambler, and the casino is filled with broken souls and wallets. We focus on having a game plan and simple strategies to make money. Our focus is that investing should be boring, and profitable.

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Not spending enough time on education. One of my friends, just bought a small plane. He asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. As we were talking, I asked him where did he go to pilot school? He said he didn’t, he just watched a few videos on youtube and read a book. Now that is risky and no one in their right mind would fly with that person. But people gamble away their life savings in the markets and other investments, because they are not educating themselves first.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Define your target and keep taking steps, no matter how small, each and every day, until you accomplish it.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
You need to have solid proof of your results before you can start to ask people for money.

Who inspires you?
Being a new parent (my little girl is 4 years old), I really admire parents who will do anything, including giving up their dreams, to provide a better life for their children. Only just becoming a parent, have I started to appreciate my own parents even more.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Sometimes you can even surprise yourself. Last year, when I first got started, I never would have imagined that I would be speaking to thousands of people a month, sometimes up to 8 times a week, and be a leader in this field. I grew up with low self esteem and had a really bad stuttering problem that prevented me from speaking in public for many years.

What business book do you recommend the most?
There are so many that I’ve been blessed with over the years. 1) Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert K. It shares simple, but powerful ideas on gaining wealth. 2.) Awakening the Giant Within, by Tony Robbins. He focuses on mindset and taking massive action. After reading this book in my 20s, it sent me on a few different paths.

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
www.GCBA.world

How can people connect with you?
Facebook
Email – [email protected]

Social Media profiles?
https://www.facebook.com/louie.pinto

This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with AsianEntrepreneur.org

If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]

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