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Doug Peris, CEO and co-founder of AdZtream

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Great to watch Doug building his new business up around the region.  Doug is hugely well connected and does some great work for charity.

What’s your story?
My background is that I had successful corporate career, running regional operations of global technology companies. For years, I was a regular speaker at technology events and conferences, and I have built and sold 2 technology companies in Australia and in Singapore. I mentored people at my work, helping them to build successful careers. I have also mentored start-ups, to help them along their entrepreneurship journey. I am also actively involved in an international charity in Cambodia that teaches people to have a better way of life. After I sold my business in late 1999, and wondering what I would do next, I came to Singapore in early 2000 to take up a job with a global telecommunications company.  That’s how I got to be here for the past 15 years. I am now the CEO and co-founder of AdZtream, a digital media company that does advertising over wi-fi networks.

What excites you most about your industry?
I believe that there’s no better time than now to be part of the huge growth in mobile advertising and wi-fi hotspots.  It’s impossible to ignore the growth in mobile telephone usage, and also that there is wi-fi almost everywhere you go these days, almost anywhere in the world.  I’m excited that I can bring together media solutions that link up digital advertising, mobile phones and wi-fi networks into a cohesive, real-time and relevant eco-system.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Kuala Lumpur, but moved to Australia at a very young age.  My parents heritage is Asian and European, my wife is a Singaporean, and I love the diverse tastes and flavours of Asian food.  I’ve lived in Hong Kong, Malaysia and now Singapore, which is where I call home.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore.  It’s easy to do business, everyone recognises a fair deal here, there’s good governance…and it’s got the best airport in the world. I just love the ‘can-do’ attitude that’s been encouraged within the entrepreneur community. It’s getting expensive to live here but the mix of local and foreign talent, my family, my friends, the startup culture and the vibrant social scene makes it very difficult to move away. I’ve travelled to most of the major cities in Asia, and they all have their special things that makes them unique from the other cities, but Singapore is still my favourite.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
It sounds simple but “don’t quit” was a piece of advice I’ve received many times over many years of my life. That doesn’t mean stick at something stubbornly even after you have realised that failure is inevitable.  What this means is don’t quit on your purpose and objective. There may be more than one way to achieve this but don’t give up on your dream, on what you want.  You’ll always find your way around an obstacle, as long as you don’t quit.

Who inspires you?
Many people have inspired me throughout my life.  My father was my biggest inspiration. He was an administrator in the Malaysian Government and was actively involved in the creation of the Federation of Malaysia. Years later, after racial tensions in Malaysia, he took his whole family to Australia so that his children, me and my siblings, could lead better lives.  He gave up everything he had worked for so that we could have a chance at a better future.

I’m also inspired by entrepreneurs, people who believe they can create something, make a difference, and make a living at it. I love how clever they are to come up with some brilliant ideas, how they take their product to market,how they raise funds and capture customers and market share.  They inspire me to do better at what I’m doing now.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
In Singapore recently, the nation mourned the loss of the founding father of modern Singapore, its first Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. In the 7 days of mourning, so much of his life was broadcast on radio and tv, and published in the newspapers. I never realised how much he did to change Singapore into the powerful economy it now is. As I reflect on his life, it’s easy to see that he was an entrepreneur and he built the biggest start-up in the world…ever!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Actually, I love my life and most of what I achieved. I believe that things happen for a reason, and much of what happens to us was going to happen anyway. I could do anything different though, I would have spent more time with my sporting love of rugby, and spent much less time I’d spent climbing the corporate ladder.

How do you unwind?
I love spending time with family, cooking for them, and watching movies at home. I actually love to go to the market, buy some good products and cook a great meal at home. I try to watch big international sporting events like the rugby union and the F1 when I can. Going out with friends is a big way for me to wind down after a long week, and I enjoy beach vacations.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Asia is blessed with so many different and fantastic places to visit, and I’ve been lucky enough to visit many places. However, without any doubt, my favourite relaxation destination is Koh Samui in Thailand. I have been going there for about 14 years, and usually go back to the same places that I’m familiar with, and where the people also know me. It’s a perfect getaway, eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired type of place.  Great beaches, great food, great people…I’d like to go and live there someday soon.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Do yourself a favour and read “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. You don’t need to be handcuffed to your corporate office, whinging about the rat race that you are a part of. You can live the mobile lifestyle, and you can do it now.  Escape the 9-5 and live anywhere. This may not be everyone’s idea of a lifestyle they desire but it does offer many ideas about the different ways to live and work.

Shameless plug for your business:
AdZtream is a provider of innovative wi-fi advertising solutions. We get your brand in front of millions of people who use their mobile phones to access public wi-fi networks, and we make money for wi-fi networks by providing relevant advertising to their customers. Our goal is to partner with the world’s best brands and ad agencies, and also with the best shopping malls, hotels, stadiums and convention centres. We now operate in 4 countries across Asia, and our customer base is growing each month.  

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]
[email protected]

Twitter handle?
@dougperis
@adztream

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

CallumConnects

Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.

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

Jace Koh, Founder of U Ventures

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Jace Koh believes cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Understanding it will enhance your ability to run and manage your business.

What’s your story?
My name is Jace Koh and I am the Founder of U Ventures. I’ve always been inclined towards investment and entrepreneurship. I’ve played a hand in starting businesses across these industries – professional services, cloud integration, software and music. I believe that succeeding in business is tough, but that’s what makes the rewards even sweeter.

What excites you most about your industry?
Everything excites me. These are my beliefs:

  • Why is accounting important?
    The accounting department is the heart. Cash flow is like blood stream, it pumps blood to various parts of the body like cash flow is pumped to various departments and/or functions in a business. It is vital to the life and death of the business.
  • Is accounting boring?
    Accountants are artists too. They paint the numbers the way they want them to be.
  • What makes a good accountant?
    A good accountant can tell you a story about the business by looking at the numbers.
  • Why is budgeting and projection important?
    Accountants are like fortune tellers, they can predict the numbers and if you wish to understand your business and make informed decisions, feel free to speak to our friendly consultants to secure a meeting.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore, and here’s where I want to be.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is my favourite city. We have great legal systems in place, good security and people with integrity. Most importantly, we have a government that fosters a good environment for doing business. I recently went for a cultural exchange programme in Hong Kong to learn more about their startups. I found out that the Hong Kong government generally only supports local business owners in terms of grants. They’ve recently been more lenient and changed the eligibility to include all businesses that have at least 50% local shareholding. But comparing that to Singapore, the government only requires a 30% local shareholding to obtain government support. In the early days of starting a business, all the support you can get is precious. It’s great that we have a government that understands that.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best time ever to plant a tree was 10 years ago as the tree would have grown so big to provide you with shelter and all. When is the next best time to plant a tree? It is today. Because in 10 years time, the tree would have grown big enough to provide you shelter and all.

Who inspires you?
Jack Ma. His journey to success is one of the most inspiring as it proves that with determination and great foresight, even the poorest can turn their lives around. I personally relate to his story a lot, and this is my favourite quote from him, “If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’ve faced multiple rejections throughout my business journey, and recently came across a fact on Jack Ma about how he was once rejected for 32 different jobs. It resonated very deeply and taught me the importance of tenacity, especially during tough times.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I live a life with no regrets. Everything I do, regardless of whether it is right or wrong, happy or sad, and regardless of outcome, it’s a lesson with something to take away.

How do you unwind?
I love to pamper myself through retail therapy and going for spas. I also make a conscious effort to take time off work to have a break outside to unwind as well as to uncloud my mind. This moment of reflection from time to time helps me see more clearly on how I can improve myself.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan! Good food with no language barriers and the people are great!

Everyone in business should read this book:
I don’t really read books. Mostly, I learn from my daily life and interactions with hundreds of other business owners. To me, people tell the most interesting stories.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re not just corporate secretaries, we’re “business doctors.”
U Ventures is a Xero certified advisory firm that goes beyond traditional accounting services to provide solutions for your business. You can reach us on our website: http://uventures.com.sg/

How can people connect with you?
Converse to connect. You can reach me via email at [email protected] or alternatively, on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacekoh/

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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Ray Ferguson, Founder of Caber Partners

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Ray Ferguson left the banking world and returned to Asia to explore exciting fintech opportunities.

What’s your story?
I am the Founder of Caber Partners, a Singapore based MAS Licensed Fund Manager and Financial Advisor investing and working with companies focused exclusively on the intersection of finance and technology. I work specifically in the areas of payments, insurance, wealth management, alternative lending and blockchain.

I am also Chairman of Singapore Life which was founded last year. It is the first new local life company in Singapore. Concurrently, I chair Youtap a business which is creating a cashless e-money processing backbone providing real-time interoperable settlements of all consumer e-money payments to the merchants, e-money providers, retail and FMCG distribution groups, and banks across emerging markets.

My 30 year journey as a banker had its main leg with Standard Chartered Bank, where I held multiple country chief executive and regional leadership roles across four continents. I spent 6 years as Regional CEO, South East Asia and Chief Executive, Singapore. After Standard Chartered, I moved to Bank ABC, Bahrain and assumed the role of Group Chief Banking Officer where I took care of the group’s banking businesses worldwide.
Last year, I decided to step down after 3 years from my role with Bank ABC to return to Asia to pursue interesting and exciting opportunities that fintech disruption was providing.

What excites you most about your industry?
The sheer pace of technological innovation in the financial sector, and how it is up-ending the traditional models and traditional players. There are huge implications and benefits for efficiency, transparency and importantly financial inclusion which will drive growth in emerging markets.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I have lived in and worked in Asia for more than 30 years. I first came to Singapore in 1994 and today I am a proud Singapore citizen, and to me Singapore is home.

Its an invigorating environment. Asia is in the middle of an historic transformation. If it continues to follow its recent trajectory, by 2050 its per capita income could rise sixfold in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms to reach Europe’s levels today. It would make some 3 billion additional Asians affluent by current standards. By nearly doubling its share of global gross domestic product (GDP) to 52 percent by 2050, Asia would regain the dominant economic position it held some 300 years ago, before the industrial revolution. This is a big deal and I’m excited to be part of it!

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Definitely Singapore! Singapore is known for being a business-friendly country and it was crowned the best country in World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business List” and ranks as the top 3 in the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitive Index.” Singapore is an attractive hub, for both businesses and has a great community to live in.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Listen intently and you will know what you don’t know.

Who inspires you?
Nelson Mandela

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That the global mobile wallet market was valued at approximately USD 594 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach approximately USD 3,100 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of around 32% between 2017 and 2022.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have learnt to code.

How do you unwind?
Exercise, golf and sailing large catamarans.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Phuket. Easy to reach, Thai people and service, breadth of choice of locations/accomodation and great sailing weather.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Good to Great – Jim Collins. It’s about how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how and why most companies fail to make the transition.

Shameless plug for your business:
Caber Partners team is uniquely connected with our networks and experience in fintech markets, investing and banking and business growth solutions throughout Asia and across the emerging world.

How can people connect with you?
Come connect with me through my LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rayfergusonscb

Twitter handle?
Rayferguson888

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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