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Noemie Alintissar, Co-Founder of FirstCOUNSEL

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Noemie Alintissar is driving Singapore’s legal industry forward, empowering entrepreneurs to start, run and scale their businesses.

What’s your story?
I arrived in Singapore with a backpack and my now husband 10 years ago, for what was only meant to be a 6-months stint on our way to Australia. After working my way up, I’m now the Co-Founder of a LegalTech startup, FirstCOUNSEL, and I also run the Future Law Innovation Programme for the Singapore Academy of Law, a LegalTech incubator and accelerator aiming to get law firms, technopreneurs, investors and government bodies to collaborate and drive Singapore’s legal industry forward.

What excites you most about your industry?
The global legal industry has generally been resistant to change and digital transformation. I’m really passionate about innovation and technology so it’s incredible for me to have such a front-seat in the industry’s impending disruption. I work closely with law firms, in-house legal teams and end-users of legal services and I learn so much about the industry every single day.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I never thought that Asia would become such a huge part of my life. I come from a small town in the French Alps and I probably wouldn’t have been able to put Singapore accurately on a map 15 years ago! But it’s been my home for the past 10 years and I now feel deeply connected to Asian cultures and the people here. It was always very important for me not to see Singapore solely as a stopover. I do a lot of volunteering and being a grassroot leader helps me feel more connected to the community here.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I have to say Singapore! The business culture here is usually fairly casual and everyone is usually pretty accessible, regardless of seniority. There is also a brilliant growing startup community and a lot of networking opportunities.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Be a good person.” How I conduct myself drives everything I do.

Who inspires you?
Stories about success are constantly shoved down our throats, sometimes leading us to feel inadequate. So I get inspired by all the underdogs around us who choose not to let their circumstances define who they are and want to be.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Design-thinking. I recently attended a workshop led by some of the best thought-leaders in that space and it made me realise how important people-centric design is to building greater products, businesses and communities.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I like to think that everything happens for a reason so I wouldn’t really change much – Although my straight-talking has sometimes hurt people’s feelings so I maybe wish I had known then the communications skills I have now.

How do you unwind?
My Saturday mornings religiously involve a Masala Dosai in a local hawker followed by a 20k walk around the Southern Ridges with my husband. It’s always a great way to start the weekend and catch-up with each other on whatever happened that week. I really treasure that. I also do a lot of volunteering, and a little musical theatre.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
That’s a tough one! We got married in Bali so we have a special connection to the island. I also love Khao Lak in Thailand, which is only 1 hour away from Phuket airport but a completely different experience, with loads of different vibes for whatever you’re after.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“A Short Guide to a Happy Life” by Anna Quindlen. There are tons of brilliant business/entrepreneurship books out there that I could recommend, but professional success is meaningless unless we get to appreciate the life around it! This little book is a super quick read whenever I feel the need for an inner pep talk and it always reminds me to focus on the things that matter the most: be kind, be loving, be grateful!

Shameless plug for your business:
FirstCOUNSEL is a LegalTech startup and our mission is to transform the way legal support is delivered to entrepreneurs, empowering them to start, run and scale their business successfully. How do we do that? By enabling users to access basic business legal support, including company incorporation, tailor-made legal documents, and further support by connecting them with our legally-trained FirstCounsellors via prepaid talk/video credits.

How can people connect with you?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/noemiealintissar or by email at [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@Nalintissar

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

Marek Danyluk, CEO of Space Ventures

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Marek Danyluk has a talent for assessing the competencies of management teams for other businesses and pulling together exceptional teams for his own businesses!

What’s your story?
I am the CEO of a venture capital business, Space Ventures, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses. I also own and run Space Executive, a recruitment business focused on senior to executive hires across sales, marketing, finance, legal and change.

My career started as a trainee underwriter in the Lloyds market but quickly moved into recruitment where I set-up my first business in 2002. The business grew to around 100 people. I moved to Asia in 2009 as a board member of a multinational recruitment business with the mandate to help them scale their Asian entities, which helped contribute to their sale this year, in 2017.

My main talent is assessing the competencies of management teams as well as building high performing recruitment boutiques and putting together exceptional management teams for my own businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
Building the business is very much about attracting the best talent and being able to build a culture which people find invigorating and unique. It’s an exciting proposition to be able to define a culture in that regard and salespeople are a fun bunch, so when you get it right it’s tremendous.

From a VC point of view there is just so much happening. South East Asia is a melting pot of innovation so the ideas and quality of people you have exposure to, is truly phenomenal. The exposure in the VC has taken me away from a career in recruitment. Doing something completely different has given me a new level of focus.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Whilst I came here with work, both my boys were born in Singapore and to them this very much is home. That said, my father in law spent many years in the East so coming and settling here was met with a good degree of support and familiarity.


Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Possibly Hong Kong. It’s the closest I’ve been to working in London. Whilst there are massive Asian influences people will work with you on the basis you are good at what you do and work hard. I find that approach very honest and straightforward.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Always treat people well on the way up!”

Who inspires you?
I like reading about people who have excelled in business such as Jack Ma, James Kahn, Phil Knight, Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk, all have great stories to tell and they are all inspirational. No-one has inspired me more than my parents and they are well aware as to why…

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Pretty much any technology innovation blows me away.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Whilst it is important not to have regrets I do continually wake up thinking I’m still doing my A’ Levels. So, I’d have probably tried a little harder in 6th form.

How do you unwind?
I like the odd glass of red wine and watching sport

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan skiing. I love skiing and Japanese food and it’s a time when I can really enjoy time with the wife and kids. I recently tried the Margaret River which was divine, although not technically Asia.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Barbarians at the Gate

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive is the fastest growing recruitment business in Singapore focused on the mid to senior market across legal, compliance, finance, sales and marketing and change and transformation. Multi-award winning with exceptional growth plans into Hong Kong and London this year, and the US, Japan and Europe by the end of 2022. We are building a truly global brand.

Space Ventures is interested in any businesses that require capital or management and financial guidance or any or all of the above. We have, to date, invested in on-line training, food and beverages, peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring as well as other tech and fintech start-ups. We are always interested in hearing about potential deals.

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

Twitter handle?
@Spaceexecutive

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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Malcolm Tan, Founder of Gravitas Holdings

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Malcolm Tan is an ICO/ITO and Cryptocurrency advisor. He sees this new era as similar to when the internet launched.

What’s your story?
I’m a lawyer entrepreneur who owns multiple businesses, and who is now stepping into the Initial Coin Offering/Initial Token Offering/Cryptocurrency space to be a thought leader, writer (How to ICO/ITO in Singapore – A Regulatory and Compliance Viewpoint on Initial Coin Offering and Initial Token Offering in Singapore), and advisor through Gravitas Holdings – an ICO Advisory company. We are also running our own ICO campaign called AEXON, and advising 2 other ICO’s on their projects.

What excites you most about your industry?
It is the start of a whole new paradigm, and it is like being at the start of the internet era all over again. We have a chance to influence and shape the industry over the next decade and beyond and lead the paradigm shift.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m Singaporean and most of my business revolves around the ASEAN region. Our new ICO advisory company specialises in Singaporean ICO’s and we are now building partnerships around the region as well. One of the core business offerings of our AEXON ICO/ITO is to open up co-working spaces around the region, with a target to open 25 outlets, and perhaps more thereafter.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, since it is my hometown and most of my business contacts originate from or are located in Singapore. It is also a very open and easy place to do business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Be careful of your clients – sometimes they can be your worst enemies. This is very true and you have to always be careful about whom you deal with. The closest people are the ones that you trust and sometimes they have other agendas or simply don’t tell you the truth or whole story and that can easily put one in a very disadvantageous position.

Who inspires you?
Leonardo Da Vinci as a polymath and genius and leader in many fields, and in today’s world, Elon Musk for being a polymath and risk taker and energetic business leader.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Early stage bitcoin investors would have made 1,000,000 times profit if they had held onto their bitcoins from the start to today – in the short space of 7 years.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Seek out good partnerships and networks from day one, and use the power of the group to grow and do things together, instead of being bogged down by operations and going it alone from start.

How do you unwind?
I hardly have any time for relaxation right now. I used to have very intense hobbies, chess when I was younger, bridge, bowling, some online real time strategy games and poker. All mentally stimulating games and requiring focus – I did all these at competitive levels and participated in national and international tournaments, winning multiple trophies, medals and awards in most of these fields.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Phuket – nature, resort life, beaches, good food and a vibrant crowd.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki

Shameless plug for your business:
Gravitas Holdings (Pte) Limited is the premier ICO Advisory company and we can do a full service for entrepreneurs, including legal and compliance, smart contracts and token creation, marketing and PR, and business advisory and white paper writing/planning.

How can people connect with you?
Write emails to [email protected], or [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@malcolmABM

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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