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Noritaka Kobayashi, Founder & CEO of Diixi

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I have twice had the privilege to go and present at Noritaka’s event ‘Chaos Asia’.  As the name suggests, it is chaotic, eclectic, but a lot of fun.

What’s your story?
In 2012, I came to Singapore and set up two companies called Diixi and Yourwifi. My mission is to create innovators. To achieve this goal, I hold an event called the CHAOS ASIA, I  operate web services called CrowdSekai and providing portable WiFi rental services for global clients.
The CHAOS ASIA is a kind of audition for any field. It has had more than 500K views on YouTube!
 
What excites you most about your industry?
My main business fields are mobile, food & beverage, and education. Today there are about 2 billion smartphone users and this allows the world to be closer. Yourwifi provide data connection to outbound and inbound business travelers so that they can communicate with their partners anywhere. I am excited that our services support lots of people’s business. Regarding to education, I am seeking the ideal education system. We have yet to have an answer to this, but I believe that it is the best to provide a space where people could change their mindset to be better themselves. The CHAOS ASIA provides such a space, and I have seen lots of people who have changed in a better way through that event.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I used to be a backpacker. In 1995, I came to Asia for the first time. It was Vietnam. I have traveled a lot since then. In 2009, I was a member of NPO who provides solar lantern to a village with no electricity in India. I built up sustainable eco-system of rental lantern business. In 2010, I conducted a research of hygienic environment in non-sewerage system village in Kalimantan Island. Now I have two companies in Singapore and partners in every Asian country.

noritaka

Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
It is a bit difficult to select only one city. Singapore, if you are looking for multi-nationality, would be ideal. I can not omit Tokyo, if you are looking for latest design, fashion, or food business. Bali Island, Kuta is actually very interesting for business. I have a co-working space called WAVE there. Bali is a space where Asian and European cultures mixed up. There are huge opportunities to figure out new concepts of art/business there because it is very easy to see both cultures.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I have lots of opportunities to meet great entrepreneurs so far, I am sure I’ve met with more than 3,000 or so. Meanwhile I find they have a common understanding; it is “Amateurs are just thinking but professionals take action”. Anyone can think, but few people take action. Very few people keep on taking action. I keep that phrase in mind whilst I run my business.

Who inspires you?
I have five people who inspire me so far. Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi, a powerful singer and song writer in Japan. Steven Spielberg and Hayao Miyazaki, they inspired me to create movies. (Yes, I will do it in the near future). Ryoma Sakamoto, a samurai back in 19th century who reformed Japanese government and brought democracy to Japan. Stephen Hawking. Space physics is the first dream of my life.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
About two and half years has passed since I set up my companies. Since I had worked as a business consultant in Tokyo for 9 years before becoming entrepreneur, I thought a CEO of a start up needs to think of better business models. But it is not, what management need to solve is not business issues but human issues. If I command, staff never take action. Even if I encourage, they do not. But if I do myself first, they finally will do. Issues among people is very difficult to solve. But I need a team because a team has great power.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I had a chance to have my time again, I would become a movie director. I still have a dream to create movies. Now I am thinking I will do it after I succeed in business. I created some films of my event the CHAOS ASIA. You could see it via the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihoHPmSkm9o

How do you unwind?
As mentioned above, watching movies is the best way to relax. I get lots of hints to create my movies in the future. Going out with my kids is also the best time. I have three kids now, my kids educate me to become a better father.

Favorite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali, every time I go I discover something new. Sophisticated cafes, cool design fashion boutiques, amazing Bali food and culture. In addition, they have great nature like waves and rainforests. If I feel a lack of energy, I always go to Bali.

Everyone in business should read this book:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. No need to explain.

Shameless plug for your business:
The CHAOS ASIA. More than 200 innovators of the future from 32 countries came out from the event.
CrowdSekai is the best platform if you want to expand your business to Japan because on that platform I have more than 1,000 entrepreneurs who will support you.
Yourwifi will become the best mobile service platform for people who are trying to be successful around the world.

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]
https://www.facebook.com/nkobayashi88
sg.linkedin.com/in/noritaka88ta
http://www.thechaosasia.com/
http://www.xcomglobal.com.sg/

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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