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Ricardo Sentosa, Founder of Venuerific

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Ricardo Sentosa

Ricardo’s helping you find the perfect space for the perfect occasion with his organisation Venuerific.

What’s your story?
I was exposed to business at a very young age. My grandparents traded building materials and my father owned a home-building construction business. After struggling for many years, he started to get bigger projects which helped our financial situation.
My parents never had the luxury of finishing their education, but deemed education an asset. They decided to send my sister and I to study abroad in Sydney, Australia. We were only 12 and 11 years old at the time.
They supported our education and allowances for the first 3 years, then in 1997 the Asian financial crisis happened. I had to step it up and support myself and my sister by working part-time jobs such as cooking hamburgers, serving ice creams, selling movie tickets and telemarketing. Apart from these, I created my own side-businesses from trading watches at the age of 17 and re-selling concert tickets. It was actually really fun and I learned good business comes from great customer service.
I graduated from the University of Technology Sydney in 2006 and got my first job at JP Morgan. I then moved to a well known hedge fund called Susquehanna before coming to Singapore to work for the Royal Bank of Scotland.
After working for over 8 years in the banking industry, it hit me that my true passion was to solve problems and help other people. Entrepreneurship has allowed me to do both and I haven’t looked back since. Venuerific is my third venture and I’ve been blessed that so many have supported our journey.

What excites you most about your industry?
Apart from getting to meet so many interesting people, we also get to discover amazing spaces and have the opportunity to work with their businesses. Like other industries that have been disrupted by technology (i.e. uber for transportation, airbnb for accommodation), the events industry is also undergoing a major transition. Venuerific is at the heart where this change is taking place and we are very excited to see what happens over the next few years.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Jakarta, raised in Sydney and have been living in Singapore for the past 7 years.

borobudur

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. It took us a week to come up with the perfect company name and only 10 minutes to register our business on bizfile. Apart from that, everything is very transparent and businesses here are willing to give startup companies like us a chance.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I am a spiritual person and constantly focus on mindfulness. I live by the quote, “what you think you become, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you create,” Buddha.

Who inspires you?
My inspiration comes from entrepreneurs who struggled but never gave up. Sir Richard Branson, John Paul DeJoria and Ray Croc are a few of them.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Frequency of users is also as important as the acquisition of new users. We have always been more focused on the latter component in the past.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Find a mentor who is willing to guide me in the right directions. It is very important to start young so you are able to make more mistakes and learn from them.

How do you unwind?
My definition of “unwind” has drastically changed since leaving the corporate world. Back then, after a stressful day, I would head to a bar for drinks with friends and occasionally head to the gym. Now, I exercise regularly (a combination of cardio, weights and more recently boxing) and I have begun to explore meditation at home.
Other than that, I really love discovering new places and experiencing new things. Usually on weekends, I find time to visit one new place or do something different.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali is such a magical place. Sacred temples, beautiful mountains, hipster cafes, exquisite restaurants and the endless adventures that awaits. Plus, being a local has its perks.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start With Why by Simon Sinek; Black Hole Focus by Isaiah Hankel; The Virgin Way by Richard Branson.

Shameless plug for your business:
It’s so important to find the right venue when you are hosting an event. Venuerific is an online marketplace for people to list, discover, and book hip, beautiful or unconventional event venues in Southeast Asia. Re-discover the way you celebrate and experience events by finding the perfect venue.
Whether you’re looking for a private space to celebrate a birthday, yacht for a romantic engagement, or a mansion to impress your clients, Venuerific has the perfect space for every occasion. With over 1,000 choices in over 5 countries, you will never run out of options.
To start discovering, visit www.venuerific.com

Venuerific Logo

How can people connect with you?
Email: [email protected]
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ricardosentosa/

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

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

Jason Feng, Co-Founder of Pillpresso

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Mr. Jason Feng is re-engineering the healthcare industry.

What’s your story?
I am an engineer at heart. I enjoy the process of problem solving and have been actively developing innovative solutions to existing problems. Me and my co-founder settled on the problem of poor medication adherence among the elderly. This was a problem which struck a chord with us because we all have loved ones who have to take multiple medications on a daily basis. The complex medication regimen, coupled with declining cognitive abilities of the elderly tend to exacerbate the lack of medication adherence, which may lead to disease relapse and hospital readmissions, ultimately increasing the burden to caregivers and the society.

What excites you most about your industry?
The problem of medication adherence is not a new one in the healthcare industry. In fact, lack of medication adherence is a well-researched problem in many countries. Solutions which have been developed to address this problem face three major issues:

  • Entrenched mindset within the healthcare system, many of which are used to and unwilling to change from the legacy systems which were implemented decades ago.
  • Complex nuances in healthcare delivery across different countries, making it hard to “copy” and “paste” solutions which have worked well in other areas.
  • Because poor medication adherence is multifactorial, and many solutions focus solely on a few aspects, and do not employ a holistic approach.

Nevertheless, entering this industry at this time excites me because we are in the midst of a global shift in healthcare models; one where the industry is moving away from a service-based model, towards a more value-based model. This shift means that traditional players such as insurance companies and pharmaceuticals are under increasing pressure from patients and payers to demonstrate the value of their products under real-world use. Medication adherence data is one crucial missing link in this puzzle to deliver better care to patients. Being able to build a business around these incumbents and pioneer a new way of care is something which I look forward to.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am a Singaporean. Most of my experiences throughout my life have been in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I have not worked in other Asian countries outside of Singapore, so I can’t comment on other Asian countries too much. Singapore has a relatively low barrier for starting a business, and all business rules and regulations are clear and transparent. The startup ecosystem is also rather comprehensive and easily accessible. Being a small country, Singapore has a very limited market for products and services. However, due to its size and efficiency, it serves as an excellent test bed for new ideas. Being a travel hub, travelling to other Asian countries is cheap and easy.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Fail fast, fail often. The greatest lessons are never learnt through success.

Who inspires you?
Elon Musk

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Successful launch of Falcon Heavy and the recovery of the 2 side cores. The way the 2 cores landed was like something you’d only see in CGI. Very well calculated.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Applied for NOC (NUS Overseas College)

How do you unwind?
Go rock climbing.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Nepal. I’m an outdoors guy. Being able to trek around the Himalayas is probably the best form of relaxation for me.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Creative confidence, by the Kelly Brothers

Shameless plug for your business:
Pillpresso is an award-winning health-tech startup that aims to improve medication adherence. We’re developing a medication management system that empowers seniors to manage their medicines independently and deliver proactive healthcare in the community through technology. Comprising individuals with complementary skills across business, engineering and medicine, our team is driven by a desire to improve healthcare and the human condition.

Grand Prize Winner of the 2017 Tech Factor Challenge
https://www.opengovasia.com/articles/8072-top-4-grand-prize-winners-for-3rd-edition-of-ageing-in-place-tech-challenge-announced-in-singapore

Grand Prize Winner of the 2015 Modern Aging
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/3-teams-receive-s-125-000-of-seed-funding-for-elderly-friendly-i-8246318

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

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

Elizabeth Wu, Co-founder & COO of Trehaus

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Elizabeth Wu is making work-life integration a reality for working parents in her new family friendly coworking space.

What’s your story?
I co-founded a coworking space in Singapore that comes complete with a child-friendly facility. We’re the first of our kind here and we’ve been making work-life integration a reality for working parents since we opened.

What excites you most about your industry?
We are the first of our kind, and there’s no other coworking space like us. Sure, there are plenty of coworking spaces in Singapore, but we are the pioneers of championing ‘BYO-kid’ to work by creating a conducive workspace and enriching kids play, all under one roof.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I’m a local through and through.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, of course! It’s safe, well-regulated and has a diverse community. Barriers to entry for starting up a business is low, and generally there is good support for small to medium enterprises and startups, which is great.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Life is short. Do stuff that matters.” I think I decided to do “stuff that matters” a long time ago and that’s why I became an educator. When motherhood beckoned, I decided again, to do “stuff that matters” by staying home to be with my kids. Then, I began to desire a meaningful career while raising my kids. So, I decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, because I am governed by wanting to “do stuff that matters!”

Who inspires you?
So many people inspire me. My members at Trehaus inspire me with the things they do and the changes they make. But if I have to pick someone, it would be Elim Chew, founder of 77th Street; who is a seasoned entrepreneur. She started from humble beginnings, went through setbacks and never said never to new journeys in entrepreneurship. I love that she always looks for ways to give back to society and mentor the next generation with her wealth of wisdom and experiences.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I learned the 5-by-5 rule recently: That is, ‘if it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset by it.’ This helps me puts things in perspective, and I try to remember this every time the urge comes to dwell, to brood, to beat myself up or to sweat the small stuff.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would definitely be more careful with the people I hired to build the team. I’ve learned that it is important to find and build an entrepreneurial team that will plough and work hard alongside the founders. Like Jack Ma once said, “Don’t hire the most qualified candidate. Hire the craziest.” I should have done that right from the start. It would save us so much time and heartache.

How do you unwind?
I take long walks to clear my or I go for a fruitful session of self care, like yoga or a massage.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I really enjoy getting out of Singapore to the outskirts of Bangkok to live amongst the locals. My family of 5 used to do that each December; just taking off to live amongst the locals where street food is aplenty and warmth and hospitality is everywhere. I enjoy their slow pace of life and how simple things can be.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz

Shameless plug for your business:
Trehaus is Singapore’s first ever family-friendly coworking space that lets you build a career while prioritising family. If it takes a village to raise a child, then Trehaus is the modern village where you will find a robust community and supportive ecosystem that lets you be an involved parent – never missing a single milestone in your child’s early years – and at the same time do efficient and productive work. We’ve made magic happen in what we’ve created!

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

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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