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Sabur Khan

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Inspired by his father, Sabur Khan always thinks about ways he can give back to society. He is now chairman of the Daffodil Family and invests in ICT and education businesses.

What’s your story?
I was born into a Muslim family in the Chandpur district of Bangladesh. I graduated and then went on to do a post graduate from Jahangir Nagar University. Then I opted to assist my father in business. I was inspired by his desire to give back to society. Keeping this value in mind, I started my own venture in 1990 involving two sectors – ICT and education. From the get-go, my intention was to contribute to society through business and empower people. So, I set up 35 organizations and I am now holding the position of chairman of the Daffodil Family.

What is your involvement with Investment?
· Mentorship
· Help in solving strategic/management issues
· Help by providing time management
· Strategic management
· Monitoring role
· Resource acquisition
· Motivation/guidance
· Help in finding more funds
· Help in finding more scope/market/promotion
· Help with hiring key employees
· Help with finding suppliers or customers

How did that come about?
From our organisation, we try to give all kinds of support to startups. Mostly we are recognised for our mentorship and that means a lot to our team. We maintain a kind of relationship with them. We help them in a lot of ways, from decision making to HR selection and promotion. We are not rigid, however the investment usually comes in the following mode:
· Capital gain
· Profit sharing
· Sale of equity to another investor
· Secondary purchase stock market floatation liquidation
· Involuntary exit
· Partnership

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?
While investing, you should consider the following things:
· Evaluate your preferred zone when taking a risk
· Formulate a well-balanced business plan
· Use advanced technology
· Assess all stakes, related to the venture
· Good forecasting as well as a safe exit strategy
· Business networking is a really valuable way to expand your knowledge, learn from the success of others, attain new clients and tell others about your business.

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
I have observed that new and less experienced investors, sometimes make the following mistakes:
· Insufficient research about the market
· Not following a time frame and strategy to balance the risk and return
· Not setting attainable goals
· Taking risks quickly, without gaining proper knowledge
· Limited knowledge on entrepreneurial initiative
· Investing without a plan
· Putting the customer last
· No focus on networking
· No mentoring
· Derivative idea and slow launch
· Following or copycat culture
-Focus excessively on expenses or taxes

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Bangladesh is a country with huge potential and the people here are born with an entrepreneurial mindset. Most of entrepreneurs are hardworking, trustworthy, have leadership skills but are not that well educated, and have little financial literacy. The majority of people starting out, do not get mentors or family support to start business. Therefore we find common mistakes among them.

In general, Entrepreneurs suffer from the following mistakes
· Lack of clarity in vision
· Lack of academic knowledge on compliance of business
· Not interested in conducting market research
· Tendency of avoiding confrontation (in a positive sense)
· Ignoring statistical data
· Confusing attitude
· Fear of failure

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Firstly, I would say, my parents have had a big influence on my life and I was deeply touched by a question thrown to me by them;
“After you die, what will you be remembered for?”
With this in mind, I always practice ethics in my business.

Secondly, I always get my mentors to promote this nation/country through our work. When I started my business, ICT was not at all known or popular here. But I strongly believe that someday ICT will be the power for the nation. Gradually my dream will come true. I introduced the first local brand PC in the country, competing with many global brands and our young generation are contributing greatly to the national economy through using ICT power.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
Youth have the power of communication, technology, knowledge and the capacity to reach any level. With proper guidance they can easily bring about changes and contribute to the global economy.
· Set the vision first and be stick to it
· Collect real data and make your own sales pitch
· Positive introductions (vision, mission, stability) are essential
· Demonstrate capabilities to investors and the ability to implement innovations and have an exit strategy in place
· Increase negotiating skills
· Start building your network. Investors find entrepreneurs through networks
· Crowdfund your idea
· Angel networks
· Professional social networking sites and private equity firms

Who inspires you?
My first inspiration was my father. I liked the way he thought about the society and did business. Secondly I try to learn from everyone. I never leave any opportunity to learn from anyone, anywhere. I love to read and hear from others; sometimes I follow my students, little kids as well. Every good thing inspires me; every success story helps to take another initiative to create another success.

 

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
For my business, I travel a lot and I have found we all have lot of scope to learn from others. I like to hear from my students and their ideas to change the nation. I am interested how other nations are developing their education systems. I just visited China and I had scope to visit many of their Universities. I saw how they are maintaining quality and developing the competency of their students. I was amazed. I hope to start the same here in Bangladesh. I want to set the example which will be followed by others.

What business book do you recommend the most?
1. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
2. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
3. “A Journey Towards Entrepreneurship” by Md. Sabur Khan
4. “Handbook of Entrepreneurship” by Md. Sabur Khan
5. “The Power of Broke” by Daymond John
6. “Poke the Box: When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?” by Seth Godin
7. “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
8. “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg
9. “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
Daffodil Family mainly concentrates on ICT and education. Recently Daffodil has started supporting some other ventures. We have a strong commitment to help develop entrepreneurs and support students’ initiatives. For example: Startup restaurant, prominent-online news portal, oval furniture.. These types of businesses are developed to support the students and to support the overall operation of the Daffodil Family.

How can people connect with you?
I always welcome people to share things with me. I always try to listen. For my business schedule I may not always find times to meet and greet them personally, but I am always available via email and social media.
1. Appointment
2. E-mail
3. Mobile
4. Twitter
5. LinkedIn
6. Facebook

Social Media profiles?
Web page: https://sabur.me/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sabur.khan
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SaburKhan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mdsabur
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/sabur-khan/4/a36/2b9
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Webmasterdiu

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

Renata Brkić

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Renata Brkić only invests in businesses which are changing the world for the better and pushing the human race forward.

What’s your story?
I am a serial entrepreneur and investor. I am CEO and owner of a company active in licensing, consulting and the organization of worldwide supply chain operations for licensed products. Furthermore, I am strongly devoted to fostering social impact orientation in businesses with the following key words: science, women, education and children. Therefore in my capacities as President at the General Assembly at ZEZ centre and Head of the Social Impact Investment Hub Professor Balthazar, I am responsible for the revival of the Professor Balthazar character as a unique, artistic, socially responsible brand. For this specific investment, I am also the TBAA reward- holder for the best social impact investment in South East Europe. I am a mother of three and I live with my family in Zagreb, Croatia (EU).

What is your involvement with Investment?
Throughout my entire career I have passed all the necessary steps from corporate manager, serial entrepreneur, followed by the running of a science communication start-up incubator and now investor. This step by step build up led me to my present position as founding partner and starting my own investment fund with inspiring partners – theFeelsgood Social Impact Venture Fund. I invest in wonderful ideas that do not necessarily have fast payback, but that can change the world for the better and push the human race forward.

I also serve as High Commissioner to Croatia in the World Business Angels Forum – an international organization that aims to convert the world economy into a smart economy.

How did that come about?
It was from the experience of raising funds for my entrepreneurial project Professor Balthazar, that I realized I could also help many young inventors and entrepreneurs active in developing impressive spin off endeavours around it.

I have therefore established the Social Impact Investment Hub for start-ups and scale-ups and I am involved in their incubation.

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?
Investing is an action-reaction iterative process between the investor and investee. For me, it is of utmost importance that we share common values. I’m an impact investor, apart from profit making it is important to me that the project matters in terms of making the world a better place. I therefore prefer a more hands on approach. And when it comes to the exit, it’s not only exit, it’s all about good feelings, before a good exit.

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
Big expectations of fast paybacks. I have regretfully witnessed recently, the stories of unicorns. Sometimes it seems that even experienced investors can’t resist them. We will see what happens at the end of their life cycles. What I see now is that they are just swallowing more and more, let’s see how bright will be the light at the end of that tunnel?

At the same time, there are many great, realistic opportunities in the market achieving the triple bottom line; people, planet and profit – and ensuring safe exits. They are the ones I would always recommend considering.

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Accepting bad money when desperate. Patience is the key to success. Hold on for a while until all your ducks are in a row. The right investor should offer much more than money; values, experience, expertise and a rolodex of distribution channels.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Persistence, endurance, resilience, patience and respect time as a safe road to clean success.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
Use the thorough approach. Work on your professional presentation and pitch. Invest in attending industry conferences and start-up competitions. Have a record of first sales, at least pilot ones. Adjust the model to the development level and nature of the project and know who is the best match for you – business angel, crowdfunding campaign or venture fund.

Who inspires you?
Inspired people who create a symbiosis of science and business in the effort to come up with solutions for making the world a better place on a global scale.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Honestly, it’s a discovery of the wonders of the astrophysics that blew me away only now that I’m reaching my middle age crisis!

What business book do you recommend the most?
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
http://professor-balthazar.weebly.com/

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

Social Media profiles?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/renata.brkic.37
Twitter: @renata.brkic
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/renata-brkic-7b47822/

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

Norris Krueger

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Dr. Norris Krueger talks to everyone, especially people on the “elevator.” He believes networking is key when growing a business.

What’s your story?
I’m a recovering Caltech physics major and tech entrepreneur, who turned into a leading entrepreneurship academic. I’m now an ecosystem builder and experiential educator. I spent the last 15 years in glorious Boise, Idaho while getting to travel and speak at various events across Idaho. I’m a senior subject matter expert for OECD and EU on entrepreneurial learning and on entrepreneurial ecosystems.

What is your involvement with Investment?
Today, I’m primarily coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs but I started out with an investment banker focus on portfolio strategy and forecasting.

How did that come about?
I went to grad school to study forecasting and got recruited by Ohio State’s chair in entrepreneurship, the legendary Al Shapero. I interned with a local VC firm. Soon I was immersed in a semiconductor production equipment startup, helping my technical cofounder by revising his 200 page business plan [back when business plans were a thing] to something readable. That landed a key angel investor. I kept critiquing business plans with a certain knack of finding the fatal flaw. I returned to academe, building an entrepreneurship program that won 6 national and 2 global best practice awards. Now I help entrepreneurs to grow.

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?
The need to educate both sides. I am not terribly amazed when entrepreneurs simply do not understand how to purse money (and when) but I am often amazed by veteran investors who also do not understand the process as well as they should. Moreover, many other key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem are also under- and ill-informed. Simply educating everyone on what makes entrepreneurial investment work for all concerned, is something that we all need to do more of.

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
“Never confuse brains with a bull market.” Something I learned in equity markets applies equally here. A successful investment need not mean I’m terribly smart. I see veteran investors always rethinking their methods. In short, we don’t learn from our mistakes and we don’t learn from our successes – unless we work at it!

Similarly, the data on angels in North America suggests that it is all too easy to get hung up on trying for that 10X hit. Pushing entrepreneurs too hard is counterproductive. On the other hand, there is no shortage of US angels who seem to be playing at angel investment. There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of fun but you owe it to your investees to be serious.

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Biggest mistake, not bootstrapping. Getting outside equity may be sexy and growth accelerating but was it worth giving up equity early? (Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 500 fastest growing firms always shows that almost all of them are bootstrapped.) Number two, not understanding that once you take someone else’s money, it’s not really your company any more. A close number three, why don’t entrepreneurs do their homework on the people helping them, whether mentors or investors?

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Never settle for just one piece of advice? If I did pick one: “Always talk to people on elevators.” It’s not a cliche, you really can learn from everyone and you never know who they know. It’s no longer “6 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon”, it’s more like 3.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
DO YOUR HOMEWORK! On your customers. On your industry. On your mentors. On your investors.

Who inspires you?
The resilient. I’m persistent but am I just stubborn? I admire anyone I can learn from… and that’s pretty much everyone.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Changes daily! I follow many science/tech blogs and something incredible pops up almost daily. I read a great deal of science fiction in my younger days; now I’m living IN those stories. If I had to pick one: LIGO. LIGO is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory… The people who discovered/proved the existence of gravity waves. This is beyond awesome.

What business book do you recommend the most?
The one I write! Seriously, though, Peter Drucker’s 1993 Innovation and Entrepreneurship is one I give people. It’s a good place to start. Brad Feld’s 2012 Startup Communities is my other go-to gift book. But I’d also recommend the websites out there that curate the best stuff: the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurship.org, Stanford’s EdCorner (videos galore), Alex Osterwalder’s Strategyzer.com.

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
Nobody knows more about how to grow entrepreneurs, whether it’s by growing the entrepreneurial mindset through deep experiential learning or whether by growing a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem that’s bottom-up and entrepreneur-led. There are plenty of people who know as much, though and, yes, some do know more; but many are my friends and I know almost all of them.. And I keep meeting new ones on the elevator!

P.S. I am also working with the incredible Joe Bonocore (4 Silicon Valley startups, 4 significant exits) and I am learning so much from him. Check him out on LinkedIn!

How can people connect with you?
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
Phone/WhatsApp/WeChat: +1 208 440 3747
Skype: norris.krueger
My blog: http://bit.ly/NKblog2a
My presentations: http://bit.ly/NKpres

Social Media profiles?
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/norriskrueger/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/norris.krueger
Twitter: https://twitter.com/entrep_thinking

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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