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Shaun Heng, Founder of Eatsy

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Shaun Heng founded Eatsy, a collaborative dining app that allows diners to order, pay and split their bill, and they are rewarded with cashback after each meal.

What’s your story?
I started out in investment banking – an industry that I fought hard to enter since my NUS days, doing multiple internships to chalk up the relevant ‘experience points.’ However, I could not shake off the immense sense of unfulfillment. In December 2014, I left without knowing what my next step would be. A chance encounter resulted in me joining RedMart’s corporate development team. This opportunity provided the springboard for me to start my entrepreneurship journey. In September 2016, I left RedMart to pursue Eatsy full-time. With the right team and experienced F&B mentors, we finally launched the app in November 2017.

What excites you most about your industry?
The F&B industry is clearly moving towards a state where consumers (diners) are not just looking for easily accessible and convenient options but also something experiential and rewarding at the same time. Consumer behaviour increasingly dictates the technologies that a restaurant needs to and should adopt. Compared to a few years back, restaurant operators are definitely a lot more receptive to technologies now. Technology is no longer a nice-to-have, it is a competitive edge with your consumers.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Born and raised in Singapore, though I did spend a couple of years in Hong Kong when I was young as my father was based there for work.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore – nothing beats home ground. In addition, the Singapore government provides the right support for startups – we only need to look for it and reach out. Of course, the push for a smart nation and a cashless society is also helping our cause.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“What’s the worst that can happen?”
Our mind tends to over complicate issues at face value. By asking ourselves this question, we disengage ourselves from the situation and instead take the time to process the information and break down the issue into smaller parts – often at times, the decision is much more obvious than we initially thought it was.

Who inspires you?
My dad. He runs his own business, NeXT Career Consulting Group, as an executive coach and no matter how busy he is at work, he always finds time to come home for dinner and spend time with his family. Having the thirst for knowledge also means that he is always learning something new every single day.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The tortoise really did win the race against the rabbit! Check out the video online – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1339626/Slow-steady-wins-race-Tortoise-WINS-against-rabbit.html

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Embrace the present a little more!
Throughout my life, I spent too much time dwelling on past mistakes and worrying about the future. As a result, I do not pause and take stock of the many awesome things that is happening in my life currently. As my good friend once said, “Affirm yourself on the progress every day!”

How do you unwind?
When I’m having a tough day, I’ll always try to squeeze in a quick 30 minutes to run in the evening to unwind and regroup my thoughts. However, nothing beats spending time with my loved ones.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali – probably for the same reasons why it’s the favourite Asian destination for so many people. Bali’s just amazing in its own ways. It is the perfect getaway with friends, to laze on the beach with a bottle of beer and recharge.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. My favourite quote – “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Some call it luck but I believe that if you put all your energy and positive thoughts towards what you want to achieve, you’d be amazed that the eventual outcome will not be too far off from what you had envisioned.

Shameless plug for your business:
Eatsy is a collaborative dining app that allows diners to order, pay and split their bill, and we reward them with cashback after each meal. Think of us as ‘UberEats x Shopback’ for in-dining.
No more flagging down busy waitstaff, splitting cheques manually, or waiting to sign the bill. What’s there not to love?
We connect restaurants to their diners and help them answer the age-old questions of: 1. Who are my diners? 2. What they like to eat? 3. How can I get them back with the right promotions?
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @eatsyapp.co to find out more!

How can people connect with you?
Linkedin for Business; Instagram for Social

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

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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Callum Connects

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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