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Teh Li Rong, COO of Jio Technologies Limited

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Teh Li Rong loves working in the tech sector. She can do meaningful work and the creative scope of the industry is exciting.

What’s your story?
An entrepreneur who has never been intimidated by a male-dominated work environment or the risk of going it alone in business. The drive to achieve financial independence led me to a career as a derivatives trader after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management from Singapore Management University. I am adept at developing and executing complex strategies involving systematic and high-frequency trading, arbitraging and directional trading. With bigger goals in mind, I struck out on my own to found a trading firm, that trains and nurtures people who have no prior experience in the field.

Last year, I stepped into the tech industry and co-founded a start-up, Jio Technologies, which owns a lifestyle app JiojioMe, and is now its chief operating officer. I chose to be involved in tech because of the meaningful work I can do in this field. I was always interested in research, discovery, development, innovation and breaking new grounds. I love it as this field encourages creativity. Creativity breeds innovation, and innovation is ultimately rewarded. Technology is not only about coming up with new ideas, it also involves figuring out how to make those ideas work. The interesting part is technology shifts the way the world lives and functions. It is all about coming up with solutions, solving virtually every problem people encounter, and even offering new solutions for things we never thought needed fixing. This industry is rarely boring and will bring the best out of me, because it is constantly evolving at a rapid pace, which is very similar to the fast-paced financial industry.

What excites you most about your industry?
The social media industry is exciting, because you are able to communicate with people from various cultures on a single platform. Common interest communities are formed and relationships are forged through JiojioMe. The opportunity to see how our product can change the world and impact people’s lifestyle and habits is exciting.

In addition, ground-breaking innovations are taking technology to the next level and shifting the way the world lives and functions. We can never predict where technology is taking us in the future. The experience of discovering these achievements in technology also excites me.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore. On the business side, most of JiojioMe’s users are Asian and besides Singapore, we are expanding to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is Jio Technologies’ favourite city for business. The diversity of cultures in Malaysia offers a pool of valuable talent that are multicultural and multilingual. It is one of the most vibrant countries in Southeast Asia. The strategic location offers a gateway to a regional market of over 600 million people, which leads to more connections with like-minded people.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“The sky’s the limit; it’s there for the taking. But you’ve got to go and get it.”

Who inspires you?
My co-founder, Lester Tan. His ability to always come up with brilliant ideas, his tenacity and passion for achieving our mission of connecting users with common hobbies and helping the retail market by partnering with merchants.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
1% of the Bitcoin community controls 99% of the world’s wealth.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have got involved and invested earlier in the tech industry.

How do you unwind?
Spending time with my family. I have 2 children. I feel happy hearing their laughter every day. They are growing up so quickly and we are constantly doing new activities together so it is great to unwind with them. Other than that, when I need some alone time, I go on long drives in the night while listening to good music or sitting down and penning five things that I am grateful for. Gratitude is a powerful emotion, it shifts my perspective and helps me focus on what is important and precious in my life.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan. The stunning views, exploring hidden places where one can experience pristine nature and the traditional Japanese culture are what attracts me. A must visit to an onsen soothes tensions away. Also the food! I enjoy Japanese cuisine the most as it is very diverse.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business.

Shameless plug for your business:
The spirit of JiojioMe is embedded in the name itself as “Jio” literally means “to ask or invite someone out” in Hokkien dialect.

It is a lifestyle app that matches like-minded people based on hobbies, activities and thoughts via geo-location, and gives users the most relevant content based on their interests. The app has partnered with more than 600 merchants and establishments to give users exclusive promotions and perks at their fingertips.

With JiojioMe, you can post the activity and the app will help you find like-minded people to join you. We saw the potential of bringing the online people offline. With more offline interactions, this creates a win-win situation for users as well as the merchants and establishments. For users, they get more social interactions offline, while enjoying a discount from it. For merchants and establishments, they gain an increase in patrons.
JiojioMe was officially launched here and is expanding to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

Download JiojioMe now at Google Play or App Store.

How can people connect with you?
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tehlirong/
Email: [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

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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