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Viktor Wanli

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Viktor Wanli is Founder of Kinguin and is on track to launch an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) in the coming months

Viktor Wanli has big plans for his 100 million USD gaming business, Kinguin. His ambitious aspirations are coming to fruition as he prepares his company for an ICO, Initial Coin Offering, in the next few months. Mr. Wanli not only wants to make a further dent in the USD 100 billion gaming industry but he also plans on expanding his business beyond gaming.

Kinguin is adopting blockchain technology to offer a completely new decentralized game trading platform supported by its own cryptocurrency.  The technology is currently being redeveloped to enable a more transparent and secure trading platform and the ICO forms part of their wider expansion plans with the funds raised supporting their ongoing growth and development.

What is your story? Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m half Syrian, half Czech. I was born in the Czech Republic and grew up in Syria so I speak Arabic as well. I was in marketing and in 2003, I started a video gaming business which later died in 2007 and left me with lots of debt. I moved to Poland for family reasons and in 2013, I started back in the video gaming industry and in ecommerce and that’s when I started Kinguin.

Can you explain a bit about Kinguin?

Kinguin is a marketplace for downloadable PC video games. We only do downloadable games, so nothing is shipped and no mobile games. I started the business in 2013, Kinguin now employs 350 employees, 300 in Poland and 50 in Bulgaria. It has a 100 million USD annual turnover and up until now, Kinguin has been completely self-funded. It is self-sufficient when it comes to financing. I have never sold any equity and the whole expansion of the business to 350 employees, up until now, has been completely self-funded.

I believe, Kinguin’s organic growth has been down to a few factors. Kinguin:

  • Offers something unique in the marketplace
  • Is the 1st organized secondary market for video games
  • Is the 1st market buying from the publishers
  • Has enabled the discovery of games. This discovery process is very important for gamers as the amount of video games in the market increases.

Why is Kinguin different?

Adding to the above reasons for our organic growth, Kinguin is unique, I believe because we offer something unique to our gamers.

The nature of our offer is very appealing to gamers. We are built on reputation and our growth has been organic, through word of mouth. We have 65% returning customers every year and we see this as essential to our expansion.

We deal with all customer enquiries ourselves. About 80% of the issues, we solve them ourselves without involving the merchant himself, so both parties are happy, the buyer gets their issue/s solved and the seller gets their sale without their involvement.

I think, the most exciting challenge in the company, is to react to the issues in real-time. We are similar to Amazon in this sense, in that they too are customer centric.

With organic growth it becomes significantly more difficult to respond with instant solutions to customers’ issues. it’s a challenge, especially with the rapid growth – but it forces us to think about our product selection, etc. without limiting the customers’ user experience.

Also, Kinguin is different because we are turning an existing business into blockchain. A lot of start-ups are adopting block chain technology but not many turn existing businesses.

What are your aspirations for the Kinguin business?

The digital games market is a 108 billion USD market. We still have plenty of room to grow and we will continue to grow, however, we want to grow out of digital games and take on the big guys – Alibaba and Amazon.

We see Kinguin’s growth in a similar fashion to Amazon which started in the books category, then grew into CDs and so on.  But first we need to master our home category as we are not even a drop in the sea of the gaming marketplace.

For us, it’s not to become the next Alibaba, we all want to be different, don’t we? We believe we want to do it in our own way, we want to be different, but we want to be as big and as powerful!

Can you explain what an ICO is?

An ICO stands for initial coin offering and is probably the most advanced and modern way of raising funds for start-ups and existing businesses. Essentially, you are investing in a company over the internet via the use of a cryptocurrency. ICO’s are preferred by some businesses over a traditional IPO. They are less regulated, they don’t cost as much and the business owner doesn’t give up equity in the company.

What are the opportunities with an ICO?

An ICO will give Kinguin the significant push it needs to reach the next level which is very expensive. To reach this level of operations, we need new talent. Talent is a huge issue in the block chain industry. Employing advanced talent for the research and development of blockchain tech is costly. This is hard with our current financials. We need to bring on advanced talent in the blockchain business, which already has a lot of competition. Blockchain engineers are in need. There is not enough talent to pool from to feed the gap and it is growing fast.

An ICO also opens a new horizon for us to reinvent ourselves in this unchartered ocean. We believe the ICO will give us a significant push to take on the big (e-commerce) guys, allowing us to overcome Alibaba.

Regardless of ICOs, blockchain is an exciting tech which allows us to explore new markets. The ICO is a natural progression because of the blockchain technology. I see it as comparable to when the internet started. Blockchain opens up unprecedented opportunities for businesses to explore new blue oceans with not a lot of competition.

Why an ICO over traditional fundraising?

An ICO is less costly than a classic IPO and with less regulation overall, less bureaucracy. Also, you are not giving up any equity in the company.

ICOs are very complimentary to the VC funding process. If nothing else you will get a lot of feedback from the market about your product, and you won’t outlay a lot of cost.  More importantly, the low barriers to entry mean that we can open this up to our customers so that they too can benefit from our growth.

What markets are you focusing on for your business expansion?

Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

The nation of blockchain are welcomed by the Singapore authorities. ICOs were banned in China so this affected Hong Kong and Japan has a similar stance, as does South Korea. But Singapore has a very friendly approach as does Abu Dhabi. They are both very influential economic powers in Asia, a natural extension. Both markets are integral for our expansion and will give us a considerable boost in the industry.

Why are ICOs a good investment (for investors)?

I recently read an article in Business Insider, Australia which quoted a report from VC firm Mangrove Capital Partners which explained that the average returns from blind ICO investments is about 1,320%.

Other than the potential substantial returns on investment, investors in ICOs can avoid traditional brokering companies and their fees. You can invest in a company which appeals to you, without any middlemen involved. You can also decide how long you want to hold onto your purchased tokens.

If you are a gamer, an investor or entrepreneur Kinguin is a company to watch. With its expansion plans in place, and a healthy return on investment predicted for ICOs, Viktor Wanli is looking at a prosperous future for his gaming business. Who knows, Kinguin could be the next (albeit different) Alibaba or Amazon? Stay tuned….

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]

Investors

Eva Law

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Eva Law invests in businesses and people who share something she believes in and understands well.

What’s your story?
I serve affluent families, corporations and investors in Asia. I am well connected with entrepreneurs, wealth creators and the next generation who dream big. I offer my clients solutions which are contingent to their requirements.

Apart from supporting clients with their investment, I am passionate about helping clients with things like family governance, family business growth, management and succession. Since recently establishing the Life-Quest Fellowship, I now support good causes and help them to build a dynamic economy, harmonious society and a ‘greener’ world.

I am available for talks, I welcome co-investment in any form and I am always happy to meet bright people with good ideas.

What is your involvement with Investment?
With regard to my own investment, I together with my vehicles are actively investing in technology, impact investing projects and young companies.
My daily life requires me to work closely with the buy-side parties. They are the wealth owners, the successors and the co-investors. In this role, I need to fully understand their unique requirements. I manage and facilitate the potential formation, execution, disposal and ongoing management of the investment activities either operating in-house or run by mandated external managers.

How did that come about?
I started investing in technology when the tech-bubble burst. For impact investing, I was inspired by people with vision and good hearts and that was when I engaged in the family offices network. My investment in young companies started 2 years ago when I started supporting programs relating to the incubation and acceleration of start-up companies which exhibited the potential to be successful. Being a family office specialist, it is my natural role to offer tangible support to clients to assist in arranging their investments, club deals and asset disposals.

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?

  • Be patient with long-term investing
  • Buy and invest only in businesses or projects you understand
  • Make informed decisions – do due diligence and checking
  • Take diversification seriously
  • Know when to sell and when to buy
  • Maintain liquidity at a reasonable volume

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
Many investors confuse historical returns with future expectations, the investment advice they receive about long term probabilities and average returns may have little or no relevance to the actual results they get.

I have seen on many occasions, investors fail to match investment styles with their own personal goals. There’s no single right answer to investment strategy that will result in financial success for everyone. Investors have to find the path that will adhere to their unique expectations, limitations, skills, resources, goals, values, and risk tolerances for achieving financial success.

Following those ‘gurus’ who have made their millions doing the “blah, blah, blah” strategy doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy for all investors. Investors are advised to be vibrant and be able to make decisions contingent on their own conditions.

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Not being adaptable. Companies don’t fail because of changes to the environment. They fail because their leaders are either unwilling or incapable of dealing with change. Indeed, companies don’t change. People do. It means that to stay competitive in today’s environment warrants not only the skill and will to adapt to change but also the foresight to anticipate it.

Excessive optimism. Failure to consider the downside risks will bring the business to a halt quickly. Often an enterprise or start-up expects to have its product on the market in the near future and have sales growing at aggressive rates with unrealistic margins. Sooner or later, the company will experience cash flow disaster, and most entrepreneurial businesses have no plan whatsoever for such variances. They fail not because the idea was necessarily bad but more than anything because their forecasting was poor and the capital dries up.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I receive advice from the people who surround me – my family, the church, the community. I have shared some of the advice i have received which resonates with me:

  • Don’t give up on what you want most, for what you want now. It’s about sticking to your priorities.
  • You cannot control the external world, but you can control your reaction to it. By focusing on what I can do, I can stay positive.
  • Only pack what you can carry yourself. I realize excessive pressure is no good and it won’t help your end goal.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
First, fundraisers should have clear expectations and well contemplated strategies. Second, qualifying the target investors/funders early so they focus their scarce resources on people likely to support them. At last, research the potential investors/funders and build a relationship with them over time. People buy from people they like, trust, respect and believe in.

Other tip: Make the pitch simple. Nobody will buy what they don’t understand. It’s very important to take the complexity of the company and industry and develop a “narrative” that helps investors and funders better understand the context. It’s basically story telling.

Who inspires you?
The people I am surrounded by.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Do what you love and create the environment that’s right for you. That is why I built the Associations, the Fellowship and my own business. I love doing what I want to do and I can help the world along the way.

What business book do you recommend the most?
I recently read Jonathan Taplin’s book, Move Fast and Break Things. It examines the “monopoly platforms” built by Facebook, Google, Amazon and others. It also discussed technology’s impact on society.

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
Association of Family Offices in Asia (AFO) is a professional society in Asia which distinctively gathers single, multiple and virtual family offices as well as industry societies in the region. AFO offers a range of consultancy services and organized activities to facilitate collaboration and co-investment among the prestige circle.

Asia Co-Investors Club (ACIC) is a group of private investors who organize partnerships. The relevant group in ACIC establishes new ventures, buys or sells securities and real assets based on a majority vote of the members. Club meetings are voluntary, thought provoking and educational. Each member may actively participate in investment decisions.

How can people connect with you?
Connect me via LinkedIn or write to me at [email protected] or reach out to my assistant at [email protected]

Social Media profiles?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/evalaw/

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

Louie Pinto

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Louie Pinto swears by his tried and tested formula – the Billionaire Rule of 3.

What’s your story?
My name is Louie Pinto. I was born in the USA to immigrant parents with humble beginnings. In my 20s, I decided that I wanted more out of life and wanted to live an extraordinary life, so I decided to study the rich and wealthy. For the last 18 years, I’ve studied under some of the top mentors in the word, like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Joel Bauer, Harry Dent, etc. I came up with a formula called the Billionaire Rule of 3, which I started to teach and apply in my own life and the lives of others. I’ve spoken to over 10,000 people in the last few years in Asia alone.
Last year, I founded GCBA- Global Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Alliance with 2 partners of mine in Singapore. We started at a coffee shop and less than 1 year later, we have thousands of members and we have impacted many of their lives.

What is your involvement with Investment?
I focus on modern wealth strategies, which include bitcoin and blockchain education. Investing in cryptocurrencies is risky, that is why I teach people to focus on crypto education. I teach people to have a small exposure to crypto, keep their traditional investments, like RE and stocks, but also use a small amount in crypto to supercharge their returns.

How did that come about?
I was first exposed to bitcoin in 2014. I did nothing. Then last year in April, I had a mentor ask me to really take a hard look at bitcoin again as a way to create generational wealth in a short amount of time. I started to share with some friends, then it grew from there. We have thousands of members all around Asia in our Alliance.

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?
Well, my billionaire rule of 3. Step 1. Find the right trend. Step 2. Is it the right time? Step 3. Take massive and immediate action.

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
Focus too much on not having a plan or a strategy. If you don’t have a plan, you become a gambler, and the casino is filled with broken souls and wallets. We focus on having a game plan and simple strategies to make money. Our focus is that investing should be boring, and profitable.

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Not spending enough time on education. One of my friends, just bought a small plane. He asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. As we were talking, I asked him where did he go to pilot school? He said he didn’t, he just watched a few videos on youtube and read a book. Now that is risky and no one in their right mind would fly with that person. But people gamble away their life savings in the markets and other investments, because they are not educating themselves first.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Define your target and keep taking steps, no matter how small, each and every day, until you accomplish it.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
You need to have solid proof of your results before you can start to ask people for money.

Who inspires you?
Being a new parent (my little girl is 4 years old), I really admire parents who will do anything, including giving up their dreams, to provide a better life for their children. Only just becoming a parent, have I started to appreciate my own parents even more.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Sometimes you can even surprise yourself. Last year, when I first got started, I never would have imagined that I would be speaking to thousands of people a month, sometimes up to 8 times a week, and be a leader in this field. I grew up with low self esteem and had a really bad stuttering problem that prevented me from speaking in public for many years.

What business book do you recommend the most?
There are so many that I’ve been blessed with over the years. 1) Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert K. It shares simple, but powerful ideas on gaining wealth. 2.) Awakening the Giant Within, by Tony Robbins. He focuses on mindset and taking massive action. After reading this book in my 20s, it sent me on a few different paths.

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
www.GCBA.world

How can people connect with you?
Facebook
Email – [email protected]

Social Media profiles?
https://www.facebook.com/louie.pinto

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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