Connect with us

Callum Connects

Justin Wang, CEO of Scry

Published

on

Justin Wang is the co-founder of Scry. He is helping transform how the future is predicted.

What’s your story?
After my masters, I still had a few months to burn until my non-compete in the information security industry ran out. I hit up my friend and now, co-founder Jia Huang who had just left this previous AdTech startup to start a new business. We were bouncing around ideas, and talk turned to some research and after a bit of digging, we realised that the results were there. So, after a few increasingly sophisticated rounds of modelling, we realised that we had a shot with our envisaged business use case and Scry was born.

What excites you most about your industry?
I think that within the broader space of prediction markets, the thing that excites me is the fact that no one has come up with a dominant design yet in this space; nothing really has captured the public’s imagination and scaled beyond a few niche audiences.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Born and bred in Singapore – aside from some time in Australia where I did my degrees. Our startup is based in Singapore, we graduated from an accelerator in Hong Kong, and part of our staff hail from Vietnam!

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I may be biased when I say this, Singapore. While it may be far from perfect, I think that Singapore has a fair but competitive business landscape.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
As trite as it may seem, it would be to put myself in someone else’s shoes. I think that far too often, we neglect that there is a spectrum of human responses to the same stimuli. We mask our ignorance and shield our opinions with phrases like ‘logically speaking’ – but in reality, all we are doing is wilfully disregarding our shameful ‘unknown-unknowns’ and labelling a mass of human experience that has formed an opposing opinion as ‘irrelevant.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who does honest, hard work. I have nothing but the highest esteem, and draw the greatest of strength from seeing people work, and enjoy their work, without the need for prevarication or sycophancy. They are the modest heroes of every age.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
“Social Jet Lag” – a phenomenon that results from the incongruence between an individual’s latent circadian rhythm and the schedules imposed by his or her societal obligations (be it work, socialisation, academic study, etc). “Social Jet Lag” has recently been correlated strongly with academic performance, with students who prefer later schedules, performing significantly worse in standard academic timetables than students who prefer earlier schedules.
This research resonates with me as it goes quite some way in explaining the perplexing difference in performance between my compulsory education in Singapore, and my undergraduate/postgraduate studies – where the bulk of my classes were held in the evenings, and my time was my own, to get work done.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Be educated, on a ‘late chronotype,’ type schedule.

How do you unwind?
Time with those closest to me, or maths rock on my headphones if I am alone.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan during winter, in an onsen whilst snowflakes float languidly down, all around me.

Everyone in business should read this book:
‘I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that’ by Ben Goldacre, a bit of a left field recommendation but it expounds upon how much spin, and ignorance driven by spin, that circulates around us. Too much of the world around us has been forced into false dichotomies, into trendy little soundbites, where all you need is a confident voice that cherrypicks evidence to fit your narrative. Nuance and context is lost, as is the ability to discern between the shades of gray.

Shameless plug for your business:
Scry is building a two-sided market to predict the future. On one side of the market, we are building on emerging research on cognition and judgement that has uncovered the existence of latently prescient individuals; these individuals were found over a 5-year geopolitical prediction competition, where they consistently beat out the rest – even intelligence experts by a staggering margin of 30%.

We are taking what those researchers have found, to not only find more of these people across the world, but to give others the opportunity to be trained to think like them as well.

On the other side, we are serving a need that our own market surveys have revealed: over 96% of managers and business owners across the Western hemisphere say that they are experiencing a crisis of confidence when it comes to making strategic decisions for their organisation. They blame their woes on the poor quality of information they have access to, typically, newspapers, renowned experts in the industry, and TV news networks. What Scry is going to serve up is a no-fluff probabilistic estimate of the outcomes of future events; no prevaricating and hedging with “maybes,” “probably-s,” or “likely-s.”

Tying it altogether is machine learning. We are using it to advance the state of the art; both to identify positive traits that can be passed on through training to our predictor user base, and to boost the accuracy of the predictions served to our subscribers.

Ultimately, we want to build enough supply and demand in this space that a marketplace to connect organisations with competent predictors of the future becomes a viable prospect.

How can people connect with you?
Through LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/justin-wang-49879b135/
Or my e-mail at: [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

Continue Reading
Comments

Callum Connects

Jace Koh, Founder of U Ventures

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Callum Connects

Ray Ferguson, Founder of Caber Partners

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Trending