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Keith Lam, Founder of Limezy.com

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To Keith Lam, starting your own business is something only you can learn yourself. Creating his own opportunity, Keith has recently launched Limezy.com, an online leisure learning video platform.

What’s your story?
After graduation from the United Kingdom, I went back to where I felt I belonged, Hong Kong. I had several jobs in which I gained experience in recruiting and corporate sales, but I always knew one day, I would set up my own company. Most of my friends started their own businesses. So, I started to think that I should not wait for an opportunity to come to me, I should create one for myself and start my own venture. So I gathered together my like-minded friends and started a leisure learning platform called Limezy.

What excites you most about your industry?
There have been several well established video platforms over the past decade. Well known free platforms such as youtube.com which focus on entertainment and paid platforms such as Lynda.com which focus on professional courses such as software and business skills. I am certain that currently there is a lack of well-established leisure learning video platforms. Modern video sites are certainly full of videos, however, they are disorganized. One of our main goals is to establish an organized video platform. We have chosen to start with food and beverages due to the current supply and demand in the market and we have successfully partnered with several content providers in a short period of time.  
 
What’s your connection to Asia?
Limezy is currently based in Blueprint, a working space together with several well-known local startups and it is also one of the largest startup communities in Hong Kong. Blueprint allows us to share ideas, knowledge and experience amongst different startups. We have a good relationship with local Hong Kong coffee shop owners, wine sellers and restaurant owners who provide valuable ideas on our platform. We have also formed partnerships with video creators from Japan, Australia, India and the United States which allow users to learn about international food as well as local.

limezy employee 1 limezy employee 2 limezy logo 1

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong is my favourite city in Asia for business. Although it is a very small city compared to other Asian cities with only 7 million people, Hong Kong is a multinational city where most people understand more than 3 languages (such as English, Chinese and Putonghua). Another key element is Hong Kong has a high-speed internet connection. Hong Kong has the fastest internet connection for smartphone and PC compared to other countries around the world. Hong Kong people are also well educated and more willing to accept new ideas.
 
Moreover, IT development in both hardware and software are not as matured as they are in the U.S and Europe, therefore there are is a lot of potential for us to grow.
 
Geographically, Hong Kong has a close relationship with China. This relationship allows us to source cheap resources and expand our market to other nearby countries such as Singapore and Thailand.
 
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Don’t forget about the content,” is the best piece of advice given to me. This statement may sound very simple, but many IT startups forget this point out and focus too much on their website or app. Imagine there is a physical store on the street selling clothes. No matter how nicely you decorate your store, if you only have 10 pieces of clothes in it, you can only attract customers to a certain point and then you have sold all your clothes. In an IT startup, rather than just looking at the design, the content should be the key to success.
 
Who inspires you?
The co-founder of GOGO VAN. He is a well-known entrepreneur and also a close friend. I have seen his business grow from scratch. It is now a large corporate business.  

He has given me a lot of advice to keep our keep our business going! The most inspiring thing he said was, “developing a start-up business is a difficult process, you may hear a lot of negative comments from friends and even family. You may get challenged by people around you.  But the only thing that makes you a successful entrepreneur is to believe in yourself.”
 
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I read in an article titled, 10 disappearing jobs that will not exist in 10 years and learnt that even social media manager is on the list!
 
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have started my own business whilst I was in university. School does not teach you how to start your own business. The only way to learn is by doing it yourself.
 
How do you unwind?
I enjoy walking around at midnight when there is no one on the streets and no lights on. Quiet places help me cool down and refresh myself, as do open areas. Sometimes when I walk around the streets, I look at the different banners and advertisements. They give me inspiration. Some of my epiphanies actually came from walking!
 
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
My favourite Asian destination for relaxation is Hua Hin in Thailand. Hua Hin is around 200km south-west of Bangkok. I love it’s beautiful long shore, sunshine and beaches.
 
Hong Kong people work in small offices all day long, especially those who work in IT startups. Having a big office in Hong Kong is almost impossible. With the long hours we work, sunshine and blue sky are a luxury.
 
If I could travel to Hua Hin again, I would spend a day lying on the beach sunbathing, reading books, and listening to the waves to recharge myself.
 
Everyone in business should read this book:
Zero to One by Peter Thiel, Co-founder of Paypal.

This book talks about the pitfalls that a startup business may face. The book is inspiring and you can easily relate to the stories. The most important message I learnt was to always self-assess the business to ensure you are on the right track.

We failed many times during our early stages in developing this business, and the mistakes we made are clearly pointed out in the book! I wish I could have read this book earlier!

This book is highly recommended to start-up businesses like us!
 
Shameless plug for your business:
Limezy – Discover the fun in cooking
 
How can people connect with you?
You can visit us on www.limezy.com
Via our corporate website (www.limezy.info) or message us at message at [email protected]
 
Twitter handle
We don’t have a Twitter account but you may visit our Facebook fan page
(https://www.facebook.com/Limezy-Discover-the-Fun-in-Cooking-500378233373515/)

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnects

Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from 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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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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