Lucy Ashenhurst is helping others to succeed using her legal skills.
What’s your story?
I am a reformed corporate lawyer running my own legal tech startup for founders and scaling businesses. I created Upstart to give inspiring people their best chance to change the world. I wish I could cure cancer or revolutionise space travel, but sadly my greatest talent is lawyering, (tragic) so the best I can do is to help others’ talents and ideas succeed.
What excites you most about your industry?
My competition. The legal industry has been overdue a change for many years. When I first thought of Upstart in 2012 no-one was doing anything like it. Now the market is getting busier every day and that is great news for everyone. The more affordable, credible legal services there are for startups, the more chance we all have of a bright future.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I came to Asia to scuba dive (I am a PADI Divemaster). I came to Singapore to earn some money, but I stayed and built a life here thanks to the amazing community I found here, both personal and professional. Asia is such a vibrant and exciting place at the moment. Did you know Singapore it is voted #1 in the world for startup talent ahead of Silicon Valley? And Vietnam’s craft beer scene is kicking off. And Bangkok is just glorious chaotic Bangkok. There is so much creativity and innovation. I adore it all.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I’m going to be controversial and say Jakarta. Not just because I specialise in Indonesian projects, but because it is so unexpected. Get out of Mega Kuningan and into South Jakarta and you will find co-working spaces, incredible hidden gem restaurants and hipster coffee houses jostling for your attention. There is a huge amount of talent and ambition there and investors are paying attention.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“You can do anything you put your mind to.” That’s what my mum said. I think that reinforcing children’s natural sense of invincibility is the best way to access their potential. So much of success is purely psychological. If you believe you can do it and you are prepared to work to make it happen, I genuinely believe there is almost nothing we can’t do.
Who inspires you?
Richard Branson. Way before Zuckerberg he was spreading the message that you don’t have to take yourself seriously to be important, respected or successful. He works hard, but always seems to be having fun doing it, and still has a really close family.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That “bolshie” (meaning too big for your boots, rebellious, so in other words, an Upstart) comes from Bolshevik – the Russian revolutionary party. We are doing a lot of internal branding and strategy work and it is fascinating how rebellion and innovation are two sides of the same coin. It just depends who is telling the story.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I am incredibly happy and fulfilled and if I went back and changed anything (a few questionable ex boyfriends spring to mind) then I wouldn’t be where I am today.
How do you unwind?
It is weird to say I unwind by working? My work is like some people’s workout or good book. It gives me enormous satisfaction to feel a sense of progress. I don’t think I am a workaholic (I definitely wasn’t before I ran Upstart), I just really love what I do. When my brain gives up on me though, I binge on Netflix and drink wine.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Koh Tao because it will always be home (I lived there for 6 months before moving to Singapore), Malapascua in the Philippines for the Thresher sharks and totally untouched beaches, Bali for a classic villa holiday with friends and Hoi An, Vietnam for the food.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. Or you can save yourself some time and just watch his excellent TED talk!
Shameless plug for your business:
Upstart is a tech-driven, but human centered business. We offer a legal portal, focused on startups and backed by world class lawyers. And we are just getting started! Stay tuned for new features and functions online every couple of months throughout 2018.
How can people connect with you?
People can reach me on LinkedIn (I am the only Lucy Ashenhurst) or via our www.upstartalliance.com I still man the live chat more often than not so you can get a direct line to me there.
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’.