Nicky Surapaitoon is excited by the tech startup world. She is currently heading up Tapp Commerce in Thailand.
What’s your story?
I started as a small girl from a tiny village in Khon Kaen province. With mud still between my toes I moved with wide eyes to the bright lights of Bangkok where I studied to be a Pharmacist. After doing my time as a retail pharmacist I founded my own chain of shops, but my heart wasn’t there. A chance lunch got me into the online start up game, I co-founded SawasdeeVIP on online buyers club of luxury items. Then with experience in the operations side and distribution I joined EasyTaxi (Rocket Internet), Deliveree (Inspire Ventures) and Sendit (Ascend). Currently I am country head of Tapp Commerce Thailand.
What excites you most about your industry?
The opportunity to learn and execute something totally different from my background. Tech startups are the most innovative/creative industry history has ever seen. It’s like Walt Disney said “if you can dream it, we can make it!”
What’s your connection to Asia?
Born and bred, a truly integrated Asian with a global perspective.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Wherever i lay my hat. Now it’s Bangkok, the epicentre of start ups in South East Asia. Tomorrow it could be Bangalore, Yangoon or Tokyo.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Pay it forward. Fail fast, don’t dwell on failures, learn from them.
Who inspires you?
All examples of triumph over adversity
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Russia, India, U.K., Thailand, Brazil, Germany, Korea, Australia, NZ, Myanmar*, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Argentina and most countries – have all been led by women. I have no glass ceiling!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, I learn from history but I can only influence the future and not the past.
How do you unwind?
At home, cooking in the kitchen with a glass of wine – think “keith floyd”. Nesting on my couch watching a TV series or great movie with a glass of wine or sharing conversation and a bottle of wine with my friends. Seeing a common theme here?
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
After Bangkok, well we all know why. 1. Koggala, Sri Lanka if i wanna get my belly brown on the beach. 2. Yangon, Myanmar for a laid back and cool vibe to reconnect with my girls squad 3. Garak, Korea for seafood or great beef (don’t ask about chicken & beers in the Hof)
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Zero To One”by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters
Shameless plug for your business:
Tapp Commerce Thailand a Finland based mobile payment app. Tapp Commerce has raised $9 million to expand its operations in Southeast Asia for people without a bank account or credit card to make online payments. Tapp We bring buyers and sellers together with a mobile marketplace app, that makes purchasing online with cash easy and reliable. Now we’re hiring http://tappcommerce.com/careers/
How can people connect with you?
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
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/>