Paul Offers Tailored Cybersecurity Strategies For Businesses

What’s your story?
We started Horangi in 2016, and it has had a profound impact on Asia’s cyberspace, as one of Asia’s leading cybersecurity companies. I have leveraged my expertise in Anti-Money Laundering, Insider Threat, and Commercial Banking, leading to securing unicorns, including Gojek, Tiket.com, and Bukalapak.

Prior to Horangi, I worked at Palantir Technologies. From collaboration with the U.S. military in Afghanistan to working across Singapore, Korea, and New Zealand, I played a ​vital role in expanding the company’s Asia Pacific footprint. In 2016, I was selected to be the Head of Information Security at Grab.

What excites you most about your industry?
The bad guys only need to be right once. We, on the other side, need to always be right. So the opportunity to use my knowledge and skills to make a difference in the safety and security of consumers and businesses, is what keeps me wanting to always learn more and to inspire my team to be the best innovators in the business. 

What’s your connection to Asia?
The word Horangi means “Tiger” in Korean, and that’s where my connection to Asia begins. With Palantir, I worked across multiple countries in Asia, where I gained an intimate understanding of the tremendous growth opportunities in the region, as well as the corresponding risk of cyber threats that come with expansive growth. It was this challenge that drew me to Asia and to conceptualize Horangi as a business.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I have lived in Singapore now for almost 7 years and still really enjoy living here. It is beautiful, clean, and things are fairly seamless. That being said, I also spend a lot of time in Jakarta which is also a great place, but with very different attributes. I normally spend about 30% of my time there, but with COVID-19, my travel is limited at the moment.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson. I didn’t actually hear this advice directly from him, but it’s one of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard.  Sometimes I feel as though running a startup is like jumping into the ring with him.

Who inspires you?
Elon Musk and SpaceX are really pushing the boundaries of human grit and technology.  I am very excited to see them send humans to Mars for the first time, and am looking forward to 2050, when he plans to have 1 million people living on Mars.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I was reading about the Japanese satellite, Hayabusa 2, that landed on an asteroid and was sending back photos and taking samples to bring back to earth in late 2020.  I am super excited to learn more about this extraterrestrial endeavor.  

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I have made a ton of mistakes, but in reality, I don’t think I would have gotten to where I am without having made them. Though I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have started a fully remote company. I think there are a lot of advantages and it is something I will try in the future.

How do you unwind?
I enjoy going to the gym and running in my spare time, but I have recently been enjoying spending time in the ocean, hiking, and really just enjoying the natural beauty around me.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Being based in Singapore, I quite like Phuket. It’s close, reasonably priced, and quite beautiful.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers,” by Ben Horowitz. I think this book speaks to the reality of what it is like running a startup.

Shameless plug for your business:
If your organization is on Amazon Web Services (AWS), check out our product — Warden. This is a Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tool for organizations to manage the security and compliance risks that naturally come with an evolving public cloud environment. If we can be honest, Warden is incredibly easy to set up and supports compliance standards relevant to FinTechs and Financial Service Institutions in Asia. If this is relevant to you, check it out on our website. Warden also comes with a 14-day free trial. 

How can people connect with you?
Reach out to me on LinkedIn.

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews

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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 and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.

Connect with Callum on Twitter and LinkedIn
Download free copies of his books at www.callumlaing.com