Ricardo’s helping you find the perfect space for the perfect occasion with his organisation Venuerific.
What’s your story?
I was exposed to business at a very young age. My grandparents traded building materials and my father owned a home-building construction business. After struggling for many years, he started to get bigger projects which helped our financial situation.
My parents never had the luxury of finishing their education, but deemed education an asset. They decided to send my sister and I to study abroad in Sydney, Australia. We were only 12 and 11 years old at the time.
They supported our education and allowances for the first 3 years, then in 1997 the Asian financial crisis happened. I had to step it up and support myself and my sister by working part-time jobs such as cooking hamburgers, serving ice creams, selling movie tickets and telemarketing. Apart from these, I created my own side-businesses from trading watches at the age of 17 and re-selling concert tickets. It was actually really fun and I learned good business comes from great customer service.
I graduated from the University of Technology Sydney in 2006 and got my first job at JP Morgan. I then moved to a well known hedge fund called Susquehanna before coming to Singapore to work for the Royal Bank of Scotland.
After working for over 8 years in the banking industry, it hit me that my true passion was to solve problems and help other people. Entrepreneurship has allowed me to do both and I haven’t looked back since. Venuerific is my third venture and I’ve been blessed that so many have supported our journey.
What excites you most about your industry?
Apart from getting to meet so many interesting people, we also get to discover amazing spaces and have the opportunity to work with their businesses. Like other industries that have been disrupted by technology (i.e. uber for transportation, airbnb for accommodation), the events industry is also undergoing a major transition. Venuerific is at the heart where this change is taking place and we are very excited to see what happens over the next few years.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Jakarta, raised in Sydney and have been living in Singapore for the past 7 years.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. It took us a week to come up with the perfect company name and only 10 minutes to register our business on bizfile. Apart from that, everything is very transparent and businesses here are willing to give startup companies like us a chance.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I am a spiritual person and constantly focus on mindfulness. I live by the quote, “what you think you become, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you create,” Buddha.
Who inspires you?
My inspiration comes from entrepreneurs who struggled but never gave up. Sir Richard Branson, John Paul DeJoria and Ray Croc are a few of them.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Frequency of users is also as important as the acquisition of new users. We have always been more focused on the latter component in the past.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Find a mentor who is willing to guide me in the right directions. It is very important to start young so you are able to make more mistakes and learn from them.
How do you unwind?
My definition of “unwind” has drastically changed since leaving the corporate world. Back then, after a stressful day, I would head to a bar for drinks with friends and occasionally head to the gym. Now, I exercise regularly (a combination of cardio, weights and more recently boxing) and I have begun to explore meditation at home.
Other than that, I really love discovering new places and experiencing new things. Usually on weekends, I find time to visit one new place or do something different.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali is such a magical place. Sacred temples, beautiful mountains, hipster cafes, exquisite restaurants and the endless adventures that awaits. Plus, being a local has its perks.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Start With Why by Simon Sinek; Black Hole Focus by Isaiah Hankel; The Virgin Way by Richard Branson.
Shameless plug for your business:
It’s so important to find the right venue when you are hosting an event. Venuerific is an online marketplace for people to list, discover, and book hip, beautiful or unconventional event venues in Southeast Asia. Re-discover the way you celebrate and experience events by finding the perfect venue.
Whether you’re looking for a private space to celebrate a birthday, yacht for a romantic engagement, or a mansion to impress your clients, Venuerific has the perfect space for every occasion. With over 1,000 choices in over 5 countries, you will never run out of options.
To start discovering, visit www.venuerific.com
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.
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