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Sang Yeon Hwang, Co-Founder of Heartisans

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Sang Yeon Hwang’s preventative health breakthrough, Heartisans, hopes to predict the onset of sudden cardiac arrest.

What’s your story?
We started Heartisans with the common goal of working on an idea or product that had the potential to add objective value to people. We met through a mutual friend in early 2014 and realised although we came from different backgrounds we had a lot of common interests and goals including the fact that both our families had a history of cardiovascular disease. We started brainstorming a wearable health monitoring system. It was in line with the macro level trends of most developed countries including aging population, rising healthcare costs and that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.
We are currently planning to commercialise our blood pressure monitoring wearable in early 2017. It is a smartwatch that accurately measures blood pressure, a critical vital sign missing from wearables today. Our goal with this first product is to enable individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure) to have the unprecedented ability to measure and track their blood pressure anywhere, anytime.
We are also in clinical validation of our machine learning algorithm in a local hospital. The aim for this is to predict the onset of a medical emergency known as a sudden cardiac arrest up to 10 minutes in advance. As survival rate drops around 7-10% per minute without treatment and the fact that survival rates drop to 0% at 13 minutes, we want to provide an advanced warning and locate the closest AED machine to the individual’s physical location, to potentially save lives.

What excites you most about your industry?
Preventive healthcare is what definitely excites me. With the tremendous amount of new sensors capable of providing real time vital signs data and as these sensors get more sophisticated, it will really change the way we monitor our health. Enabling new research based on the combination of these sensors and disease prevention is one of our goals and we have already started this. There are a number of researchers using our wearable for this, one example is a PhD researcher from the Chinese University of HK who using it to study the effects of yoga intervention on Parkinson’s disease patients.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am originally from Korea but moved to Hong Kong with my parents in 1992 before the handover. I have lived in Hong Kong since then (though I completed my higher education in the United Kingdom). It would have been crazy as my parents had a choice of moving to Tijuana, Dublin or Hong Kong. I am glad they chose Hong Kong!

Heartisans Team 20160215_heartisans_logo

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It’s got to be Hong Kong. What I love about Hong Kong is that setting up a business is extremely easy and straightforward. Moreover, it is an international city where expats can settle down very quickly which makes hiring foreign talent possible. For Heartisans, being within an hour to the manufacturing hub of the world, Shenzhen, also helps.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
A fellow entrepreneur and a good friend of mine shared a quote with me that really stuck, “fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.” It has really helped me understand that all the ups and downs are just part of the process to get to where I need to go.

Who inspires you?
Elon Musk. I can’t think of any other entrepreneur that starts an idea or business with the main focus being the value it will create for all humanity. I think he just gets it.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
There is a great talk from Simon Sinek on, “Start with why” and it explains how, experimentation during uncertainty is crucial for some start ups.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have definitely started my entrepreneurial journey earlier. One of the most important things I have learned is to focus on being emotionally intelligent and ensuring that our team has all the tools they need to succeed.

How do you unwind?
Snooker, gym, read, TED talks and of course travel.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I don’t really have a favorite Asian destination, because I live in one of the most fast paced cities in the world, Hong Kong. I prefer places that are nice and quiet where I can appreciate nature. If I have to give an example then it’s got to be Palawan. I haven’t been to the Maldives yet!

Everyone in business should read this book:
I would probably recommend a book that is not business related.
“Sapiens, a brief history of humankind” by Yuval Noah Hariri

Shameless plug for your business:
It all starts with our Heartisans.
Heart – The heart is the inner core and most central part of anything and everybody
Artisan – Specialist in a craft
Join our growing team if you want to help fight cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in the world.

How can people connect with you?
Linkedin, Facebook or email – drop me a line at [email protected]

Twitter handle?
www.twitter.com/heartisanstech
www.facebook.com/heartisanstech
www.heartisans.com

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

CallumConnectsCallum 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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Callum Connects

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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