A DIF­FER­ENT DRESS TO CON­QUER Kings­land De­vel­op­ment’s Group CEO shows strength of fem­i­nin­ity in a male- dom­i­nated in­dus­try.

The Peak (Singapore) - - Contents -

“And it’s re­lated to the fact that she’s a peo­ple per­son to the tee.”

The other per­son Goh is im­pressed with is Nadiem Makarim of Go-Jek, the founder of the In­done­sian start-up that started out in mo­tor­cy­cle ride-hail­ing but has since ex­panded his busi­ness into lo­gis­tics and dig­i­tal pay­ments. It was val­ued at US$5 bil­lion (S$6.9 bil­lion) in Fe­bru­ary this year and plans to fill the vac­uum left by Uber in Sin­ga­pore. “He’s ridicu­lously smart and even un­rea­son­able, but what makes him for­mi­da­ble is that as the busi­ness grew, he grew with the man­date.”

Zi­audeen projects a slide with a num­ber of qual­i­ties listed in a chart; he had ear­lier got Goh and Amanat to rank them in or­der of im­por­tance for a founder. Both sin­gled out “grit/ per­se­ver­ance” and “gets sh*t done” as the two most im­por­tant qual­i­ties out of a list that in­cluded “be­ing vi­sion­ary”, “be­ing ob­sessed/ex­pert in the field” and “com­mand­ing re­spect”. Ranked low­est by Amanat was “em­pa­thy with other hu­mans”. “That al­most got me di­vorced this morn­ing,” he says rue­fully. “But, hon­estly, ven­ture cap­i­tal­ism is a bru­tal busi­ness. It’s not phi­lan­thropy, it’s not a so­cial en­ter­prise. We are out there with swords and knives and fists and we are fight­ing. Peo­ple don’t see that, they see only the sex ap­peal, and the amount of money in­volved.”

Con­ver­sa­tion swings round to per­sonal sto­ries of op­por­tu­ni­ties that they missed. For Amanat, it was An­thony Tan’s Grab Taxi. “I kick my­self ev­ery day over that but you can’t catch them all.” For Goh, it was Quek Siu Rui’s Carousell. “I just couldn’t see it but I guess I’m still new to the game – and al­ways chang­ing my hy­poth­e­sis as to what a good founder is.”

Zi­audeen won­ders if the en­vi­ron­ment of Sin­ga­pore

isn’t re­ally the most ideal for pro­duc­ing en­trepreneurs, let alone for­mi­da­ble founders.

For Amanat, born and raised in New York but now based in Sin­ga­pore, the is­sue is moot. He com­pares San Fran­cisco with Sin­ga­pore, not­ing that fail­ure in the for­mer of­ten means los­ing ev­ery­thing, be­com­ing a bank­rupt and start­ing from scratch all over again, as op­posed to Sin­ga­pore where fail­ure merely means piv­ot­ing to an­other com­pany. “So there is a safety bound­ary in Sin­ga­pore but I’m highly sup­port­ive of it, be­cause it means this place will prob­a­bly be a hot­bed for idea gen­er­a­tion for the re­gion.”

Goh thinks it might be a case of need­ing more role mod­els. “I used to tell Quek that he needed to sell his com­pany for an obscene amount of money and live a very deca­dent life­style, get a Fer­rari and an in­ap­pro­pri­ate girl­friend like a Tai­wanese star­let,” he says, to amused chuck­les. “Ev­ery­one would sit up and say ‘Hey, maybe I could do that!’ be­cause no one’s seen that. We need a bad boy – maybe then the en­tre­pre­neur­ial juices would start flow­ing.

“The ecosys­tem needs he­roes – when peo­ple see that you can be way more suc­cess­ful than the av­er­age doc­tor, lawyer and ac­coun­tant by be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur, then maybe more would step up.”

“The ecosys­tem needs he­roes – when peo­ple see that you can be way more suc­cess­ful than the av­er­age doc­tor, lawyer and ac­coun­tant by be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur, then maybe more would step up.” HIAN GOH

06 Kevin Matthews, Milena Nikolova & Mar­iusz Gawron­ski07 Kaizar Karkaria & Su­nita Gill08 Ameer Jum­ab­hoy09 Hian Goh, Ozi Amanat & Ar­rif Zi­audeen 10 Rachel Teo 11 Asema Ahmed & Bina Ram­puria

09

06

07

08

11

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.