[Shark Tank] Thoughts on S8E6

Screenshot from Shark Tank, Season 8, Episode 6. Courtesy of ABC

In Shark Tank Season 8, Episode 6, there was a war that broke out between Mr. Wonderful and pretty much the rest of the Sharks. At one point, Mark Cuban pointed out that “I would rather work 80 hours a week to make 50k and work for myself, than have a 75-100 thousand dollar job working for somebody else.” That struck my chord so hard.

I could really relate to Mark in this sense because I was raised in the startup scene. Ever since I was 16, I was running all kinds of startups, and this I believe is the life I want to pursue. Tried a corporate for a part-time, couldn’t take it for 2 weeks. I decided at that time that it was the time for me to start out on my own, so I felt that it would be nice to run a startup for myself. Indeed, the initial days were tough, but I enjoyed the grind and the eventual rewards. I know I would never get these rewards if I were to go into a corporate career.

I encourage many young people who want to start their own business to take that leap of faith to do so. Don’t hesitate further. But you need to be very clear of your intentions. It’s not going to make you a quick buck, but it sure is and always be one hell of a rewarding ride.

Also, if you want to watch the video, I have made a link to the YouTube version (opens in new tab). Enjoy!


What I Find Distasteful

Our Angel Investing Masterclass – Photo credits to AngelCentral

Recently I was taking a course on Angel Investing conducted by Der Shing, Shao-Ning and Teck Moh at AngelCentral (who I sort of consider as my mentors in this area). I finally understand what makes angels tick and more importantly it reinforces something for me as well, “Don’t offer messed-up deals, you will screw your own name over.”

Unlike in the USA, where 1 out of 1100 persons are accredited investors (i.e. angels), in the ASEAN region, there is only 1 out of 10000 persons who are. The angel investor community is very small, and you don’t want to spoil your name in this community. Everyone knows what’s going on.

There was a particular case that was brought up during a startup pitch competition, and one of the panelist who’s an angel investor or venture capitalist (I can’t remember which is it) made an offer of $15k for 30% of the company. I find that really distasteful, and I’m really open about it (no qualms). When I heard that, I was like, “seriously?!”. As much as we as investors want to minimize downside and maximize upside, let’s not screw the entrepreneur over. After all, it is his/her blood, sweat and tears we’re talking about. Realistically speaking, I asked myself, “Is $15k gonna be enough? I don’t think so. So how is the entrepreneur going to raise the next round of funding? He/She will get screwed over by this type of investors!” This is what I call devil investor/vulture capitalist (pun implied). What if the entrepreneur took the deal because he/she really needed the money for the company’s cash flow. These are people’s lives we’re talking about here. Let’s give them the respect that they deserve, thank you.

Let us work together and create a vibrant startup ecosystem in the ASEAN region so that everyone can grow.


Hair for Hope & Angel Investing – What’s the Link?

As most of you know, I have started to invest in early stage startups at this age, having joined AngelCentral as a Seraph Member in June 2018. And as most of you know, I participated in Hair for Hope 2018 (HfH2018). So now you may ask me, what’s the link between the two?

For that, I think it is good to give some context. Angel investing is technically considered gambling, but we bet on founders. When we say “I’m willing to invest $50k in your company”, what I actually mean is “I’m placing a $50k bet on you succeeding”. However, unlike traditional betting, we get to help the founders in a hands-on manner. For me, with strengths in biotechnology and IT systems integration, I would naturally invest in companies in these two areas (or at least somehow related). When we make an investment, it’s letting people know that the dream of building your own business and eventually achieving financial freedom is alive and well.

When I went for HfH2018, it was to raise awareness about childhood cancer. It’s a tough journey, and I want to give the kids suffering a hope that they can recover and eventually achieve their dreams. I want them to know that being an “outlier” isn’t a bad thing, most outliers eventually become billionaires or at least multimillionaires.

Eventually, it boils down to 1 thing, to give hope. To give people hope that if they are serious, they will eventually achieve their dreams.

“The dream is free but the hustle is sold separately.”