See Wai Hun, CEO of JurisTech, represented the Malaysian fintech industry at CIMB 10th Annual Malaysia Corporate Day, in a panel titled Creating High Impact Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.
Other panelists were Vivy Yusof, co-founder of Fashion Valet and The Duck Group; Loi Tuan Ee, founder of Holstein Milk Company and Anand Krishnan, Managing Director of Endeavor Malaysia.
The panel was moderated by Gurdip Singh Sidhu, Group Chief Strategy Officer, CIMB Bank.
Sidhu asked all three entrepreneurs about the challenges they faced while starting their companies.
Referring to See Wai Hun as a “fintech veteran”, Sidhu commended her on being one of the first and foremost financial technology services providers in Malaysia, launching her business before the word “fintech” was yet to be coined.
“Our company started off in 1997, during the Asian Financial Crisis. That was probably the wrong time to start a business. Right before starting my company, I was working with big data and trying to figure out how to build an AI (artificial intelligence) solution, believe it or not. I like to think of myself as a futuristic person. But unfortunately, during that time the economy was in a bad state. No one wanted to buy anything. Then one of us had an inspiration, “Hey, the banks are suing everyone right now. Why don’t we help them collect their debt?” We went ahead and built our first debt collection software and it was a very big hit. But the industry I am in changes rapidly and we’re no longer limited to debt collection systems. We’re now more focused on revolutionizing the way financial transactions are conducted. We’re asking ourselves, “How can we help people get loans instantly? How can we enrich lives?” This makes our work more meaningful than ever before,” said See Wai Hun when asked about her journey.
All three entrepreneurs spoke about the challenges they faced building their company from scratch. Vivy Yusof spoke about the struggles she had to face as a budding entrepreneur trying to get fashion houses on-board.
“You’re just a kid, they’d say. And I had a hard time convincing them to get on-board with me,” said Vivy.
Loi Tuan Ee spoke about how underdeveloped the dairy industry is in terms of technology, even in 2017. “It’s hard to get talented young people to work in this sector, but it is a promising industry,” he said.
Nearing the end of the discussion, Sidhu asked Wai Hun for her two cents on the 4th industrial revolution, and how fintech might influence it.
“Most businesses require the foresight to figure out what they can do differently. Businesses need to have a bimodal strategy. Mode 1 is business as usual, growing the business organically. Mode 2 is focusing on innovation. However, in order to give birth to impactful innovations, you must have clarity of vision. Most customers come to us asking for an AI that can do “everything” and I tell them we can’t help you. But when a customer has a very clear, very specific mission they want an AI to accomplish, then we can work with them. Also, in order to accelerate the fourth industrial revolution, financial institutions need to reduce bureaucratic red tape, cut down regulations that prevent implementation of game-changing technology,” said Wai Hun.
All three entrepreneurs acknowledged the positive impact Endeavor Malaysia had in their businesses, and how it helped them grow as entrepreneurs.
“A lot of entrepreneurs think of themselves as unique, but in reality they all face similar challenges. Especially during the scaling stage. These challenges revolve around talent acquisition, capital and market access. It’s a pattern we have seen all over the world. At Endeavor, we help high-impact entrepreneurs overcome these challenges, regardless of the industry they are in. We’ve seen a lot of success in Latin America where Endeavor first started. Entrepreneurs that we supported decades ago like Mercado Libre have grown big enough to start giving back to other entrepreneurs. We want to replicate the same success in Malaysia’s ecosystem” said Anand Krishnan, Managing Director of Endeavor Malaysia.
The entire panel discussion can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/juristech/videos/1932491503445156/.