Source: Interviewer Oranuch Lerdsuwankij (Mimee), CEO & Co-founder, Techsauce
Moderator: Waleeporn Sayasit, General Manager-Corporate Communications, TCC Technology
[Waleeporn]: So, you have recommended for the start-up, how to focus on the priority, and also manage the cash, and also the business model, and also resources also, right? Like human resource. And, do you open for collaboration? And in which areas?
[Mimee]: Yes sure, we are open for the collaboration because we are the educational hub and also the business matching platform. So, whether you are like start-up, VC, or the corporate who still don’t have the VC arms. You have a, or you are the eco-system builder like community builder, co-working space across the world, we would like to partner with you. So, start-up, maybe you want to meet the VC. We can provide the business matching. And, the corporate who want to do like the corporate innovation program, we can help them to transform by using accelerator program or maybe like culture transformation even maybe like venture builder programs.
[Waleeporn]: So, if anyone interests can collaborate with you, right? In this area that you just mentioned. And so, that’s excellent. Now, let’s move on to the story of entrepreneurship. And, some of our audience, they would like to be like you. So, would you please advise some approach or how to run business as start-up and stay healthy?
[Mimee]: Let me, I think I cannot recommend or give the advice directly because different start-up maybe have different challenge. And different industries also have different particular challenge. But let me share some of the experience that I found out during running the company like throughout nine years already. I think the most important thing that every entrepreneur, they should focus is not just only build the product development or finding the right customer, but you should think about the business fundamental is very important for every entrepreneur whether you are the start-up, whether you are the community builder, or even you are the SME because if we are talking about the company, the business fundamental including financial management. Cashflow management is very important, especially during the crisis. It is not the time to talking about profit because of the crisis, but it is the time to find out the way how to survive, based on the cashflow that – the cash runway that we have. And the second one, I think this is the most common mistake that I have seen even myself, too. It’s a Cap Table. Cap Table – how to balance between the co-founders, the angel investors, and VC in our company. We need to clean up the Cap Table. Please make sure it is not too messy and easy for your guys to waste the next round of the funding. And the second one that you should aware is – asking the right question is more important than the right answer because if you have – if we have the right direction, we can develop the right solution. But if we design the wrong direction, even if you trying to find out any solution, it doesn’t fit the direction that you are going. And the last one is the founder’s skillset at early stage and growth stage are totally different. For the early stage, they need to focus on the product development, customer acquisition, product market fit. But for the growth stage start-up, CEO at this stage, they should do the right thing that they have to do like people development. For example, we don’t have enough time to taking care of the operation part. So, we need to find out the right person and assign them to handle the right job. And for ourselves,
we should train – we should be the coach and train the other staff to be the next coach and find out our role and position, we should find out the partner to expand the new market. So, the founder at the growth stage, they should handle the right thing and assign the right people to do the right job. This is really the most important. And, last but not least, not too optimistic. This is very important because of the crisis is a – It is a part of our life actually. So, we have to understand the world as it really is. There is nothing that we can certain of in this world. So, not too optimistic but understand the real life that facing the challenge and facing the obstacle. This is the normal part of our life.
[Waleeporn]: I also believe that nothing is certain in this world, right? And, that’s the lesson that you learned from entrepreneur life, right? Because some companies from abroad they are so successful. And, is it possible that their approach of the start-up from abroad can be localized or applied to the Thailand context?
[Mimee]: It cannot use the same methodology or use the same approach when they want to enter to Thai market. They need to adjust some of the strategies, for example, they need to, first one, they need to understand our behavior and the culture. And also, if you want to develop the solution to support Thai people, they need to, for example, like language is a big barrier when we want to work with the people from oversea start-up or oversea big corporate, they need to localize the content. And B2B strategy and B2C strategy are totally different as well. If you are the B2B company who want to enter to Thai market, currently you should find like big corporate in Thailand, especially real sector side. They realize the important of the innovation to transform their business. And, they are open, and they want to work with the partner and find out the partner especially the company who is strong in part of data analytics and also the Deep Tech. So, this is a big opportunity for the oversea start-up or the foreign company who want to come to Thailand. It’s not hard to sell the solution, but the hardest part is find out the right partner who can connect to those companies. So, find out the right partner is very important. So, B2B2C and B2B are – I think it is possible for your guys – if you can find out the right person who can find out the right partner and bring you and connect with the big corporate. But for the B2C is another story. It’s very challenge because normally the consumer will not pay. So, we need to understand what is the real value proposition that they are trying to deliver and support the user. So, it is not maybe, it is not that B2C directly. It should be like a B2B2C monetized from the B side or the business side and develop the solution to support the consumer.
[Waleeporn]: That’s interesting. Khun Mimee, if fast-forward to the future, what would you like to do? And how do you visualize the impact to yourself and others?
[Mimee]: This is a very good question. Actually, I love this question as well. As I mentioned before that I am very passionate about the education. And, education is the key fundamental of every society. Let me…one of my role models mentioned about this. This guy, his name is Kofi Annan. He said that the knowledge is the power. And, information is liberating. The education is the premise of the progress in every society and in every family. So, I believe that if we solve the education system in Thailand or any particular society, I believe that Thailand will move to the next step to the next level. So, I hope that next ten years, maybe, no more to mention about the age. I hope that I want to reinvent Thai education system – using my knowledge, using my connection as well as creating greater access to reduce the gap – the
education gap between the rural and urban area. I would like to find out the solution and how to use the digital to help the people and the kid in the rural area to access the great content.
[Waleeporn]: That’s interesting. You have opportunity to interview many executives and also a tycoon. Could you please share that experience to the audience?
[Mimee]: It’s a…I have chance to interview top CEO in Thailand from the company as a listed company and also the private company. And, they have a … let me share some of the example that they give the advice to me and I also learned a lot from them. The first one, they mentioned that the COVID-19 is not the first crisis they are facing. Previously, they faced like a ‘Tom Yum Kung’ – the Asia financial crisis – in, I cannot remember… it’s in 1997 or 1996…during that period, around that period. We also have…also facing the problem of Hamburger Crisis. And, this is another biggest challenge, not just only in the twenty years but it is in this century. And, probably, they said the same thing that this is the biggest challenge in this century. But, they said that we shouldn’t wait for the hope like vaccine.
They said the same thing that we shouldn’t wait for the hope, but we should focus what we have, what we should do and we have to do, and find out the opportunity inside the crisis. So, do not give up and understand the crisis, that’s a part of our life. This is the part that they always mentioned. And, they said that luck is where preparation meets opportunity. This is the quote that I really love. I also would like to recommend another book that called ‘Good Luck’, maybe you check it out from the Amazon or maybe go to the bookstore. They said that to create…we should create the condition for the success in life and business, and after that, the luck will come.
This book is… the author’s name is Fernando and Alex Rovira, the author’s name. This is a really good book that one of the top CEO, they mentioned about this name, and they said that you will understand the real life of the world. Some people they say we are facing the bad luck –But, actually no…not like that because they prepare the situation, they prepare their business before facing the next crisis.
[Waleeporn]: So, we have to go check-out this book – ‘Good Luck’, right?
[Mimee]: Yes, ‘Good Luck’ is the name of the book.
[Waleeporn]: And, you recommend what you experienced from many people you interviewed – that, ‘never give up’, right? And, like prepare for the next crisis and also prepare for the next opportunity.
[Waleeporn]: My last question. If you have any advice to inspire people who would like to be start-up or the community builder.
[Mimee]: I believe that everyone have dream and have the passion that they want to follow. I think that you…we should ask ourselves first that whether you want to be the start-up, you want to be the entrepreneur or not because, to be the successful people…I don’t want to say that I am a successful because I still have…it’s a…I’m also facing the challenge, and I don’t want to say that I’m successful, but I can share some lesson learn that I am facing. I worked with a big corporate, and I mentioned before that, almost twelve years. And, I realized that I love to build something new. This is my passion. I am passionate about the education. So, if I work with the big corporate, I think I cannot do something that help our society. So, I made decision to resign from the big corporate and started my own company. So, if you realise that you have the passion and want to do something, so that you should dare to take the challenge, but ‘at the right time’, and don’t be afraid of failure because of…but being afraid of not trying or learning. This is the part that I would like to share. Without risk, there can be no growth. So, we can think big. But, if you want to reduce the risk, you can start small and should learn fast. So, the concept of the start-up called – think big, start small and learn fast. It’s the best quote for your guys who want to be the start-up and community builder.
[Waleeporn]: That’s great!
From what you just mentioned, I really admire your passion of trying to reinvent the education system and, in my opinion, you contributed a lot to others, and especially, the young people. And also, we believe that the strong society can be built here and built from the person like you. And today, we would like to thank you for sharing your thought to our audience, and we really appreciated your presence today, Khun Mimee.
[Mimee]: Thank you so much. It’s my pleasure. And thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to share about the Techsauce story and how can we help the community.
[Waleeporn]: And also, we would like to thank you all the audience for joining ‘Open Talk’. And, the ‘Open Talk’ is the program under ‘Open-Tec’ which is the tech knowledge platform powered by TCC Technology. So, for all the audience, see you in the next episode. Sawasdee Kha Khun Mimee. Thank you
[Mimee]: Sawasdee Kha.
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