Craig Dixon started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 5, now he focuses on helping others on their journey.
What’s your story?
I’m a banker turned startup founder turned VC. I had a paper route at age 5, sold candy and gum in junior high school and in my teens ran a lawn-mowing and snow shoveling business. After graduating I went into private wealth management with BOA Merrill Lynch.
After my MBA, I co-founded B2B travel tech company, Zumata, which exited to Rakuten in 2019. We raised funding from Wavemaker Partners, The National Research Foundation of Singapore, 500 Durians, and Siemer Ventures. Previously I was the Entrepreneur in Residence for the muru-D accelerator.
What excites you most about your industry?
The market potential and the founders in the region that are delivering solutions to real world development problems.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
Get things done and be incredibly useful. Those are definitely two things that I believe drives me.
I like to be busy which shows through in all that we manage to accomplish at Accelerating Asia through how we work with investors to the flagship accelerator and partner innovation programs.
And, I also like to be incredibly useful – focusing on different stakeholders, founders, investors who we connect with low-risk startups. It’s an overarching focus for the team too – we are driven to supporting and investing in early stage founders and scaling their impact across the region.
How do you unwind?
For me exercise is how I unwind – I run, swim (I was a lifeguard and pool operator in high school), play tennis and go to the gym. I balance that with work by making sure I block out my calendar time to do it because ultimately it makes me more productive and I encourage the team to do the same. I also pick-up random hobbies as a way to relax – in 2021, I learned the ukulele after a class at my kid’s school and I learnt to juggle. I haven’t quite decided what it will be in 2022.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
That impact and commercial goals can be aligned. We’ve always had a focus on impact at Accelerating Asia. But I had a real aha moment when I realised as a VC investor that in the markets we operate in, most startups are solving emerging, real world problems that are having an impact on the world we live in and contributing to Sustainable Development Goals. These startups are for profit businesses with commercial viable solutions that are VC investible. It’s helped me to reframe how I look at impact investing and what classifies an impact startup.
Everyone in business should read this book:
- Zero to One, Peter Thiel
- The Lean Startup, Eric Ries
Shameless plug for your business:
Accelerating Asia is an accelerator VC licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Accelerating Asia invests in pre-Series A startups with untapped potential that are 6-18 months away from institutional funding.
While most angel investors and startup programs in the region focus on ideation-minimum viable product stage startups, and venture funds focused on solid product-market fit, startups with a robust product at early stages of customer traction are overlooked. That is where Accelerating Asia comes in. Our accelerator and venture capital model is designed for early stage startups to fast track growth and drive success, unlocking the potential in them.
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?