Ivan’s Start-up Innovation Model Has Become Popular In Established Corporations
What’s your story?
Nanyang Angelz was founded with the purpose of making impact investments into startups with innovative business models that can bring positive disruption to society and the environment. We believe that startup founders are the catalyst to change and innovation and it’s our role as investors and mentors to unlock and unleash their potential. Through our role, we become enablers of innovation that we believe are replicable in the corporate world.
NAZ’s investment strategy involves mentoring startup founders to up-level their innovations and solutions, bring them to market, and open business networks for them so they can grow revenue as soon as possible.
Our work in startup innovation has led to inquiries from the corporate world, especially during the current coronavirus pandemic, on how corporations can draw innovation lessons from startups. NAZ now advises corporations on innovation in the form of an Innovation Executive Briefing. We have also published a book on how large corporations can adapt a startup’s culture of innovation, entitled, “Department of Startup. Why Every Fortune 500 Should Have One,” by BEP, New York.
What excites you most about your industry?
Startup innovation for corporations is a reality today. In fact, the key to corporations surviving the current coronavirus financial and health crisis lies in innovation. Startups are very successful in this area. I believe the startup experience is highly relevant because innovating and pivoting is second nature to cash strapped, agile, and purpose-driven startup.
I recently wrote about Sharent in the Financial Management magazine, a publication for 670,000 CPAs about one of our portfolio startups and how it pivoted during the current crisis. This is the work that excites us in Nanyang Angelz, to see our innovation model working through our investment, in Eric and Sharent when the idea was still on a piece of paper, and we were fully trusting in our model. Lessons from a startup’s pivoting exercise – FM
What’s your connection to Asia?
I have lived in 3 different countries in Asia and have over 15 years of experience in sales and building business in multiple Asian countries. Part of that experience includes launching successful new businesses for three multinational corporations in the UK, Belgium, and Japan, during times of recession.
Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong, for its dynamism and culture of entrepreneurship. In Hong Kong, you will be celebrated if you have your own business, no matter how small it is, as compared to working as an executive for a large company.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Start small and don’t despise its small beginnings.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by my mentor, Mr. Anthony Teo, a Singaporean, who has gone out of his way to take me under his wing when I was starting out. He is a gentleman with a keen eye of discernment. I learned a lot from him just by observing him in action.
What have you just learned recently that blew you away?
I am the limit to my potential.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have encouraged myself to be bolder and to take bigger chances.
How do you unwind?
I read and write. Reading has taken me to far-flung places and different eras from the comfort of my home. I started writing after publishing my first book, “Department of Startup: Why Every Fortune 500 Should Have One,” and I am now a regular contributor to Medium and in magazines such as Financial Management. I write about a wide range of topics that interest me.
Favorite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Seoul and Jeju, South Korea. English is not prevalent over there, so I get to really unwind and to “get lost” in a foreign land.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I am a big fan of Napoleon Bonaparte of Corsica. Any book about him is worth a read, to learn not only from his battle campaigns but his leadership and his vision. Many would not know this, but the unlocking of the ancient Egyptian civilization was due to the deliberate and active participation of Napoleon and his men. It resulted in the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and the deciphering of hieroglyphics.
Shameless plug for your business:
Our startup innovation model is highly relevant for corporates as it delves into the culture of the organization from the belief system, to its leader, followers, and the organization as a whole.
To hear how entrepreneurs around the world overcome their challenges, search your favorite podcast platform for ‘CallumConnects’ to hear a 5-minute daily breakdown.
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built, and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’, and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.