The desire to help others grow their companies through increased funding is what motivates Jeffrey Liu
What’s your story?
I’m the co-founder and CEO of Jenfi, a fintech company that provides revenue based financing to digital native companies in Asia. In short, we help ecommerce and consumer technology companies grow faster by funding their Facebook and Google ads. In exchange, we take a small percentage of sales as a form of repayment.
Jenfi is my 2nd startup. Previously, I co-founded GuavaPass, a fitness subscription service that provides access to premium boutique fitness classes across Asia and the Middle East.
I’ve always been fascinated with new business models that have a high positive impact to others and the community.
What excites you most about your industry?
Internet (online) businesses is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. It’s exciting because disruptive businesses are launched every year – you can use your phone to do virtually anything these days. These businesses are making day-to-day life more convenient, whether its ride sharing or online education. And what’s more fascinating is that it’s significantly easier to start an online business today than even a few years ago. We’re all playing a part in the “Internet” revolution much like how the Industrial revolution changed people’s lives over 100 years ago.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
What drives me is the desire to help the underdogs succeed. Business owners are an interesting group because they are often underserved or ignored yet work harder with more passion than most people I know. With Jenfi, I wanted to democratize access to growth capital so that it levels the playing field for many of these entrepreneurs who are trying to create meaningful services or products.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
One of my biggest lessons during my entrepreneurial journey is having a bias towards action. Running a startup involves tons of micro decisions you need to make daily. Forcing myself to take action allows me to keep getting feedback – both positive and negative. When I first started off in my career, I had the tendency to want to plan everything to make sure I’ve accounted for all options. This was quickly thrown out once I started working in unpredictable startup environments. Mistakes became something I embraced as they proved to be some of the most valuable lessons.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Your life is your responsibility.
A lot of people look for life advice from others and when they end up following such advice and things don’t go their way, they start thinking about who to blame. It’s easy to get caught up with living your life based on what other people think. But that could be at the expense of not being true to yourself.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by those that I have met that live by example and are selfless in helping others. Whether it’s for our own family, or for the community, or for a charitable cause, I’ve always been amazed at our capabilities as humans to help each other, and some people’s willingness to make sacrifices for others so others can live a better life. The sacrifices these people make are truly inspirational.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
The average person spends only 27,375 days on Earth. When put in this perspective, it serves as a good reminder for us to live each day to the fullest, to love those around us, to genuinely pursue our passions, and not to sweat the small stuff.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would make more mistakes. Our brains are wired to be more fearful of loss and failure than the satisfaction of winning and success. This is innate in our primate instincts. But it is this same fear that causes us to hesitate and be afraid to try new things or to test new ideas. But if we don’t have this willingness to fail, we’ll never learn and we end up missing out on great opportunities that could actually be game changing.
How do you unwind?
Running is my escape whenever I need to clear my mind or to reflect on situations and challenges. For me, nothing beats a 5K early morning run before the rest of the world wakes up. After a run, I feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
Every organization goes through different phases of growth. The analogy I like to use is starting with a home, growing it into a village, then a town, and eventually a city. At each stage, you need to develop the appropriate infrastructure and governance to manage.
The “ah ha” moment for me is realizing that I need to replace myself as quickly as possible. My goal is to gradually replace each task that I do with people that are equally passionate and can do a better job than me. This is the foundation of how a leadership team gets built.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson
It’s a simple parable about two mice and two little people in a maze looking for cheese. When the cheese disappears one day, each character responds in a different way. This is one of those books that I can keep reading over and over, and find new profound truths each time I read the book.
Shameless plug for your business:
If you are running a digital business (eg. ecommerce, SAAS, consumer technology), please visit our website to learn more about how Jenfi can help provide capital to help scale your business faster.
Visit us at jenfi.com
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.