Sulayman Tun-Ismail – Entrepreneur

Sulayman Has Pioneered Completely Digital Business Cards

What’s your story? 
I grew up and was educated in Australia before returning to Malaysia to join a big regional bank. The first year, when I received my business cards, the printed details were smudged on most of the cards. It was pretty annoying having to manually mark every card I gave out. I soon met up with my partners, we shared some ideas, and then we made the leap into building Betacard. 

I always wanted to take ownership of a business. During my time at university I worked in all sorts of jobs, from gardening to being a library guy and a supermarket assistant, before I joined the corporate world. When the idea of Betacard was sparked, I knew that it was the do-or-die moment in my career.

What excites you most about your industry? 
The analog and traditional problems with business cards are still prevalent today. You run out, you lose cards, or they are damaged. It’s an untouched space where we have the freedom to command complete creativity in how we craft a great solution. Especially in Asia, companies are accelerating plans to adopt digital and transform their core businesses – they’re interested in listening to smaller players’ ideas when figuring out how to solve their inefficiencies, which makes it an open and fun space to work in.

So all the issues you face with business cards today, it’s just so easily solved by existing technology when applied correctly.

What is your connection to Asia? 
It’s home. I was born and raised in Johor Bahru, Malaysia for the first few years of my life before moving to Australia for boarding school and university. I spent all of my teenage years and more in and around Melbourne, where I was lucky enough to meet a diverse bunch of people from different backgrounds and from all over the world.  I’m also a huge foodie and I just can’t live without Asian food in my diet. Melbourne had a huge Southeast Asian population so there was always delicious food around!    

Favourite city in Asia for business and why? 
I’ve always seen Jakarta as an exciting hub of upcoming tech – a vibrant, colourful, and enormous city, with its own challenges, but very tech-forward. I think that’ll be a really fun place to grow into.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? 
My old boss, and a close friend and mentor, always told me bluntly, “If you’re not proud of your work yet, don’t show it to me until you are.” This built a deep sense of discipline and eye for detail that I really found valuable when we were building up Betacard. The customer is the king/queen and you can’t give them a product or a service that you’re not proud of.

Who inspires you? 

Definitely my family and my amazing team. Outside of that, a very close friend showed me a podcast that featured Naval Ravikant, an angel investor, entrepreneur, and serial reader. He’s a very deep thinker and shares his experience, backed by philosophy and logic, on what drives overall success. He’s a very inspirational speaker who really gets you thinking about how to be a more positive and efficient thinker.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? 
Designing and building mobile apps are incredibly interesting but highly intricate and complex. This is something I’ve taken for granted before starting my new venture. I’ve learned to understand the need to prioritise the user experience and how well thought out it needs to be, covering common scenarios, edge cases, and everything else that’s involved.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently? 

I definitely would have liked to travel a bit more around Asia, namely, Nepal, Turkey, and Japan, during the pre-COVID era, when I had a bit more time on my hands. The buzz of the marketplaces and cities will sadly not be the same when countries begin to open up again.

How do you unwind?
After work I try to go for a run and slot in a workout in the gym, most days a week, or if I’m feeling really drained, I just strum away at my guitar – it’s a great way to tune out and give the mind a rest. I’ve also been getting into a routine of meditating before I start my day – it’s done wonders for my focus.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali is my pick. It’s an island that has everything. I love the food and the vibes and everyone is there to relax, unwind, and have fun. It’s just a great spot to chill out with a good group of friends.

Everyone in business should read this book: 
“Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future,” by Peter Thiel was key in getting me psyched for the leap out of corporate life. It gives great perspective on the tech startup scene from one of Facebook’s key early investors. It’s also a short read so it’s very easy to digest.

I do believe in freeing up the mind to inject a bit more creativity via philosophy and reflection.  

“The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coelho is an amazing reminder of chasing your dreams, no matter where they take you. A really motivating and short read.

Shameless plug for your business: 

Betacard is a completely digital business card and contacts management solution. Create your card, share it, and manage contacts, all on one app. If you change your designation, number, email, etc., it’s completely updated across all contacts instantly… and it’s absolutely FREE for individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit companies! 

Our Betacard Business web portal links seamlessly to the mobile app, allowing organisations to create a Company Card template, invite their team members, and distribute their Cards instantly. No more waiting for form-filling or printing time!

How can people connect with you? 


Betacard Business:


Social Media Links? 




To hear how entrepreneurs around the world overcome their challenges, search your favourite 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’.

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