Jun 07, 2020

My fintech entrepreneurship journey: Has it been seven years?

The 7th of June will always be special to me because it’s the day I co-founded Omise with my lifelong friend, Donnie. This date always reminds me of how far we’ve come. There’s a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. I’d say it takes unwavering grit and a whole team to build a company.

The reality is, for entrepreneurs, we are comfortable with risks. I love taking risks. Anyone who knows me, knows that. I act fast. Sometimes too fast. But that’s me. And that means we will forever be on a rollercoaster ride. Never a dull moment. At one point, I put all of my savings and sold my valuables to keep Omise going. And now, I bet my whole life on SYNQA because I know we are going in the right direction.

I want to take the time today to celebrate some milestones each company has achieved and highlight the relationships built throughout the journey.

Omise: Where it all started

Seven years ago, Donnie and I founded Omise with the aspiration of building a better payment infrastructure for businesses. From a small team of three (Donnie, my wife and myself), Omise now has more than 140 people. And from a small office where Donnie and I used to clean every Monday, we now have four office spaces. I’ve always said that building a strong team and great culture are key to growing a company because with the right people, your business can overcome the many challenges along the way. And trust me, we’ve had many!

We raised funds from investors, we became the first Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant payment gateway in Thailand, we opened offices in Japan, Singapore, and Indonesia, and we partnered with many companies including McDonaldsCitibankTrueMoney Wallet.

I’m thankful for what the Omise team has accomplished and is doing. I couldn’t be more proud of how far we’ve come and I’m thrilled for what’s ahead for Omise!

OMG Network: Forging the path ahead

In 2015, I stumbled across blockchain technology back when the value of one ETH was less than 1 USD. I started to get involved in the blockchain and Ethereum ecosystem. Fast forward, I founded OmiseGO in 2017, now called OMG Network, because I quickly realized the enormous potential of blockchain to scale financial infrastructure. Working in the blockchain industry means leading a path that hasn’t been forged yet. It means taking risks and encountering numerous challenges. But being in the early phase of blockchain adoption also means that I’ve had the privilege to encounter incredibly smart people along the way.

I’m very proud of what the team, now led by Vansa, has accomplished. OMG Network released their Public Mainnet Beta a few days ago, and that is a huge milestone for the team, but also for our mission to better connect people, businesses and society with a better financial infrastructure. Salamander rock achievement indeed.

GO.Exchange: Learning to quickly turn around

Reflecting on the past also means looking back at things that didn’t go well. I founded GO.Exchange in 2018 to support our vision of a financial system that is more decentralized. And a year and a half later, I decided to close the business. What the public doesn’t know is that we developed a number of strategies to generate revenue, we tried to position ourselves differently, we worked with partners in Malta to ensure our compliance, and much more, but despite all our efforts, it didn’t work.

Closing a business is never easy. When you start your own company, your only wish is to see it succeed. It becomes like a baby. But sometimes, despite all the time, work and passion, it fails. And that’s part of being an entrepreneur. You have to be willing to take risks, try new things, and also fail.

I’m still very proud of what the team has accomplished in a short period of time. Despite the challenges, the team proved me again that we “get sh*t done!”. I couldn’t be more proud of the people who have participated in the exchange, and of the partnerships we created.

SYNQA and moving forward

And here we are, in probably the one of the most challenging times of our lives. It’s a crisis on top of a crisis, on top of a crisis. Talking about achievements and reflecting about the past amidst what is happening in the world feels somehow wrong. But perhaps, reflecting on the past to better move forward is what we need to do more than ever. Introspection is one step closer to learning how to become better, how to do better.

Unity is what makes us stronger, whether it is to fight for what we believe in, to build a better society, a better financial infrastructure, or a company.

I’m excited for what’s ahead for SYNQA and its subsidiaries. We’re building technologies that facilitate the transfer of digital assets, digital transformation, and the embedding of financial products for companies. Finance is becoming a component of everything, and we should make sure that interacting with finance is easy. Our end goal is to connect people, businesses, and society with a better financial infrastructure. Let’s build!