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New ’n’ Old caught up with Moses through the year to get a deeper insight into how things are shaping up.
How does running your own Fintech company compare with previous challenges?
It’s the most fun and most dif cult endeavour I’ve ever attempted. Startups attract me because it’s the hardest test of business acumen. You have to build something that didn’t exist and convince customers, employees and investors that you can create something massive when you have no evidence of capability to do so.
Working with BCG was hard (after UNSW and New College) but all we had to do was construe numbers to convince ourselves or the client of people how to do things but not having the courage to do so ourselves. BCG is an excellent institution, business and learning environment but there’s a limit to how much you can tell others what they should do before the nagging voice says ‘if I am really that smart I should just do it’.
How did you make the transition away from consultancy?
After BCG I went to Amazon which taught me the Silicon Valley way of business. It’s an amazingly ef cient, data driven organisation whose brutal ght for the consumers is clear when you’re on the inside. I added on my Berkeley education time at YCombinator, the world’s premier incubator for startups (e.g. Airbnb, Dropbox, Twitch all started at YC). About 2% of applicants get in, and so we’re super fortunate.
Since then, it’s been only pure hustle that has made us who we are. I didn’t know anyone when I rst arrived. I emailed 100 names at Berkeley that sounded Indonesian. Six replied, I met four. One introduced me to his roommate. His roommate introduced me to his father. His father introduced me to folks and at every meeting I would ask for introductions to more people. And that’s how I know everyone I know.
How does running a startup affect who you are?
Startups have made me much humbler. It’s very easy to do “analysis” and come up with an answer on beautiful PowerPoint slides. It’s very hard to execute on that answer with the realities of managing people, trying to grow 30% every month, answering to investors, employees and customers. On top of that we add in the complexity of a developing world, so dealing with everything from a developing regulatory environment and bank servers that go down daily to employees stealing from you.
Where are you and Joy living?
We live in the crazy city that is Jakarta, home
to 28 million people, and the capital city of Indonesia. It’s developing very quickly but still years behind the Silicon Valley. We have lots of really good friends and have hosted quite a few New College folk who have passed through. Just let us know if you are, we tend to keep a spare bedroom free for guests! Living in Indonesia means regular trips to Bali for the sun, Penang (Malaysia), my hometown for food and generally easy access to the worlds’ cheapest and best holiday spots.
The aim is to keep growing 30% every month. That obviously gets harder and harder but we have investors betting on that growth trajectory. Each quarter we nd ourselves pushing for bigger and bigger deals and now serving customers from all over the world to build a business that didn’t exist before we arrived.
Oh…and kids. 😛