Up Close & Personal with Sng Khai Lin – Co-founder & CFO, Fundnel

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“It is not about the decision you make but what you make of the decision.”

Sng Khai Lin, Co-founder & CFO of Fundnel

Founded in 2015, Fundnel is Singapore’s first Fintech company to provide private equity and equity-related investment opportunities to its network of investors. Fundnel’s platform has enabled investors from the buy-side to co-invest easily alongside top financial institutions, while SMEs and funds on the sell-side can raise capital in a cost- and time-efficient manner. We sat down with Sng Khai Lin, Co-founder and CFO of Fundel to find out more about her entrepreneurial experiences.

I have read a lot about your experience, about building teams and your entrepreneurship journey. What’s the one defining moment for you in your journey? How has that changed your perspectives?

Issuing the first pay cheque to the founding team of Fundnel four years ago was an epiphanic moment for me. In a melodramatic fashion, I realised I had mouths to feed. I came to terms with the fact that every decision I make must be economically sound to ensure that the company can continue handing out salaries month after month.

Consequentially, I became prudent with expenses. I try my best to lead by example so I can instil the same trait in everyone at Fundnel because it is a widely known fact that majority of start-ups fail due to cashflow issues.

How do you keep yourself abreast of innovation to ensure that Fundnel is constantly innovating?

The core duty of a private investment platform like ours is to assess the funding viability of businesses that apply to raise capital; on average, we screen 40 companies per week. This unique position — going through the pitch deck of these companies — keeps us abreast of the market’s movers and shakers be it technological, product or process innovation.

As important as reading is, it is the act of questioning that determine the depth of the learning journey. I frequently ask myself if what I’ve read about the fundraiser is applicable to Fundnel and how I might implement it effectively.

 Earlier this year, we launched an idea board open to all employees to contribute ideas for business improvement. Facilitating ideation across multiple functions at all levels, breaks down barriers that inhibits creativity, rendering a conducive environment for innovative ideas to thrive.

What’s keeping you awake at night these days?

It’s mid-September as we speak which means we are left with less than two months to close as many deals as we can, before market activity slowly dwindles and come to a halt in December.

How do you recharge?

When I have a rough day — one with seemingly insurmountable vexing problems — I knock off on the dot, take a 30-minute stroll home, and have a good meal with my loved ones. This little ritual allows me to decompress before I calmly tackle the issues one by one.

Who is your role model and why?

My parents started a small business when I was young, though they had almost nothing to their names. In fact, both of them have primary school as their highest educational attainment and neither speaks English. With sheer tenacity, they toiled round the clock to bring up all five children and put us through the best schools. They were, and remains today, my greatest role models.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? Professionally & Personally?

Professionally, I hope to double the company size but quadruple our output. I’m confident that our proprietary technology will be sufficiently robust to support our operation at scale.

Personally, I want to dedicate more of my time on weekends to myself and my loved ones. Since I founded Fundnel, I have not spent a 48-hour period free of work. I do recognise how unhealthy it is for my physical and mental wellbeing, as much as joy and satisfaction I derive from work. However, it is not possible at this growth stage of the business for me to come to a halt at ease.

What are the 3 pieces of advice you would give to budding entrepreneurs?

  1. It is not about the decision you make but what you make of the decision

  2. Cast your ego or fear aside and ask for help when you need it

  3. Pass it on. The next generation of entrepreneurs is just as deserving of the goodwill you received

guest contributor: Adeline Tiah

Insights Driven Marketer & Executive Coach