EPISODE 11
TRANSCRIPT

Episode Ten

Profiles in Entrepreneurialism:

Bram Viktor of Hangry

IndoTekno Podcast, 11 August 2020

(past transcripts)

 

ALAN  0:10  
Welcome to all of our listeners to our 11th episode of Indo Tekno. Selamat datang semuanya. I'm Alan Hellawell, Founder of startup advisory firm Gizmo Avisors, and Venture Partner at Alpha JWC Ventures. For our Indonesian listeners: pendengar Indonesia dapat membaca transkrip Bahasa Indonesia kami. In order to set the stage for this week's guest, I find it useful to go back to the original mission of the Indo Tekno podcast. We created this series: 1) in order to raise the profile of the technology ecosystem in Indonesia, 2) to add a new analytical voice to Indonesia's technology scene, 3) to profile emerging business models that could grow into multibillion dollar sub sectors and 4) to make accessible to everyone the insights of Indonesia's leading tech innovators.

In welcoming Abraham "Bram" Victor, the co founder and CEO of Indonesia's first multi-brand virtual restaurant company Hangry, we are in my mind accomplishing all four goals at once. Bram is best described in my mind as amongst the first crop of Indonesia's true serial entrepreneurs. Unlike Silicon Valley, whose dominance in the tech world began shortly after World War Two, or China's Zhongguancun Park up in Beijing, which came to life in the mid-90's, Indonesia's entrepreneurial tech scene is by most measurements, no more than a decade old. And thus, it is still in a much more formative period. It is early entrepreneurs such as Bram, that I believe are shaping the entrepreneurial experience in Indonesia. And it is thus a pleasure to have you join us today Bram. If you don't mind Bram, let's just take it from the top. Please give us a sense of your background.

BRAM VIKTOR  1:50  
Sure, I would love to. I was born and raised in Indonesia. I was studying in Indonesia from kindergarten all the way through college. And I would say that my experience growing up was probably similar to a lot of other people out there. So I went through National School studying 18 subjects at once, which was a lot, frankly. And then I went to a local university that was owned by the government, and I explored different things. But I think one thing that I realized since I was starting my schooling year was that I probably didn't fit the system, because I studied accounting, as recommended by my Asian parents. And the reason why they recommended me to study accounting is because they told me that there are only two majors that would lead to easiness in finding a job, which is Accounting and Law. So I heard back then that doing finance would earn a lot of money. And that's why I decided to take accounting rather than law, because I thought it would be closer to finance. Alan, becoming someone like you was my dream before I entered college. So that's the mindset I had when I was enrolling in my university years. And I think I remember that starting from the first month in college, I actually already started realizing that probably I had picked the wrong major, because I already struggled in my preliminary accounting studies. And I couldn't really imagine how I would last for four years studying accounting. So, in my college years, I would say that college was my most formative year throughout my academic career. One thing that I realized is that studying in college doesn't represent real life at all, because whatever I studied in college is totally different from what I experienced after I graduated from college. So one thing that I'm grateful I did when I was in college was that I decided to plunge myself into entrepreneurship for the first time. So the story was that I actually struggled a lot in college. My GPA was below three, unfortunately, to the point that I had to lie to my parents every time they asked me about my GPA. And because my GPA was below three, I realized that my chance of getting into good companies was pretty slim. So I tried finding my own path, so that I could succeed in ways that don't require me to have to apply to the typical companies that students would want to apply to after they graduate, like the big four accounting firms, for example. So I tried betting my fortune on some entrepreneurial gist. I remember that I tried doing food business around the eighth semester of my study in college. And that was my first dip into entrepreneurship. I learned a lot, but it ended up in failure. I didn't give up because of that. I started another business after that. And because of this business, I had to graduate college only after five years, and this one also ended up in failure. So I would say that from my childhood, all the way to college, I think in my life was sprinkled with different failures here; failure in an academic sense and also failure in even dipping my toes in entrepreneurship the first two times that I did it. So that's sort of the background that I have. So after the second attempt doing a startup before I graduated from college, I decided that maybe I was not destined to be an entrepreneur, and I decided to finally finish my study in college and started applying for professional jobs.

ALAN  5:02  
So Bram, a lot to unpack there. My first concern is: I assume your parents will listen to this podcast. And have you mentioned to them yet that you got a below 3.0 GPA?

BRAM VIKTOR  5:17  
Thankfully, I managed to somehow turn it back to slightly above 3.0 in the last semester; in the 10th semester to be exact. So I graduated with 3.1 instead of below three, thank God: 

To continue the story that I shared earlier: after I failed for the second time, I finally decided to do my final project in college, which was a thesis. I finally graduated after five years. I think my parents were extremely thankful for that and I decided that I will not ever attempt entrepreneurship again, because after I failed for the second time, I was pretty traumatized. And at that time, my friends were already earning good money working at prestigious companies like McKinsey, BCG and Deutsche Bank; and there I was with $20 in my bank account, and no working experience, no prospect of entering a company at all. But I wanted to make it. So I tried graduating, which I finally did. And I tried applying for jobs. My friend at a consulting firm called BCG offered me an internship there. So I interned in BCG as my first ever professional career. So there I was learning about making slides. I was learning about being professional. I was sharpening my thinking, and being more structured in my communication and whatnot. I think it was one of the best professional experiences ever. I think most of the credits would go to my mentor in BCG at a time. And while I was in BCG, I was still looking for an investment banking job, because what I knew at that time was that investment banking was the highest paying job. So I wanted to go for it. And after interviewing with a lot of companies, it was a very tough journey to get to the investment banking, but thank God, He gave me the opportunity eventually. So I joined Nomura investment bank. That was my first full time job ever. So it wasn't an internship anymore. It was a real full time job that paid very well. So I started investment banking as an analyst around the beginning of 2014. And I remember that when I got the offer letter (and this time, it wasn't rescinded) it felt like liberty for me, that finally I was financially secure. And I started the job. I really enjoyed the first one month there. I would say, I learned a lot working with smart people. Doing live deals was very thrilling. But unfortunately, after the second month, I think I started realizing that I may not fit the job because investment banking is a very rigorous job in terms of detail. And I'm not a detailed person. The only thing I was looking forward to was just a payday, nothing else. So it was around the time when I I think I prayed a lot. I was reflecting a lot. And I realized that maybe I may still be called to be an entrepreneur because even though I failed twice, I actually did fairly well. It didn't materialize into anything, but as a 17 or 18 year-old at that time, I showed some promise that I may be built for it. So it was around that time when I started entertaining the idea of being an entrepreneur again, and in parallel, I was doing a bit of research on what could be worth doing. And somehow when I was in investment banking (I think this was probably God's plan), I was placed a lot on financial services deals. So I did a lot of financial services deals. And that opened my eyes to how the financial service companies operate and also opened my eyes about the lack of financial inclusion in Indonesia. So the seed of doing financial services-related business came to my mind, I think around mid 2014. And I started doing more research about it. I would say most of my effort was on self reflection and praying, just to be sure where God is calling me to go. And it was end of 2014 when I was convicted that I am called to quit Nomura and embark on this new journey as an entrepreneur again, doing financial services. And at that time, FinTech was not a term that was even coined yet, at least in Indonesia. There was no peer-to-peer lending company yet in Indonesia. I think payment was the only FinTech thing that existed in Indonesia at that time. I didn't even think of doing a technology startup at first. I just decided to quit. And back then I wanted to do something in lending. And I was thinking that because Indonesians are very big with their weddings, maybe I should do wedding loans. So that was the idea that I quit my job with actually. And that was at the end of 2014. And in the end, that idea slowly evolved, and became Taralite, which was a peer-to-peer lending company focusing on e-commerce merchants. So that's the story.

ALAN  9:44  
Fascinating, Bram, you definitely did not take the trodden path. You did not become an accountant. You did not become a lawyer. And you mentioned the word failure several times. What drove this entrepreneurial yearning? Was it optimism in your own skills? What are the factors behind being willing to fail time-and-again?

BRAM VIKTOR  10:05  
That's a very good question. I reflected upon this question myself a while ago. And I think the answer to that, I would say is a mix between stupidity and also overwhelming self confidence, I think. So if you understand what I did back then, maybe you wouldn't advise your kids to do what I did. Because my first startup was about making kaya jam. I don't know if you know kaya toast in Singapore and Malaysia. It's present with almost every single traditional breakfast. And I wanted to make that, because I thought that I could make a very good kaya. And there was no one that could make as good a kaya jam as I could. And I wanted to supply the biggest bread manufacturing company in Indonesia with my jam. So that was the idea essentially, for my first startup. And mind you, I was around 17 or 18 years old at that time. I had no work experience ever before. And I didn't even own the recipe. Actually, this was my friend's mom's recipe, and I started experimenting at home with that, and I started cold calling the bread company until they wanted to meet me. And from that point until we got a bit of hope that we could actually work it out, it was eight months of driving to that bread company in an industrial area one hour from Jakarta, meeting with the R&D people there, and trying to pitch our kaya toast idea. And, most of the time, if I had looked back into hindsight, there wasn't any hope that this could ever work out, actually. But somehow I just felt that this could work out at that time, which is, I think, because I was stupid. And same goes with the second startup, actually. The second startup was about an alternative building material called lightweight concrete. Back then it was a thing in Indonesia to produce this thing. So I thought I could dip my toe into it and probably make it big, and I did it not knowing that a lot of players were already there, and not knowing that manufacturing is very, very hard. Managing labor is very, very hard, and not knowing as well that the business would be very capital intensive and would never be able to scale. So to you earlier question. I think there's no other explanation than, I would say, stupidity and also self confidence, I think.

ALAN  12:08  
Now I'm well aware of some of your entrepreneurial journey since: you begin with a breakfast topping, you then move into lightweight building materials. You definitely don't seem to be a conventional thinker. Now, you came on to our radar screen, with your success at Taralite. Can you give us some background to how you ended up with that business plan?

BRAM VIKTOR  12:30  
So, one day after I quit my job at Nomura, I was looking for a place to work. And my friend told me that there's this free co working space in one of the office buildings in central Jakarta. So I actually started working right away on the idea the day after I quit, and at first I didn't know where to start. And as a background, actually, I was already looking for several partners. So I remembered, I reached out to my best friend at that time. Unfortunately, he didn't think the idea was going to work. So he didn't want to be my partner. And then there were a couple of other persons whom I reached out to to be my partner that also turned down my invitation. And in the end, I had to start alone.

ALAN  13:10  
Very interesting. And so that's how you arrived at this awareness to start a FinTech company. Can you tell us more about the early days of Taralite and how it came together?

BRAM VIKTOR  13:21  
When I started, like I mentioned before, it was a wedding financing idea. So the idea was to fund people's weddings. And I didn't even know what the right business model was at that time. And this is not something, I guess, new entrepreneurs should do. So I started wrong. It was by God's grace that I didn't fail. But it was definitely not the ideal start of a startup. The first few weeks were spent understanding more what the customer wanted. And at the same time, I was also looking at the different business models that probably could work for us. So I was looking at the option of just being an aggregator for financial services companies and customers. I was looking at just being a credit scoring company. So these were all the options that I was thinking about. And at the end, I would say that the two turning points would be number one: when I talked to William Tanuwijaya, who ended up becoming my mentor and my angel investor. And the second was when I was speaking to Cyberagent Ventures, who ended up becoming our seed investor. So when I spoke to William, in our first meeting, I remember that he was telling me that the idea that I had seemed to be able to evolve into what Ant Financial was at the time. It was a company that not only did payments, but also lending to Alibaba merchants, because our vision at Taralite back then was to free people from financial worries. So we were looking forward to reaching out to anyone who is underserved, and e-commerce merchants definitely are one of the groups of people who are underserved by the financial institutions. And then when I went to meet with the Cyberagent team in Jakarta, they also gave the same feedback. They thought this was going to evolve to be like Alipay. Back then Ant Financial wasn't Ant Financial yet. It was still Alipay, and Alipay, as we knew at that time, lent to Alibaba merchants. So I think these two people give me conviction that the right business model to pursue is to focus on a group of people, which is ecommerce merchants, and focus on serving them via lending. And since then, we decided to switch completely from the wedding financing idea and focus on ecommerce merchant lending, which is Taralite

ALAN  15:29  
The rest, as they say, is history. Now, Ovo ended up acquiring Taralite. Is that correct?

BRAM VIKTOR  15:35  
That's correct. In 2018, we were talking intensively with the Ovo team. And I remember that, the point at which my partners, the management team of Taralite and I were convicted that it would be the right decision to go with Ovo was when we realized that our mission could be reached faster via the partnership with Ovo. And we believe that Ovo, with all its scale and the depth of customer data it has, would only accelerate Taralite in reaching out to people who are underserved. So that's when we eventually decided to sell to Ovo.

ALAN  16:08  
If we could fast forward to your decision to move on from Taralite: what was behind that decision?

BRAM VIKTOR  16:15  
So when we sold to Ovo, all of us actually, we were thinking of staying in the company for a long time. So none of us had the intention of quitting the company right after. And I remember I was telling the CEO of Ovo, that even if they were to spread my payout over the next 10 years, it would make no difference for me, because I didn't intend on leaving the company at all. My intention was to stay in the company for as long as I could. But when we eventually joined Ovo, there were things that I didn't think about that started coming to my mind. We, for example, moved from a 60-person operation to a 600-person operation in Ovo because our teams were merged. I frankly had never worked in such big companies before. So I remember that the thought of quitting started creeping up to my mind when I realized that my motivation in life, at least at the season, is to be a better entrepreneur and better leader. And I struggled connecting that aspiration with my daily work in Ovo. So I think in Ovo I learned a lot of things. I started thinking and reflecting on whether or not God may be calling me to do something else. So I remember that I started discussion with my wife. I also talked to my mentor, William, as well. And everyone I consulted with was, I would say, quite surprised. And they also tried to give me as objective advice as they can. And that's when I think I started realizing that I think I am called for something else, which is another startup journey. And that decision to quit would cost me my entire payout, because my payout was to be vested over three years, and I had only taken a bit of cash in the beginning. So that would have been a costly decision if I really decided to quit. But I think, at the end, I realized that money doesn't really motivate me. I think being a better entrepreneur, a better leader, is what really motivates me. And that's when I decided that I should quit and start something else. And at that time, I didn't know what to start yet, to be honest.

ALAN  18:09  
That leads me to my next question, which is: how did you go from P2P lending with Taralite to your current startup Hangry, which is a multi-brand virtual restaurant, and clearly in an entirely unrelated area.

BRAM VIKTOR  18:26  
I also find that thing quite fascinating. Like you mentioned before, I think I was wired to be opportunistic since college times. And I would say that that opportunistic behavior was cultivated because I grew up in a family that went through financial crisis before, so I just wanted to make it financially, and that had been the motivation up until, I would say, when I started Taralite. So when I started the first two ventures that I did that didn't work out, the motivation was because I saw the opportunity and I thought it could be big. And same with Taralite. I would say that the difference is that there was another realization that my personal calling is to be an entrepreneur at that time. But why I chose to do financial services was because I saw the opportunity. So that's why I did it. I would say that after that, when I quit Ovo to do my next thing, I was brainstorming, and a lot of ideas, still with the same framework. So I was looking for things that can be big. So I was looking at social commerce, I was looking at logistics, I was looking at cloud kitchens-as-a-service. So I was looking at all sorts of things. But there was one thing that had been missing from my framework. And that thing, I think, is something that I only realized when I was on my "baby-moon" trip with my wife. And that thing is called the "founder fit to the idea." So one thing that was definitely there when I was doing Taralite, was that I had seen the opportunity, but I don't think there was a strong founder fit between Bram and the idea. So, when I was realizing that eventually, I tried to look for ideas where I could have a fit. So the question is, what are the industries or the products that I am particularly passionate about? And it happens that I am a foodie. I love food so much. I know how to cook a bit, but I definitely know how to differentiate a winning product and not. And it just happens that F&B is an industry where there's almost no limit. So you see companies that make around $20 billion in revenue per year, like McDonald's. You also see companies that are also very small. So number one, it has the founder fit. And number two, it also has a very large market with no ceiling. So that's when I was convinced that I should definitely do food. And I would say that my conviction was reaffirmed again, when I met with William. So I shared with William my idea. And I remember him laughing and telling me that "finally, you discovered what you're truly called to do." So I guess my mentor knows me well enough to say that.

ALAN  20:51  
And so Bram, what have been the common struggles you've faced in starting companies such as Taralite, and more recently, Hangry?

BRAM VIKTOR  21:00  
I would say that the struggles are different from what I faced at Taralite compared to what I faced at Hangry. If I were to find a common trait, or common struggles between the two, I think number one, it would be finding product-market fit. That's number one. I think finding product market fit is very, very hard, because every entrepreneur is biased, right? We think our product is good, and we project ourselves to customers. So products that to us are good or assumed to be good to customers too, whereas they may not be. And unfortunately, a lot of people will fall into this trap of believing that their product has product-market fit when it doesn't, especially when the founder managed to raise a lot of money to sustain the company's life for a while. So for us back then at Taralite, I didn't know what product fit the customer, and I explored a lot of things, from wedding financing all the way to car financing before eventually, we discovered that people need merchant lending for e-commerce. And for Hangry it was the same. We were thinking of various kinds of products, from Indonesian fried chicken all the way to Japanese beef bowl. But the journey of finding product-market fit is always a challenge. I would say it is the most important challenge to tackle. I would say the second common challenge is finding the right partners or people. This is the single hardest part, I would say harder than finding product-market fit, because it's hard to find people that have the same vision and have the same values.

ALAN  22:23  
Continuing that line of questioning, as you build your organizations, what remains the trickiest part of the company to hire for?

BRAM VIKTOR  22:31  
I would say that the single biggest challenge in hiring is hiring the leadership team, because if you look at the makeup of company culture, typically culture at the genesis of companies is started by the founders. So the group of cofounders would determine the company culture. And then as the company grows, I would say that the second most influential group of people that determine the company's culture are the leaders, because the leaders would end up recruiting people that have the same values as them. So for us, because we have high expectations, and we have big ambitions, and we have to hire fast; the challenge became how to hire people who are very capable, who are hardworking, very, very tough, excellent and customer-obsessed, but at the same time have the same DNA as us. So that's the single biggest challenge, I would say.

ALAN  23:22  
Now, Bram, you've shared some absolutely fascinating anecdotes around your relationship with William, the Founder of Tokopedia. What have you found to be the biggest value-add in working with another major constituent, which is the venture capital firms? What value add have they brought to you? 

BRAM VIKTOR  23:40  
Hmm. If I were to mention the two biggest value adds that the VCs have been adding, at least in my experience, to me and the founding team, is number one, good VCs always give us a slap to our right and left cheeks to wake us up when we're not looking at things right. So for example, I've had a lot of conversations with Eko from Alpha, where Eko would challenge our thinking on how we look at the business. And every single entrepreneur and cofounding team would fall under the trap of being too focused in doing the day-to-day work, and missing the helicopter view of things. And VCs have the privilege of looking at things from the helicopter point of view. And I think good VCs always wake the founders up to make sure that they always see the truth. So we really enjoyed being challenged by Eko in the past, I would say, six months. And also we've had numerous conversations with the Surge team, where they would challenge us on, let's say, our unit economics. From their point of view, growth becomes everything. Profitable growth is the way to go. And not only did they make us realize that, they also started offering the different options that we could explore that could lead us to that point. So I think number one, good VCs always point the founders to the truth, because the founders may not see the truth. The second thing is, I think good VCs also empathize, I think. So this is the difference between VCs that are purely capitalistic, literally seeing entrepreneurs as numbers and in a transactional way, and VCs that are seeking to become partners. The truth is that being an entrepreneur is very hard. I'm not being a crybaby here, but to be honest, it's very hard. And most of the days, we don't know what to do. And we have deadlocks here-and-there. And we're figuring things out along the way as we do it. And if, let's say, every VC that we partner up with, only treat us well, when our numbers show well, and treat us as no one when the numbers don't show up, it is not so nice to be in such an inauthentic relationship. So I think good VCs also are the group of people who would be there when we're not doing so well, and empathizing with the struggle that we have.

ALAN  25:47  
Bram, tell us a little more about Hangry and where it is right now and where you hope it to be.

BRAM VIKTOR  25:52  
Hangry was started with an aspiration, that people would one day enjoy Hangry's brands all over the world on a daily basis. So we've seen F&B brands that managed to reach such magnitude globally; the likes of McDonald's, Starbucks and all these brands that were founded in the 1920s and the 1950s. I think generations have changed. And I'm representing my generation. We are the generation that demands a lot in life. We want excellencies in everything. We want excellent food, excellent products, excellent service. And we want brands that we can relate to. And we believe that we can come up with such brands and go global, to the point that people can eventually enjoy our food and beverage wherever they go. And that's why our mission is to be a part of people's daily lives. And we foresee that the word "people" in this mission statement would be global citizens in general. So that's our aspiration. We are starting small. We're starting with multiple brands doing delivery-only service in Indonesia. Our foods are the typical foods that people would eat every day. And we expect to start going overseas starting from 2022 onwards.

ALAN  27:05  
Moving on to something else, Bram, what are the biggest stresses that COVID-19 has brought to your business?

BRAM VIKTOR  27:12  
Based on our intelligence, it seems like the F&B market as a whole in Indonesia has shrunk. So the market just doesn't spend as much money on food as it used to be for COVID. And of course, this has to do with the fact that a lot of disposable income is reduced. Businesses are not doing as well as before. A lot of people are laid off. People are taking salary cuts, so people don't have as much money as they used to. And for us, we are still growing. But we couldn't help but thinking how much faster we would grow, if there was no COVID. For us, COVID is definitely not a pleasant surprise, especially as we have a lot of kitchen operations that are offline that can never be taken to cloud. A few of the things that we had to implement abruptly was work-from-home. And that means we have to do a lot of things that we previously used to do offline, online. For example, we had been recruiting a lot of kitchen staff for our outlets that we had to recruit offline, and we had to train them offline as well. And then we had been doing our onboarding for new kitchen staff hires offline by doing classroom training, and then doing kitchen simulations, and all sorts of things that have to be done on-premise. And we had to shift most of those online as fast as we can at that time. I would say that it's both a blessing and a curse. The curse is that we were shocked in the first few weeks because we were forced to do it. But looking back, I think we've adapted as a company. I think our team deserves all the credit for that, how now, maybe 90% of the recruiting process and the onboarding process could be done online. And that's something that we never thought we would be able to do before. But I think COVID has presented challenges to some of our team members mentally as well. Some people just feel lonely and I think most people really miss working in the office. So, we were forced to try doing different things to make sure that the team would be refreshed, still enjoyed their work, and people would still be working with the same motivation as before. So we launched different things such as Weekly Business Reviews, where a lot of people could meet, and we tried to do huddles every day. These were things that we used to do in passing back then. But now we are more disciplined in doing it because we realized that people need to meet other people. And when they see that everyone else is pumped up about the company, then they would get motivated to work.

ALAN  29:37  
Bram, I spent much of my career supporting internet and ecommerce companies in Greater China. And there seems to have been a common pattern shared by China many years ago, and by most of Southeast Asian markets these days. Many of the first entrepreneurs are returnees from overseas study. Now individuals such as yourself and one of your more influential mentors, William Tanuwijaya at Tokopedia, are what you might call "100% homegrown." How do you expect the face of Indonesian entrepreneurship to evolve over the next several years?

BRAM VIKTOR  30:08  
I think entrepreneurs create entrepreneurs. That's what my mentor told me. And I think, at least from our relationship, I can see that happening. I think he is my most influential mentor until now. And I see that, maybe in the future, all these tech companies that we see today, including Hangry, will give birth to many more entrepreneurs. I think. So, actually, if we look at the composition of people working at Hangry, maybe 99% are people who have been educated in Indonesia: homegrown. And because I think statistically, there are more people who are educated in the Indonesian educational system than people who are privileged enough to study abroad. So I think in the future, there will be more and more entrepreneurs who are homegrown.

ALAN  30:53  
So Bram, as you build your company today, what is the one factor that is most lacking in the ecosystem in your mind?

BRAM VIKTOR  30:59  
In my mind, maybe one thing that is lacking, if I were to compare where we are in Indonesia with Silicon Valley, is how we treat failure. I've met a couple of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that failed. A couple of them became YC partners, and then a couple of them decided to start other companies. I think they treated failure with respect and admiration. And that's something that is fascinating to me. Because where I am today, I think if I looked at the people around me, I think failure is still not appreciated as much here. I think the ecosystem in Indonesia is one where success is highly celebrated. And failure is looked down upon, which is pretty sad, because that means 99% of entrepreneurs that decide to embark on a startup journey will probably not be treated so well when they fail...and 99% of people will fail. And the truth is, there's a very fine line between failure and success. And oftentimes, it's just luck. And that's why I think if, let's say I were to hope one thing to change, I would hope that our ecosystem would treat failures with more friendliness and respect and admiration, as opposed to looking down on these failures.

ALAN  32:10  
Wow, very interesting thought there. What is the most important piece of advice you would share with an aspiring entrepreneur?

BRAM VIKTOR  32:17  
Maybe I'll answer, instead of one, I'll answer with two. I would say that the number one most important advice would be that product-market fit, or customer love, is everything. A lot of entrepreneurs that I've met have big aspirations. They have big dreams, big ambitions. They also have fascinating business models in their mind. But a lot of people will not think of the customer enough. And the most successful businesses in this world are the ones that are obsessed about the customer. We can think of Amazon right away when I said that, because Amazon is the living testimony of how customer obsession brings success. I would say that that's the first thing. The second thing is something that William told me, and he told me that we just have to focus on doing the right thing. It may seem trivial, but it's actually pretty complex to practice everyday consistently. One example that I would pick is how a lot of founders would decide to allocate maybe 10 to 15% of their company as ESOP, which is the common practice. But if the principle is: we have to share upside, to give credit to those who actually put in effort, then I think 10 to 15% of a company as an ESOP pool seems pretty small in my opinion. What William told me is that I know, deep in my heart, that this company is not for me. This company is what God has entrusted me with, for our customers and for our employees, and also for our shareholders too. We should definitely be as generous as we can with our ESOP. So I think that's something that for me is one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received, which is to always do the right thing, even when it's unconventional.

ALAN  33:56  
Great advice, and great to hear your broader story, Bram. really enlightening and inspiring. We look forward to following your trailblazing work as one of the country's first serial entrepreneurs. This concludes our 11th instalment of Indo Tekno, thanks so much for joining us today Bram. 

BRAM VIKTOR  34:12  
My pleasure. Thank you so much for inviting me here, Alan.

ALAN  34:15  
The podcast was translated from English to Bahasa Indonesia by Alpha JWC Ventures. Terima kasih untuk mendengarkan. Sampai jumpa lagi!

Transcribed by https://otter.ai
 

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