GLOBIS MBA Alum Wilson Chan recently competed in the Slush Tokyo 2018 Pitch Contest, becoming a finalist and winning the PR Times Prize for his company BuyandShip. We caught up with him to find out his winning formula.
1. What have you been doing since you left GLOBIS?
I have had several pivots during my time after GLOBIS. I started with a private equity firm in Japan, working in the internal deal team trying to help globalize our portfolio while adding value from both sourcing and corporate governance on a global scale. After this, I was given an opportunity to become a partner with a Pan-Asia focused management consulting firm from Japan that was setting up their office in Hong Kong. There I was working with both multi-nationals and regional firms to help the cross-border development of their platforms. At the time, I was also focused on the development of startups in around Hong Kong, becoming actively engaged in the local startup scene and collaborating with them to launch products and services faster across the region.
In that space, I was then lucky enough to be provided an opportunity to take over as the CEO of Buyandship, a startup which we had been previously supporting for the last two years. Through funding and governance, we were able to launch the company from the regional leader into one of the largest cross-border e-commerce logistics providers in Asia, now in seven countries and counting. We successfully raised US$2.3 million in our first round, and are now positioned to take Asia on full force.
2. You had a successful sales pitch at Slush Tokyo. Please pitch your company in two sentences.
Buyandship is enabling cross-border e-commerce, where now you can buy from all over the world and get it to your doorstep at a reasonable price and time. Geographical monopolies should not exist in the current digital world, and e-commerce especially should not be limited by historical costs, so we at buyandship have created an infrastructure that allows fluid movement across borders.
3. How did your GLOBIS experience help you with your pitch at Slush Tokyo?
Business Presentation was a class in particular that I would say had the most direct impact on the pitch: knowing both the storyline and the audience to whom you are pitching. Preparing ahead of time and knowing the frame of mind of the listener, and then articulating a presentation that resonates with the audience will gain the best results. When we enter into any pitch contest or business development meeting, we are always aware of what we want to accomplish with the presentation. After that, we just need to keep it simple and to the point.
4. Any advice for GLOBIS alumni who are thinking about working in your field?
Having experience and exposure is the most important, other than having a goal or long-term vision. My goal in the beginning was clear and I defined what I wanted to accomplish in general milestones. As each opportunity presents itself, I check against my milestones to see if they fit my direction. It is not easy to jump into your goals at first, so I always make sure to double check if I am going in the right direction. If it is right, you must try with 100% of your efforts; otherwise, it will only end in regret.
Once you know you like it, be it startup or corporates, gain as much insight from peers, mentors and friends to make up the gap as quickly as possible. Be there in the environment, in the gemba. You must gain exposure first-hand to determine if it is right for you. Looking from afar, everything looks easy, and information is abundant, but being there will reveal the intricacies of the problems. Talk is cheap, results are real.