Our seed funding: The day after

  • Doesn’t hurt to wear your passion on your sleeves
  • Trust predicted to be key currency for the digital world

Our seed funding: The day afterIT is strange, this feeling of not being excited when I should be. Covering the tech ecosystem in South-East Asia, starting with Malaysia and Singapore, since our launch in May 2012, I know well how tough it is for entrepreneurs to convince investors of the validity of their idea and gain their confidence in their capability to assemble a team to execute.
 
So having succeeded in selling the vision of Digital News Asia (DNA) and its value to IdeaRiverRun (IRR), which has invested US$300,000 (RM1 million) in us, I should be elated, overjoyed, or at least, relieved.
 
Instead, I find myself even more focused on the steps that come next. They are broadly outlined in our press release and I don’t want to dwell on them now.
 
But definitely, we will map out where we want to be by the end of 2015, and to work backwards on the resources and strategies we need, and the capabilities we need to invest in – and to start looking for that next crucial investment round, with a higher valuation.
 
For truly, this entrepreneurship journey is tough! As I told one mainstream newspaper editor, “Congratulate me when we have raised the next round and established ourselves as the most credible tech media in Singapore and Indonesia too.”
 
As a media company focusing on high-quality content created by journalists, our success rests on the quality of people we bring in to join Team DNA.
 
This people part is the hardest, and conversely, the easiest part of the equation. Easy because anyone we bring in must buy into the vision of DNA and want to be part of the team that helps build the most credible tech media in South-East Asia.
 
Being a small team of five, with four editors, all of whom are going to become shareholders if they aren’t already, plus me as ‘Chief Everything Officer,’ we cannot afford to bring on board someone who just wants to work for a salary.
 
Because what we do is hard work. But hard work becomes fun when you enjoy what you do. And, you enjoy what you do when you have a goal greater than any financial interest at heart.
 
Graft this sense of purpose (the goal) with desire, and you have passion. At least, this is my personal equation of what constitutes passion. And while passion is considered a given in entrepreneurs, I have learnt that it does not hurt to wear your passion on your sleeve.
 
In one of my chats with Vincent Lee, the founder of IRR, while he was not happy with the high valuation he felt DNA was asking for, he said this under his breath, “But my people like you guys because you are very passionate.”
 
How much this played a role in his decision to invest in DNA, I am not sure, but I am sure it did us no harm.
 
What also did us no harm, and in fact was crucial to DNA’s identity, is the vision that was set back in the planning days of DNA at end-2011.
 
Today, with trust predicted to be the key currency for the digital world, our almost quaint vision for a digital media company in an era of aggressive advertisers, looks like it could be our ultimate differentiator to readers and the tech ecosystem in South-East Asia.
 
It’s going to be a fun 12 months ahead of us. Thank you, dear readers for your support. Keep reading, sharing and commenting on the stories we bring you, and look out for the changes.
 
Related Stories:
 
DNA raises RM1mil in seed funding from IdeaRiverRun
 
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New digital magazine The Edge Review seeks to fill void

 

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