Interview with Nicholas Hung: Helping Asian companies grow



On the Entrance Series this week, we had the pleasure of chatting with Nicholas. Nicholas has built out a career in Finance and is currently focused on providing capital to companies around Asia to help them grow. His story is true evidence of how being connected to the right people can help you achieve goals that would otherwise be inaccessible, let’s hear his story and how networking has benefitted him!


OpenDoors: What’s your story?

Nicholas: I spent my time building robots and playing with circuit boards at University where I studied Electronic and Computer Engineering. Like many of my classmates, I also took on a few internships in the industry but it didn’t take me long to realize that it wasn’t for me.

Compared to a career in Engineering, the idea of working in Finance appealed to me for simple reasons. I heard that the industry generally pays pretty well, you get work in nice offices and many of my friends who studied Finance were telling me all about the great time they had from their internships.

I quickly switched direction and was lucky to have landed multiple internships that gave me a good idea of how each part of a bank functions. I worked in both back and front office to help out on operations and M&A deals but I actually found my passion outside of traditional banks.

Not many people know this but I actually co-founded a project at University, it was a website that helps people discover discounts from restaurants around them and it was another learning experience! Currently, I am working in the Corporate Finance team of a listed Marketing Tech company where I get to build a career in Finance and leverage my entrepreneurial experience.


 

OpenDoors: Tell us more about your current role!

Nicholas: I now spend most of my time looking for early-stage companies in Southeast Asia. My role involves providing capital to those companies to help them grow and reach their milestones faster. We provide investments based on a company’s revenue and have invested in over 45 companies in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

I find these companies by building relationships with VC investors and the startup communities in the region and work with them to understand which companies would benefit from our offering. Once those opportunities are identified, I would conduct due diligence and my attention would be focused on closing those deals.

OpenDoors: What are your aspirations for the role?

Nicholas: From the very beginning, I strive to become a person who can add value to the startup community. I believe that we complement the traditional Venture Capital industry as a typical VC investment usually takes over a month to close but we can execute much faster than that as we usually don’t take a stake in the companies we provide capital to. This is especially important in times such as the pandemic where sudden lockdowns can put a company into a tough situation where they face a low reserve on cash.

This provides an additional option for founders and VC investors are also seeing our value as we help their investments grow faster. To answer your question, I aspire to develop a strong network within the startup community in Southeast Asia and help great companies realize their potential.


 

OpenDoors: You mentioned building a network. Can you share why it is important and what role has it played in your career so far?

Nicholas: I can’t emphasize how important it is to develop a professional network. Great relationships give you access to great opportunities that are often kept within a small circle and I have too many stories to support that.

I studied at a middle school where we have a very close-knit community. Everyone is very willing to help each other and its impact carries through to this day. When I was trying to make my way into the Finance industry, I had seniors at school who were working in banks. They generously prepared me for the interview process and played a key role in eventually landing the internships mentioned.

When I graduated, I discovered that I went to the same school as the founder of my current company through a networking event and even managed to get his number. I called him up right away the next day to ask for a job directly and though he didn’t hand it to me right away, I was given the opportunity to interview there.

OpenDoors: What are some tips for building a professional network?

Nicholas: Getting yourself in front of people is the first step, if you are not meeting enough people then you are not building a network. The next step is then about establishing trust and demonstrating the value you can add to the other person. I tend to focus on how I can help out a person whenever I meet someone new and I believe that help will eventually be reciprocated.


 

Get in touch with Nicholas: He is looking to connect with:


  • Headhunters - He is constantly hiring for his team as well as for his investments. Get in touch if you are a headhunter in the Finance or Tech industry!

  • Lawyers and Accountants - If you are a lawyer or an accountant that works with promising companies in Asia, Nicholas would like to meet with you and help your clients grow faster!

LinkedIn


 

Want to be featured or got a particular field/ industry that you’d like to learn about? Let us know: hello@opendoors.club

Keep in touch with us on LinkedIn and Instagram for more stories.

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