A bright spark

Subang Jaya 20 June 2017, Interview Victor Chua For Next Gen at One City Mall — Asyraf Rasid / the sun
Subang Jaya 20 June 2017, Interview Victor Chua For Next Gen at One City Mall — Asyraf Rasid / the sun

TO those who have trouble in mathematics or finance, Victor Chua has tips on how to be good at it. With Additional Mathematics being his favourite subject in school, he said it is all about the perspective in solving the questions.

To him, the subject was slightly more advanced than Modern Maths; making it more interesting. He claims it is not easy to learn the subject, but he practised enough to figure out how to handle the questions.

"It's not only about how good you are at Maths or not. It is about how you reconstruct the method to the way you can personally understand it," he said.

No prizes for guessing that the Maths genius and his undeniable love for numbers graduated with a degree in Actuarial Science. He began his career with an American consulting company, now known as Willis Towers Watson, providing solutions to consumers on how to manage risks and how to invest their assets in equity, pawns, private assets, infrastructure, and more.

He was with the company for three years until he moved to Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP), an investment company armed under the Ministry of Finance. The company was the investor for Gobi Partners and Chua was the first Malaysian to help them launch their franchise and funds in Malaysia.

Chua said being at the right place, during the right time and doing the right thing got him into Gobi Partners. He has been with the company for two years and earlier this year, the vice president of Gobi Partners was listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia.

How does it feel being in such a prestigious list?

It actually came by surprise because there are so many people in Asia, and to be part of this is quite surreal and thrilling. I was speaking at an event when I heard about it. Everyone came up to me and started congratulating me although I didn't know what was going on at first.

It is fun and satisfying to know that whatever I have done so far is acknowledged because I wasn't doing this for myself, I was doing it for the people who have trusted me with their time and companies.

What is the most unique start-up you have funded?

I like most of my start-ups. Unfortunately, if I had to choose, it is one from Malaysia called Off Peak.

The app allows you to look for the closest restaurants around you that are offering discounts during peak hours, and you can make a reservation through it.

On the F&B end, they also help to allocate resources as well. Sometimes, restaurants get too busy and the food quality drops due to that, so they move the crowd away during peak hours by offering better discounts at another time. It's what we call a yield management tool for restaurants.

They have over 1,400 restaurants with them right now and a couple across Southeast Asia. What's interesting about this company is that they are kind of like a solution that leads to a lot more services that can be plugged into the restaurants.

What makes a start-up?

I think regardless of what you do, you want to be able to build something that is sustainable. So if you are into business, focus on building your business fundamentals – how you can generate money and how to generate revenue.

There is always a misconception that building a start-up is cool and glamorous but in reality, it is more than that. It is hard, you have to struggle every day – day in, day out to make sure your company lasts long enough because it is not just for yourself, you are working with a team of people who have been supporting you from the start. So it is very important for young people to focus on the right elements in your business.

Do you work better in a team or alone?

I prefer to work as a team but it depends on the task. The satisfaction when achieving something as a team is way better than working on my own.

At the end of the day, achieving something on my own, no one can empathise my feelings. Although as a team, they would feel my joy.

It's all about sharing the thrill and experience with them rather than winning. Even if we fail, we fail as a team and that's okay because we did the best we could to be where we are.