Brendan is helping connect businesses through his venture, Qontak which boasts the largest verified contact database in Asia.
What’s your story?
I recently moved back to Asia and founded Qontak.com. Qontak is a VC backed platform which helps sales and marketing teams accelerate growth by providing the most accurate and actionable B2B contact and company information across SE Asia. Our VCs include Indonusa Dwitama, the first investor behind Tokopedia and angel investors from the Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN).
Prior to this I was in the United States where I studied Economics at Columbia University in the City of New York.
What excites you most about your industry?
The biggest thing that excites me is the huge problem that we’re trying to solve – that of intransparency in data which hampers connectivity.
The fundamental problem that sales professionals are facing is not only trying to reach the right person in SE Asia, but also timing the sale so that it meets a need, when it is needed. While solutions to find people exist, such as LinkedIn, creating a recurring system where you can build your own contact and business database with easy, flexible and systematically timed, follow up communication is what Qontak enables.
Similarly, for marketers and researchers, targeted campaigns or product / service launches where a number of specific professionals need to be invited is another problem. How do we host targeted and successful events or get the word out about promotions and discounts? How do we find professionals and companies who could potentially benefit our own business? Or simply, how do we grow our own professional network instantaneously without having to “add” connections?
What’s your connection to Asia?
I grew up in Jakarta and attended middle and high school there and now have come to call it my home.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore and Jakarta are my favorite cities for business at the moment. Singapore because of its efficiency and legal clarity and Indonesia because of the larger market and travel destinations.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I don’t think I’ve received any one single advice that stands out to me. But a couple that stand out are:
1) “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”
2) “Reject the tyranny of being picked: pick yourself.” Seth Godin
Who inspires you?
I would say that my father inspires me a lot. He’s the type of person that has been disciplined his whole life in every aspect. From eating healthy each day, to exercising each day, to perfecting his craft and hobbies each day, to persevering in the face of obstacles.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Recently, the rise of artificial intelligence has just blown me away because it makes me believe that most common jobs will eventually be replaced by machines. As technology grows at an exponential rate and open AI is coming for everyone, it makes me believe that our future, in the next 20 to 30 years will be vastly different than the world we know now.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
While there are things that I would have wanted to avoid, I am not sure how I would do things differently. I think everything happens for a reason.
How do you unwind?
I like to unwind on a work day by lazing on the couch with the TV on.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Koh Tao, Thailand – beautiful diving, great people and amazing ambiance.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Autobiography of a Yogi (not related to business but definitely interesting). This is the only book Steve Jobs had in his iPad and on the last gathering held before his death for close friends, he gave this book as a gift to everyone.
Shameless plug for your business:
Qontak helps sales and marketing teams accelerate growth by providing the most accurate and actionable B2B contact and company information. We are the first largest verified contact database in Asia.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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