How many companies have you started? We’re willing to bet that it isn’t as many as Edmund Ng, CEO at Singapore’s Doxa. “This is my fifth startup,” he told TechFinitive. What grabbed him this time, we wondered? “I’m a problem solver by nature and saw the penetration opportunities.”
He’s also someone worth listening to, helping one startup grow from zero to $20 million Singapore dollars (roughly $15 million US dollars) within two years.
With over 20 years of experience in software, financial technology (FinTech) and the supply chain, one thing drives him on: passion. He is on a mission to build the best trade ecosystem with procurement at its core.
On top of being a passionate advocate for digitalisation, he is also a mentor at Tribe, advising and sharing with other startups. Here’s what he had to say to us about his latest startup and his journey so far.
What’s your elevator pitch?
Doxa Holdings International (“Doxa”) is a fintech startup helping connect and digitalise the workflow of buyers, suppliers and financiers seamlessly through our best-in-class enterprise platform, Doxa Connex.
By creating a single source of truth within a secure system architecture, it enables data authenticity, and data analytics and helps buyers to trade seamlessly. It also helps financiers to assess and qualify financing.
Doxa has built deep and significant partnerships with financial institutions and government agencies, one of which is the Green Trade Financing pilot under the SGTraDex initiative, apart from being integrated with various Embedded Financial Services within the platform.
What problem are you trying to solve with Doxa?
The origination of procurement data in the market has somehow been diluted. Instead of digitising, we digitalise. This will increase the authenticity of data that helps to reduce the risk in trade finance and eventually lower the cost of funds — or even allow more capital to be injected for finance.
And it’s proven a good fit for the market: we already partner with banks, large corporations and government bodies.
Who are your main competitors and what distinguishes your startup from them?
In the current market, we don’t see a platform procurement workflow like ours. But we do have quite a few indirect competitions.
Our value proposition is the data. Most of the procurement systems just handle the purchasing of goods. We do more than that and the platform could extend to downstream suppliers, whereas the rest are only focused on tier one suppliers.
Doxa Connex is a true B2B procurements ecosystem that connects buyers, sellers and financing institutions. And we have a centralised yet decentralised model. Only the direct counterparties can see the data and not the downstream.
Doxa Connex has passed through several security certifications, including ISO 20000 and ISO 270000. Recently it has also been validated by AWS as a Qualified Partner Software, enabling us to be part of the AWS marketplace.
What lessons have you learned?
Don’t go too fast. You need to ensure the pace is manageable for the whole team. You also need to think about teamwork: you can’t work alone. Leading people to lead is more important than leading yourself.
Then there’s finance and cash flow. When your money is restricted, you must put it in the right buckets. And in terms of products, if you have many things to do, make sure you prioritise them.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time? And what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
To myself: startups require a marathon runner, not a sprinter.
To others, I have many things to share. Let me try to put some important pointers I have. Don’t overwork yourself, take care of your body. A strong mind comes from a strong body. Without a strong mind, it is tough to make good decisions. The moment you start the startup journey, you start to fight in the market. It’s about survival.
And don’t fight alone: you need to have a Co-Founder or Co-Founders. They will help you to cover your blind spots.
Where do you hope your startup will be in ten years?
An app that is a must-have for all businesses. Realising the vision of every business will benefit from connecting with everyone else.
What would you say to potential investors reading this interview?
We are completing our Series A now and I believe it is a good year for us. We are streamlining and better managed than before, and we’re getting to see the teamwork, especially across departments, turn prospects into clients. It’s encouraging and exciting.
Read more in our TakeOff interview series
Our thanks to Edmund for taking the time to talk to us. For more in our TakeOff series of interviews with startup founders, click on the links below:
- Jonathan Newar, Captain Experiences: “My advice to entrepreneurs is to stick with it and double your timelines”
- Rachel Corn, GoPowerEV: “A significant contributor to climate change is fossil fuels, and one of the best solutions is electric vehicles”
- Radek Jezbera, Kilde: “You need to deliver a solution that’s ten times more effective than what’s currently on offer”
- Taha Zemmouri, Eden AI: “It’s very difficult to project that far ahead in an AI world where developments occur in weeks, not years”
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