Meet Chua Khai Lin, co-founder and CFO of Fundnel, a private investment platform which she co-founde
Having been a mentee in one of YWLC’s mentorship cycles before and shared at YWLC’S Women in Tech panel, we sat down with her to find out more about her work and interests.
Tell us about your journey so far!
I was in banking before I started Fundnel with my co-founder Kelvin. We saw an opportunity to leverage on technology to create a platform that connects investors to companies who are fundraising in the private capital market space, thereby making the entire process more efficient and transparent.
What is a typical day like for you?
It’s hard to say what a typical day looks like because every day at Fundnel is different. I tend to focus my time on budgeting, product management and dealing with legal and regulatory matters for Fundnel.
What are you busy with now?
I’ve busied myself these last two weeks, with setting up the Fundnel office in Australia and dealing with the necessary regulations and licensing requirements.
What drives you in life?
I’m often driven by my thirst to explore what I like in terms of a career, and making sure I enjoy it. The learning process is also important and the challenge of building a team from just my co-founder and I to a team of 30 has been extremely satisfying.
Do you think a woman can have it all and what are your thoughts on feminism?
I think it’s impossible for anyone ‘to have it all’, and I don’t subscribe to that perspective either. This question is often related to feminism, and I don’t believe they are the same things. All humans should be given the opportunity to achieve anything they want, regardless of gender. That what feminism is to me, it’s common sense, it’s humanism.
What is your leadership style?
Different individuals adopt different styles - my co-founder Kelvin is great at inspiring people, and I’m better at leading by example. There are different ways of leading, and I think leaders just need to get comfortable with their own style. While at JP Morgan, my team was awesome in that the seniors spent plenty of time cultivating the juniors (myself included), and I’ve undoubtedly benefitted from their time and patience, so now being on the other side of the table, I’ve made a firm commitment to giving back the same way my seniors groomed me.
One thing I’ve learnt in setting up Fundnel is how to part ways with people who have joined you amicably. It takes a lot of maturity and sensibility for a leader to do this.
How should one approach mentorship?
One has to be thick skinned! Do not be afraid to reach out, the worst that they can do is ignore you. I also believe that mentorship should be unstructured. It involves spending time to build the relationship, and it can be as casual as asking a mentor out for coffee.
When I first started Fundnel, I received the help of many senior individuals who mentored me and gave me good advice. One of the best advice I received is this: “It is not what decision you make, but what you make of the decision” - don’t waste time doubting the decision you make because you will still make the same decision in a few days or weeks. I used to over think and this piece of advice really helped me prioritize how I should approach a problem, as well as helped me learn more quickly from my mistakes.
Is there a cause that you are passionate about?
I am passionate about many causes. Few years ago, I started a campaign called Just Drink Water with Su Yi (Membership Director of YWLC) where we encouraged people to drink water instead of pricier beverages, and donate their savings to charity.
Since 2010, I have also been actively involved with Tethys Research Institute which is a non-profit research organisation supporting marine conservation through science and public awareness with a focus on whales and dolphins.