Matt Ong Podcast Transcript

Matt Ong Podcast TranscriptListen to episode here

Matt Ong: [00:00:00] I'm not even sure if this is possible, like, from a technology perspective, from a regulatory perspective, like, is this going to work? Like, I'm, I'm not, I'm not sure. Three years ago, when we first started working on this as a concept, the technology wasn't there. You know, we were able to take the structure that we'd worked on at the big banks and combine that with, with new tech to really create something that is really different and...

Matt Ong: really helps to solve that problem. We're the first to ever tokenize a house in the UK, like that is something that will stick with us forever. You know, a company that's ultimately going to get to a unicorn status, and I think that's quite overwhelming.

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to the BAE HQ, where we inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asians. Smash that subscribe button if you watch us on YouTube, and give us a five star review if you're listening on Apple or Spotify. Today we have with us Matt Ong, who's the founder and CEO of Control org.

Amardeep Parmar: They're an easy way to invest in alternative assets. How are you doing today? 

Matt Ong: Yeah, really well, thank you. Excited to be on the, on the podcast. 

Amardeep Parmar: So people watching this right now might be a little bit [00:01:00] confused. And when I met you myself, I didn't quite realize it either, right? Because obviously this is a British Asian podcast and you've got Asian heritage, but you've had this interesting dynamic you were talking about before where people sometimes don't realize that.

Amardeep Parmar: Can you tell us a bit about that?

Matt Ong: Yeah, sure. I think, um, it's something that's, I've kind of had to deal with my whole life, but yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm half Chinese, half English slash Irish. So I might not look like the obvious candidate for, um, a British Asian entrepreneur podcast or events, but yeah, I mean, even, even coming to, to the launch event with you guys, um, it's something that I've.

Matt Ong: been quite self conscious about, you know, are people going to turn up at the event and think, who's this guy? He doesn't, he doesn't look like he's a British Asian entrepreneur at all. And so, yeah, I think it's just something that I've battled with in terms of like cultural identity for, for most of my life.

Matt Ong: And it's probably only really now where I'm, I guess, more comfortable to try and embrace both sides of that. And be [00:02:00] comfortable in that, I think, you know, as you probably know, and have experienced growing up in, you know, in the UK, um, you often find yourself gravitating more towards trying to fit into cultural norms.

Matt Ong: And so I think I found that a lot of the time I naturally gravitated that way and I could kind of go that way as well because I, I looked at that certain way, but there was definitely, I guess, a part of me missing like a big part of my culture that I was kind of putting to one side and ignoring. So, you know, certainly as I've, as I've gotten a little bit older, it's a, it's a part of me that I want to embrace a little bit more.

Matt Ong: And, and yeah, that's why kind of coming on here and coming to your events and trying to get involved is, is, is high on my priority list. 

Amardeep Parmar: And you mentioned before as well, how when you went to university as well, where you almost felt like you couldn't go to those events, even though they said it is a part of your culture growing up.

Amardeep Parmar: And you said your dad is like variation stuff still. So you still have that family background of knowing the cultural norms and everything there, but you felt like you couldn't express that outside of the home. 

Matt Ong: Yeah. I  think it's quite easy to, you know, see [00:03:00] one person, but behind the scenes, not really understand.

Matt Ong: The true story, I had quite an Asian upbringing, you know, there was no roast dinner complete without rice. It was like that kind of fusion of worlds that I grew up in. So I definitely had both, but, you know, after going to a very diverse school, I went to university and, you know, they're societies that are, you know, for,

Matt Ong: you know, East Asian or Asian societies, but I never felt like I would be able to go to them. I always felt like I'd be judged if I was to go to be like, and obviously I don't think that would have been the case. Everyone is so inclusive and everyone, you know, puts that message out, you know, it's open to everyone.

Matt Ong: But then you look at the photos of like society events and things like that, and it's all people that look the same. And then you kind of think, well, if I was to go, I wouldn't look like that. Would I? Stand out. So I think it was just something that I've also been, yeah, I've been very self conscious of, but yeah, I've seen videos of, of people that have also, you know, mixed heritage, like, like myself and they're kind of share the same story.

Matt Ong: And I think it's also important for, for mixed people to get representation in both sides as well, because we often feel like we don't fit on either side of that. [00:04:00] equation. It's something I 

Amardeep Parmar: think, even with, say, British Asians, right? I was once told by somebody who literally told me, you're never going to be happy because you consider yourself English, because you're not like, you don't look like an English person.

Amardeep Parmar: So even say people who are from one ethnic background, right? Then they feel like they've got this, like, tear between being born and raised in Britain, but also having a different heritage and you've got that to another, another layer of that. Right. And it's difficult. Right. And I think it's something which is good that people are now talking about it.

Amardeep Parmar: Like, how did that affect you, your confidence growing up? Right. Did you think, Oh, could you, I guess, could you look at anybody from any background, be like, Oh, I could be like that one day. Or how did you feel about like, what was your role models like?

Matt Ong: Do you know, it's really interesting you making that point about like your cultural heritage versus I guess your, your ethnic heritage as well.

Matt Ong: And, you know, I've spoken to quite a few other people from, you know, ethnic minority backgrounds, and they've kind of said that, you know, culturally they feel very British, right? They grew up here. You know, they go and see family that live overseas and they kind of get, get [00:05:00] judged a little bit and they kind of are viewed in a different light because they are so culturally British.

Matt Ong: And I think that's why we definitely kind of feel that sense of community amongst you know, British Asians. And I think, yeah, I think it's also important and distinguish between that. I think growing up. Yeah. I mean, it was always something that I was quite self conscious about again, because like you're in school and even like the food that you eat, like it's a common, I guess, story, but it's something that's also very relevant to me as well.

Matt Ong: Like I would always prefer to have, you know, a stir fry and rice rather than like a sandwich sounds very stereotypical, but like, you know, that's, that's, that's how I'm geared. That's, that's part of how I was brought up. But, you know, you go around to friend's house and it's you know, something a little, a little bit different.

Matt Ong: So, so yeah, I think like your culture identity when, when you're growing up particularly kind of gets suppressed a little bit because you are finding that, that need to fit in that, you know, you don't want to be picked on. You don't want anything like that. And yeah, you kind of find yourself going in that direction.

Matt Ong: And I think, I think that's a massive shame. I think we should be encouraged [00:06:00] to embrace that side of you. And I think for me, I kind of just went, went, went the easier route in many ways. I was like,  yeah, I, you know, I, I kind of looked a certain way and so it was easy for me to, to, to do that. But I think that was, that was, that was a massive shame and, and yeah, it's only now I'm older that I'm kind of appreciating that.

Amardeep Parmar: And  then your choice in like an early career as well, right? Cause you went into the investment banking world, the general banking world. Was that colored at all by this upbringing or? 

Matt Ong: I guess, uh, again, maybe, maybe playing to the stereotypes. I was always good at maths and I was always good at, uh, that kind

Matt Ong: Finance and that was always where I wanted to go. So I knew that I wanted to, to, to play in the, in the financial industry. And so, yeah, from very young, had kind of had that in mind. So, yeah, then went on to work at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse in the investment banking space. And, and yeah, it was great.

Matt Ong: But again, I guess talking about like, as we mentioned before, who was around you in those worlds and they aren't the most diverse environments either. And even like from a background perspective, like, you know, a lot of people came [00:07:00] from Oxford and Cambridge and very prestigious schools. I didn't I didn't have that.

Matt Ong: So I had a very much more untraditional entry into that world and then when you're there, it's not again the most diverse world. So obviously the banks are trying to do a lot around diversity and and trying to change that. But when you look at your management, a lot of it is dominated by, you know, you know, by the same figures.

Amardeep Parmar:  And when you're  at these banks as well,

Amardeep Parmar: so obviously you then went on to found control all. But what was that journey like? Where did the idea come from? What was behind that. 

Matt Ong: So I think I'd always wanted to do my own thing. I've always kind of had that entrepreneurial side of me as well. Partly maybe because of my upbringing, you know, I started a mobile phone business when I was like 13 to try and fund my own mobile phone.

Matt Ong: I started affiliate marketing before it was popular, you know, as I kind of went through banking. Kind of was a little bit frustrated with the corporate world. Everything was based on your years of service rather than, you know, your performance. And I felt like I had that [00:08:00] entrepreneurial itch to scratch as well.

Matt Ong: And I guess just the space that I was in, I was in the alternatives asset space at the banks. 

Amardeep Parmar: And  for people didn't understand what that is, what, what it's intended to. 

Matt Ong: Yeah. Yeah. It's a  good question. So. Alternatives are anything apart from, you know, stocks, bonds, and probably put cryptocurrencies in there.

Matt Ong: It's like this world of assets, like property, like infrastructure, like venture capital, for example, these are alternative asset classes that people don't really have access to. And, you know, I spent a lot of my career particularly focused on hedge funds as an alternative asset class and structuring products to allow people to access hedge funds.

Matt Ong: But again, it was typically only the super rich. And so there was obviously that side of you that's like, you're helping the rich getting richer. And there was a frustration that access to alternatives, even, you know, very familiar ones like property has been quite limited. You know, you think about who can actually invest in property and it's again, the super rich.

Matt Ong: And I think that was, that was the frustration. And, you know, we were able to [00:09:00] take the structure that we'd, we'd worked on at the big banks and combine that with, with new tech to really create something that is really different and really helps to solve that problem. 

Amardeep Parmar: Where did the ideas come from? Like, how did you even think about this?

Matt Ong: It was, it was personal, right? So, um, You know, when I looked at what I would want to put my, my money into, um, I'm maybe more risk averse in many ways, despite being a founder, but, you know, cryptocurrencies weren't really for me. And as a, as a, as a banker, I wasn't actually allowed really to trade public markets either.

Matt Ong: So I looked at property, but, you know, I'd maybe be able to buy one property, even then it'd be really difficult, long process. And I'd be exposed to that one property. I wouldn't be able to diversify. So the investment. And. You know, guy in my mind was like, it's not, it's not a great investment. If something happens to to this property, then you're, you're completely out.

Matt Ong: And, you know, the ability to build a portfolio in property or other alternatives was just, was just not there. And then as you start digging in, you see, there are really interesting alternative asset classes that have fantastic returns that you just never would be able to access, you know, [00:10:00] property that can yield you, you know, 14, 15%.

Matt Ong: But most people don't realize that that's even an option because you know, for most people it isn't. So it was born out of our own frustration. We wanted to access some of these assets. We couldn't. And then there was nothing really out there in the market that solved that problem either. 

Amardeep Parmar: And obviously  a lot of people have this frustration, but nobody does think about it.

Amardeep Parmar: So what was that first step of, okay, we're frustrated by this problem. How do you go about like, okay, now we're going to do something about it. What was those first steps you took?

Matt Ong:  It was  more, yeah, it was like, there's a clear problem here. We looked at what was out there. There wasn't, there wasn't anything.

Matt Ong: There was maybe property crowdfunding platforms. They're really expensive. And we thought, would we use these platforms? And the simple answer to that was no. So we then started thinking about what would a platform look like that we would want to use? And the key things were, you know, low fees, you can invest from your phone in a really simple way and have access to great, great quality assets.

Matt Ong: So we kind of started from there. So the concept was all great, but yeah. You know, as anyone in the fintech space knows, the main challenge in this world is around regulation. So doing things in a [00:11:00] regulatory compliant way, this isn't your traditional startup where I've got an idea. I can then create an MVP and I can really run with it and chuck it out into the market and see what happens.

Matt Ong: No, you can't do that. You need to make sure you have the right controls in place before you actually go to market. So we spent a long time doing the underlying structuring work and that's where my background is. So was able to lean quite heavily on my network and my own background to really create that product.

Matt Ong: That is, you know, suitable, that is regulatory compliant, that is legally sound as well. So we started kind of piecing it together. And as we were, as we were going through the motions, you kind of realize actually. This isn't too dissimilar to what I've been doing for the last seven years of my career.

Matt Ong: We're just kind of doing this in a new way, new technology. And it was an education process on, you know, what's tokenization, what's, what, what are digital assets and, and how can we do that in the right way? So yeah, we started from like our core, what we knew, what we wanted to solve. And then it was then piecing together, you know, what was going to enable us to do that.

Amardeep Parmar: And at  this point, was it all on the side? So you just. It's you're saying we as well as you've got co founders, right? 

Matt Ong: Yeah, [00:12:00] yeah. So, um, I started it with, um, with, with one of my co-founders from a concept and yeah, we were very much doing it on the sides. I think again, because it's not that traditional startup where you can just dive into it and start trying to get some revenue on an MVP.

Matt Ong: You know, there was two years where we, um, were kind of. Building that framework and we couldn't have done that if we'd have gone full time. So, so, yeah, we were doing it on the side of our full time jobs, which is challenging because investment banking is already a very, you know, demanding career and lifestyle.

Matt Ong: So, yeah, there's a lot of sacrifice for me and we kind of slowly built up our team from there. Um, so we have more and more people kind of join us as we were kind of getting to that stage where we were ready to launch. So Al and Jordan joined, you know, still pre product and, and very early doors. And so, yeah, we kind of got to the place where we were comfortable and then we were ready to, to really hit the market.

Amardeep Parmar: When you're two years as a side hustle where you haven't got any revenue yet. You haven't got any customers yet. Was there any point like, what if [00:13:00] this all just doesn't work? What do I do?

Matt Ong: Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, there was so many times where we were like, I'm not even sure if this is possible. Like from a technology perspective from a regulatory perspective, like, is this going to work?

Matt Ong: Like, I'm not, I'm not sure. And, you know, even looking back at it three years ago, when we first started working on this as a concept, the technology wasn't there, you know, when we look at like some of the third party providers that we integrate, like they didn't exist three years ago. So we've been quite fortunate from a timing perspective, but absolutely, like, it was like a daily battle being like, don't know if this is even

Matt Ong: possible, like taking this from a concept to actually having something that works is felt like a big stretch. But, um, yeah, we finally, we finally got there in the end. 

Amardeep Parmar: And what kept you going  when you had those doubts? 

Matt Ong: I think the people around me, like, kept me going. And I think, you know, especially because again, the nature of the business, like you, you create a legal structure, you send it off for like legal opinion, legal review, and then it comes back with like loads of like red marks all across it.

Matt Ong: And so it's like, it's a real [00:14:00] battle to like get things done. So having people around you that share your vision, that share your ambition, I think is really important. And that's kind of what kept me going, I think, particularly when Jordan joined, um, the business, um, who's my COO. That kind of gave me the, a new lease of life because it meant that, you know, having someone else that also backs you that is willing to,

Matt Ong: to join full time. And yeah, that's, that's kind of what kept me going. I think as well, when, when you've got people that are relying on you as well, people that are joining you, they back you, they back your vision that increases the pressure and increases your focus I think as well. 

Amardeep Parmar: And that was one of the other questions.

Amardeep Parmar: How did you get those people to join you? At those early stages, you were still having a full time job those doubts? 

Matt Ong: tYeah. Do you know, looking back on it, like we raised pre seed while I was still working at Credit Suisse. And, you know, I remember like some of those conversations where they're like, so have you left your job yet?

Matt Ong: Have you not left your job yet? And it's like, no, I'm doing this in like a, like a meeting room in my office. So it's definitely harder. I think that's why I found like raising a seed round easier than doing pre-seed. It's a harder sell to people. It helps that I worked with Jordan at Morgan Stanley beforehand, but Elle, for [00:15:00] example, you know, I met her on.

Matt Ong: Y Combinators start up school, you know, it's your job as a founder to sell the vision of your company. And so being able to attract talent, I think is a good litmus test for that. Like, are you able to attract the best people? Because that's also going to be what you're going to have to do when you talk to investors as well.

Matt Ong: And so I think it's also important to find people that you know, share your mission that share your same kind of mindset and what you want to do, because it's then a slightly easier sell. If I was talking to someone that, you know, didn't believe in alternative assets as an asset class, or, you know, trying to open up these asset classes and having a fair way to invest.

Matt Ong: If people didn't see that, then they're not the right people. They're not going to get the is the vision. So finding those people is the first task. And then. Yeah. It's then up to you as a founder to do what you do best in many ways, which is, which is sell your business. 

Amardeep Parmar: Interesting as well. So what we're doing right now, right? With the BAE HQ, a lot of people said, like, I'd love to help, right?

Amardeep Parmar: But I feel the natural thing that many people want to help with the cool stuff. 

Matt Ong: Yeah. Yeah. 

Amardeep Parmar: How do you get people to help with 

Amardeep Parmar: the. like pulling their sleeves up and getting in the dirty stuff that's [00:16:00] not particularly interesting, but needs to be done. It also needs to be done by somebody who's trusted.

Amardeep Parmar: And how did you get people to do that kind of work? Because everyone wants to join the shiny object. How'd you get them to do the..

Matt Ong: It's a really interesting question. I was actually having a conversation with some of the guys that I met at the launch event about the same topic. You know, when you're an early stage startup, what you're really looking for is for people that want to get their hands dirty that are willing to do, you know, At an early stage, your roles merge, right?

Matt Ong: You have to be the master of none in many ways, but jack of all trades, and it's finding those people that are willing to do that. And it's hard. And I think, you know, there are certain stereotypes as to what those kinds of people look like, whether they're like young, younger people that are more willing to do that.

Matt Ong: In some cases, that is maybe true because, you know, people that have families and kids, they're less willing to take a risk on a startup. And therefore, you know, you know, you don't get as much of a, um, an audience with, with that kind of demographic. But yeah, I think it's just really important to identify people that buy into what you're doing as a founder and buy [00:17:00] and trust you because if they trust you,

Matt Ong: and they trust your vision, then they're going to be willing to get their hands dirty to do it. But if they're not sure, if they're not sure about you, your capabilities of being able to do that, I think that then makes it difficult for them to be willing to, to put all of that time and effort  into it.

Amardeep Parmar: And then you also mentioned about you raising your pre-seed while you're still working. 

Matt Ong: Yeah. 

Amardeep Parmar: How did those conversations go? Because I can imagine if I was going to invest in somebody and they said, Oh, I've still got a day job, I'd pretty much. It would probably put me off quite heavily.

Matt Ong:  Yeah, and Pre-Seed was quite difficult.

Matt Ong: We didn't even have a website. So I was like purely selling the idea, but I think that is also the nature of Pre Seed. And I think people get a little bit lost in Pre Seed and Seed particularly now, like Pre Seed is very much your idea phase, right? But the expectations are quite high now of what you expect to pre-seed company to have.

Matt Ong: I think when I was raising, I was at the point where I was like, I'm just waiting for the FCA kind of approval to, to come through and then, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm ready to go. And, you know, some of it was like midway through that process. So [00:18:00] I, Not left my job yet. And then some of it I'd already like happened in my notice and I was kind of leaving.

Matt Ong: But yeah, it's, it's, it's difficult. And the conversation certainly got a little bit easier as we went along along the line. But I think as long as you've got a valid reason for why you're doing it, and I think what they really liked was that, you know, being in a full time job was help was what helped fund me to get to here, right?

Matt Ong: So I wouldn't be able to do all of that. If I didn't have a job, so I think investors are also realistic and it obviously depends on on the individual's circumstance as well. And, you know, I wouldn't be able to, to do this and I, we wouldn't have been able to have a platform if I, if I wasn't supported by, by my full time job.

Amardeep Parmar: And  once you did go full time, how did you feel? Because obviously we've been working for two years and then now you've finally got freedom, but I guess there's also quite a lot of pressure that comes with that too. I think sometimes people don't realize that, right? It's like, it's great to now I can work in full time, but it's also like.

Amardeep Parmar: I made a big decision. I need to back up that decision and deliver, right? 

Matt Ong: Yeah, I think  the biggest problem I had was probably imposter syndrome, and it's something I still battle with you know, very much today, but it's like, okay, I've quit, I've quit this [00:19:00] good job that I had in investment banking, and I now expected to be this founder that knows everything and lead teams and be able to execute, uh, you know, a company that's ultimately going to get to a unicorn status.

Matt Ong: And I think that's quite overwhelming because, you know, I don't have any experience in doing that. I'm a first time founder. So I think that's quite a humbling experience. I remember distinctly, I was the first one to move into the office because I quit my, like, my job first. I remember sitting in like a, like a very small WeWork office, um, just by myself being like, this is very strange.

Matt Ong: I've gone from this loud trading floor to, you know, just me in this cupboard in, in WeWork being expected to execute this vision. So it's a very strange process. You know, part of me was like, this is amazing. Like I finally, after two years, been able to get to do that. But then there's like a part of it, that's also quite overwhelming, but I think looking back on that, what we didn't do well enough as a startup was kind of celebrate that kind of stuff.

Matt Ong: I remember thinking when I was in a job, the day that I get my own office or like the day that we get our own office is going to be [00:20:00] amazing. Like I'll be so cool. Can you imagine having your own office? And that day came and it was just, it came and went like we didn't, we didn't celebrate that. And you know, we're moving office now and I'm going to make sure that we make a big deal out of that.

Matt Ong: And I think that's something that's important. Important looking back on that as well. 

Amardeep Parmar: How long ago was it now that you left your full time job? 

Matt Ong: Uh, almost exactly a  year ago. I left, um, in April 2022. So yeah, pretty much exactly a year ago. 

Amardeep Parmar: Um,  so congratulations on one year as  well. We'll celebrate that.

Matt Ong: Yeah. Do you know what? I didn't, I can't even win. I think again, like you just get caught up in how much there is to do in the startup world that you barely take a breath. Right. So it's definitely something that we need to do better at. Sorry. Yeah. Thanks for the first time. I guess I've actually really realized that, yeah, I've passed the one year mark.

Amardeep Parmar: So I guess  keeping on the theme of celebration then. So in that year, what have you, like, what's the progress you've made? What has control all done since 

Matt Ong: I think the biggest achievement was actually tokenizing now, so actually using that technology, combining that [00:21:00] framework and actually putting ownership of a house in the UK on blockchain again, as I mentioned, we weren't sure if this was actually even possible.

Matt Ong: So, you know, after 2 years of work to actually be able to execute this and if actually to work and work quite well was like crazy, right? And that's such a massive achievement. I think we often, we often underplay internally, like with the first ever tokenize a house in the UK, like that is something that will stick with us forever.

Matt Ong: So that was that was a big. That was a big deal for us. And then we launched publicly in the end of November of last year, just around the corner from, from where we're filming. And that was amazing. That was so much fun. We launched with a tiny house, which is like a, as the name suggests a small house, right?

Matt Ong: We literally picked this house up and placed it. Um, in a venue in in in Shoreditch closed before the roads have like a 14 ft lorry kind of craning it in and just amazing. Right? So like celebrating that kind of thing. And, you know, after all of that work, being able to put your business, your platform [00:22:00] out there publicly is just amazing.

Matt Ong: So yeah, it was it was a big moment and a special moment for everyone. 

Amardeep Parmar:One of the things I think quite interesting as well is that I've talked to obviously a lot of blockchain advantage, right? And sometimes you hear them talk from aspects of  Blockchain was the solution they wanted to use and they're going to find a problem for it.

Amardeep Parmar: Whereas what you've done is opposite, right? You've got a problem and then you find out how tokenization can help that. And for people who don't understand, and maybe including myself here, what exactly is that? If you could explain in a minute or so, I guess, what the actual software does. 

Matt Ong: Yeah.So, so a blockchain is basically just.

Matt Ong: A data source, it's like a record of ownership. And so, you know, people often associate with cryptocurrencies, which basically records who owns a particular token, which has a market determined value. We strip it right back and we use it for that  you know, immutable source of truth that, that ledger, that record of ownership.

Matt Ong: So think about how, you know, if you issue shares in a company, you have your share register. We do the same [00:23:00] thing, but the share register is just held on the blockchain. So the blockchain is essentially our record of exactly who owns shares in a particular asset. So that's what we do. That's what we use the technology for.

Matt Ong: It's a very kind of simple format, but when you think about the benefits that that gives to us operationally, imagine if your shares in your company are digital, it means you can trade them a lot more freely. You've got liquidity events operationally. It's a lot easier for you to manage it because, you know, when you've got

Matt Ong: you know, hundreds of, of, of names on a, on a share register, having all that digitalized, automatically updating makes that really easy. It helps to remove some of the layers of our legal structure as well. So it's a really powerful technology tool. But again, it's, it's interesting you saying that we started with what was the problem.

Matt Ong: And is there something that we can do to try and strip this back and make this easier and make it more accessible? And, you know, at the time tokenization was a concept that people had spoken about a lot. And, you know, still to this day, you know, people are like, you know, real world assets being [00:24:00] tokenized, i.

Matt Ong: e. ownership being put onto the blockchain is the way forward is what, you know, blockchains true value will look like. And there's been a lot of speculation about what that market size will look like. But the tools, technology, the regulation all kind of needs to catch up a little bit. And we're ,we're kind of getting there now.

Matt Ong: So we're at, we're at a nice point where we're able to actually execute what we wanted to do.

Amardeep Parmar: Really glad to hear everything you just said then, and you can just see how this, like decision to quit your job is now working out for you. But we're gonna have to move on to quickfire questions now. And the first one, which now you have to think about a bit, is who are three British Asian?

Amardeep Parmar: Entrepreneurs that you'd love to shout out. 

Matt Ong: Yeah, maybe not a quickfire one, because this is one that I, yeah, maybe you have to think about a little bit. And that's particularly because of what we kind of discussed earlier with, you know, not necessarily feeling part of this kind of community either. But, you know, the people that I met at your event, you know, a few weeks ago, they've been incredible in supporting me.

Matt Ong: So, you know, Dhruvesh Ranpura  of Tuck, you know, his platform is, you know, rewarding people for, you know that e commerce spends basically, and I think what he's doing is [00:25:00] incredible, but you know, the support that he's given to me just in the last few weeks has been, you know, even more incredible, obviously, Jay, um, block dojo as someone in the blockchain space, seeing the support for early stage blockchain companies, but without the negative connotations as well is really important.

Matt Ong: And so, you know, big fan of what he's doing there. Um, and the final will probably be you, you know, I guess, you know, you're kind of my gateway a little bit into this world as well, and you've made me feel so. You know, welcome, um, which was something that I've always been like quite self conscious of and you were like, just come along and I'm so glad I did because again, I've met some incredible people and, and yeah, hopefully I can also share my story with this community as well.

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you. I've never actually been shouted out before. I didn't realize I was not for people then. Yeah. Like nobody else ever shouts me out. That's terrible. But thank you so much. I'm glad though, because I met you at an event which was totally unrelated and then we were chatting for hours before even really realizing which other did.

Amardeep Parmar: And then off it's like, Oh wait, you did something really cool. Like let's, let's catch up. Um, so now I'm a bit flustered and I'm blushing. But next question is, [00:26:00] if people listening right now are like looking for help or guidance, What could you potentially help them with? 

Matt Ong: Yeah, I think, um, I think the first step is like also not being afraid to ask for help.

Matt Ong: That's something that I've always kind of really struggled with. I think, um, maybe like the Britishness in you, you know, um, you kind of just, just power away. I think if anyone's looking for advice on, you know, how they've navigated from, you know, pre seed and seed launching, um, talking to investors, um, particularly in the FinTech space.

Matt Ong: You know, I'm, I'm happy to, to help guide and kind of share some war stories of, of fundraising in quite a tough environment. So yeah, I think maybe that's the most value that I can add. I'm still quite early in my, in my startup journey, um, in many ways, but, um, yeah, happy to kind of give my experience before that.

Matt Ong: And likewise, even what I've done beforehand in investment banking and my career beforehand, if people are interested in, in, in that world and you know, that versus the startup world, I'm happy to have discussions there as well, for sure. So we didn't 

Amardeep Parmar: come on to this during the actual episode, but. You obviously you're close to closing your seed round, right?

Amardeep Parmar: And what's that round off? 

Matt Ong: Uh, it's a two and a half million seed round. Um, yeah. So, [00:27:00] um, we are still very early stage, you know, we're, you know, almost pre revenues. This is quite, quite a large round. So, um, again, it's about selling that story. And I think, you know, really excited about the investors, um, VCs that we've, we've got on board for this round.

Matt Ong: They, they really get what we're doing and they can really see that potential. And I think, um, you know, that's why we've been able to, to, to raise in, in a harder environment, but yeah, by no easy feet for sure. 

Amardeep Parmar: And  on the flip side. Is it that you're looking for help with right now yourself? 

Matt Ong: I think, um, you know, the nature of our platform is we connect people that, um, have assets.

Matt Ong: Um, you could be a fund, you could be an investment manager, property developer with different distribution channels. That could be a FinTech, a wealth manager, a private bank. And so, you know, we're always looking to people that, you know. They want to sell, you know, alternative assets, or they have really interesting alternative assets that maybe we can help them get financing for.

Matt Ong: And likewise on the distribution channel, if you're a founder or involved in a business that has customers that want to access this product, we'd love to chat as well. We're kind of helping to connect those dots. So [00:28:00] yeah, if anyone sits on either side of that equation, we're all is. 

Amardeep Parmar: And thank  you so much again for coming on.

Amardeep Parmar: Really enjoyed this chat. Have you got any final words for the audience? 

Matt Ong: Founder words. 

Amardeep Parmar:  Final words. 

Matt Ong: Final words. I think just sticking with it, I think it's a tough, it's a tough environment for everyone. The macro environment is quite challenging, um, but you know, I wouldn't, I wouldn't change my journey and, um, yeah, I definitely recommend people to just sticking in and, and fighting for, you know, the ideas that they've worked hard for and, um, And what they think will be successful.

Amardeep Parmar: Hello. Hello everyone. Thank you so much for listening. It makes a huge amount to us and we don't think you realize how important you are because if you subscribe to our YouTube channel, if you leave us a five star review, it makes the world of difference. And if you believe in what we're trying to do here to inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British, if you do those things, you can help us achieve that mission and you can help us make a bigger impact.

Amardeep Parmar: And by doing [00:29:00] that, it means we can get bigger guests, we can host more events, we can do more for the community. So you can play a huge part. So thank you so much for supporting us.