As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tina Chu.
Tina Chu is an award-winning marketing and growth leader with a customer-first mindset backed by leadership experience in top tech companies including Tencent, Expedia and Nokia, and Klook.
Tina has led global teams to drive user growth for major products at both Tencent JOOX (SEA #1 Music Streaming app) and Klook App (Asia’s largest online travel agency). She won two times best mobile marketing award by Marketing Magazine while at Expedia. Tina holds an MBA degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School of Business School.
Tina’s work spans across the Asia Pacific and European regions, including Germany. She is well-known as an expert on empowering women through digital content marketing campaigns. She has co-chaired the Wharton Women in Hong Kong Organization since its inception and served on the committee for Wharton International Business Conference in Hong Kong.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. I would love to know more about your story and your background. Give us some details about your journey as an entrepreneur.
I’m VP of Marketing and Growth at Cabital, a leading digital assets wealth management platform. How I started my career in blockchain is quite interesting.
Cabital’s Co-Founder & CEO, Raymond Hsu, who is a long-time acquaintance of mine, called me one day to tell me about his startup project and offered me the opportunity to take the leadership in growth and marketing at the company.
The world of crypto and jargon like dex, cedi, Stablecoins, APY, and fiat were not known to me at the time because I come more from the technology field rather than finance. My leadership experience in top tech companies includes Tencent, Expedia, Nokia and Klook, but not in fintech.
Raymond told me he valued my professional leadership skills and needed someone on board who was knowledgeable about cryptocurrency technologies. I found myself more interested when talking about how Cabital’s product can help those new to crypto find their footing. So, this is how I have started a new chapter in my life.
That’s the beginning of my crypto journey – my self-perceived weakness is part of the main reason on how I got hired.
I would also guess Raymond wouldn’t be so confident to make a bet on me, an industry outsider, if I wasn’t referred to him by one of his trusted network contacts, proving the power of reputation is definitely real.
I hope this story will inspire people who are interested but aren’t sure whether they should take a step because of self-doubt. The blockchain and cryptocurrency sector requires a lot more talent in order to advance. Always be open-minded, and you never know where life may lead you!
What do you specialize in, and why should someone choose you over your competitors in your field?
Simply speaking, at Cabital, we aim to become one of the most compliant crypto asset management firms based out of Europe. Hence, when we started the firm, we invested a significant amount of resources to build our compliance procedures and assemble world-class experts in AMRO and crypto compliance, to ensure we would avoid the regulatory risks other crypto firms have experienced. We want our customers to know we’re here to stay, that their funds deposited with us are safe and secure.
Secondly, contrary to other crypto platforms, we purposely do not issue platform tokens, as that’s the majority of the risks clients might face when they think they have subscribed to a passive income product.
Thirdly, our products – Cabital Earn and Cabital Buy & Sell – are designed with simplicity in mind, both in terms of KYC and usability, while the APY that we advertise is 100% of what our users get – there’s no tiering system, and no trick to users to trial but then lock-in. We also offer a B2B platform Cabital Connect.
What are the three things that mostly helped your online business succeed?
The three things that helped our business to succeed are:
- Efforts by our team and investors: we shared a belief that we’re making the best onboarding journey for everyone going into crypto.
- Trust by our users: in the web3 world, the user community trumps everything else. So, we are proud to have a group of very loyal, very good users who share their excitement about our product offering and help us spread the word and make our product better.
- The timing: users need a reliable, safe, easy-to-use product that will help them save and earn on their earnings and investments.
What were your most important challenges? & How did you overcome those challenges?
As I have already explained in a previous question, one of the challenges for me was to enter the crypto industry, of which I knew very little about at the beginning. So, the challenge was to learn as much as possible about the industry and apply my leadership and marketing skills to my new role. I succeeded, and can advise other women – never hesitate to try new things.
Women leaders should be encouraged and actively participate in the media and social media to share their own stories. Being able to hear other successful women in the industry discuss how they got involved in this ‘unusual’ space helps other women who want to learn more or get involved in how to do so.
Blockchain has many people from male dominated industries like technology and finance – and it’s important to make space for women’s valuable voices in order to gain deeper understanding on how best we can help them grow, by supporting companies led by women founders with less funding.
Another personal challenge was to combine personal and professional roles, each of them being an important part of my life. I’m a working mother who spends time scaling Cabital and building the team – and it means I have two full time jobs, motherhood and building Cabital. So when I learnt that with stable coins I would generate high yield income, I was very keen to get into it. This is why I put most of my money into it.
What’s your piece of advice for readers who want to achieve wealth and success in life?
Don’t rely on your primary salary. Be your own financial advisor and step into the crypto world if you haven’t yet been able to. Crypto high-yield saving products are great news for passive income investors like me.
What do you think is the key to a truly successful online business?
Building a team who will work side by side with you to meet all challenges, with excellent execution ability but to also be adaptable to changes.
What’s your business model? How does your online business make money?
We offer crypto investors the ability to convert their fiat money into crypto, offering them “fixed-income” type of investment opportunities for them to enjoy bank, including -beating high APY on a stablecoin. We make money through reinvesting our clients; money in over-collateralized crypto projects, and earning spread when our clients convert currencies on our platforms.
Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
It’s a tough question. I don’t make five-year plans. However, I could say in the near future we will continue on our path to unlock more fiat-on-ramp capabilities for all crypto clients in the world, and will acquire more licenses and crypto registrations so that we can operate in new markets. We will aim to let Cabital as the de facto crypto wallet on strong user cases, as our long-term vision is to build a regulated and licensed crypto asset management platform.
What’s your piece of advice for people who want to quit their 9-5 job and start a business?
This is a tricky question because it depends on each person’s goals and abilities individually. It starts with what you want in your life and whether you have achieved it. So, my advice would be to try to run a personal life and set goals like business case assessment to identify the gap before making the impulsive decision. Run small experiments to verify the hypothesis before making the big decision to quit your main stream of income and stability. For example, many of my friends are taking on side-projects in their spare time. I think that’s a great way to validate if one could bear all the possibilities, good or bad, that the new venture brings.
What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting or running your business?
I would say it’s my time, particularly time with my family. It’s a hard role for a woman to combine the personal and professional without sacrificing time for your family, because to achieve high professional results, you need to fully engage in a career. Unfortunately, this is not possible without sacrificing time with your family, so it’s always a choice.
What do you think could be the future of NFT? How useful can they be for everyone?
I think NFT is a super interesting trend. I have been following blockchain trends for some time now and did not expect to see how NFT would turn out to be.
Since the most expensive NFT ever sold was auctioned off in 2021 with a $69 million sale by digital artist Beeple, the NFT trend gained much interest and popularity, not just from artists but from a range of fields, finding more and more use cases and applications. Many people are still exploring the meaning of NFT and how they can benefit from the trend. NFT sales are in the billions, and today, you can even take out loans using NFTs.
What I have seen NFTs leading towards have evolved from the concept of just “cute and edgy digital arts” into a paradigm for asset management and transactions. I see this could evolve into trade in corporate assets and valuation for M&A in the future, aided by a DAO framework for corporates.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Have very good recruitment infrastructure for global talents
- Find like-minded people, not like-skilled people. Industry section knowledge is overrated – you would rather spend time with someone who can learn fast and who you’re willing to collaborate with.
- List out all the initiatives you believe you need to do to build a business, and pick the top half of it and put all your resources on execution.
- Rest well and eat well. Starting a business isn’t running a marathon, but is a sprint. You need all the energy to reach the finish line.
- Spend time to connect with industry and community. When you’re looking inwards in your organization, you think you have a perfect PMF, but honest opinions from objective and experienced outsiders might save you 6 month runway.
Do you have any app, digital course, or book you would like our readers to know about?
The a16z crypto canon. The in-depth readings on all aspects of crypto from building blocks and key concepts, tutorials are my go-to guide for any industry practitioners who are interested in learning more about crypto.
Reforge growth course- it has great resources on product and growth frameworks and is one of the most valuable, active and supportive tech communities in the world.
Youtube. Nowadays, Youtube is my go-to platform for anything I want to learn about and get a quick explainer on. It’s also my primary source of information on crypto platform news.
Lastly, what do you think this world needs the most?
This world needs kindness, understanding and support for each other.