Ramify was a company that was to provide tools and objective ratings of unit trust funds and Unit Trust Fund Management Companies using both quantitative and qualitative data. It was to be a valuable service to the Unit Trust Funds industry participants including retail and institutional investors, financial planners, agents, banks, Unit Trust Management Companies, regulators, etc.
We were a team of 3. We developed a working prototype & value proposition with plans to launch on the Asian market starting in Malaysia. The other 2 team members were industry veterans in the Unit Trust Funds industry in Australia and have spent time in Malaysia customizing the offering and business strategy, establishing strategic alliances, assessing the market potential, and conducting qualitative assessments of Unit Trust Fund Management Companies.
We flew to Malaysia with our Prototype to propose this Investment Opportunity to the board of RAM with the goal of:
- Giving 50% equity to the investor (RAM),
- in return asking for a purchase price RM2 million and
- acquiring investor to provide RM2 million working capital.
We met many interesting and intellectually clever people. From the board of RAM (Malaysian largest rating agency) to investors from USA and CEO’s of various financial firms whom were interested in what we wanted to do on the Asian market. At that time no one was doing this and it seemed like this was going to be that multimillion dollar opportunity. In the end due to a number of reasons I cannot disclose here the deal fell apart. But it was fun while it latest and provided plenty of education.
Here’s some screenshots of what the early (2006) prototype looked like.
Top 5 things I learnt
- Don’t get too excited too soon. Deals come and go very quickly and even with the hope of smelling millions, it can fall apart very quickly and easily.
- Surround yourself with smart people. You will be surprised how your thinking processes, behavior and views will change (for the better) once you spend time with very intellectually smart people. People that have been there, done that and can provide you with a wealth of knowledge & advise based on their experience.
- Build a winning team. Everyone in the team should complement each other in some form or another. That way no one is spending time carrying the others on their backs. When you work, everyone works, on their parts. Then all parts come together like a transformer resulting in a giant unstoppable machine.
- Business brings friends closer. Yes there is the old mantra not to run a business with your friends but my experience proved to be very fruitful here. It allowed us to get closer and build long lasting friendship. Boy did we all party in Malaysia… in style may I add. Memories that will never be forgotten.
- It’s like there’s more of me working on this. We were a team of 3. This meant we got stuff done quicker and had access to greater brain power – the power of 3. We all supported each other during the down times and this kept the morale strong.
I walked away from this venture a new man. Now I know what it feels like to be at a pinnacle.