Darren is one of those people who not only enjoy the challenges of what life throws at him but thrives in challenging environments. He made the switch from a successful corporate job to becoming an entrepreneur for two start-ups: Tivlon Technologies and Juggar.
His motto is: “Don’t get too comfortable.”
Darren ditched his cushy job and took the plunge without any handouts. What he did was surround himself with positive people, family and partners and the believe in himself.
Juggar which he has two other partners, is a peer-to-peer stocks collateral crowdlending platform. They aim to disrupt this 20 year old industry, valued at over $500 billion in Singapore alone by connecting the lenders and borrowers on their platform. Focusing first on tier 1 SGX stocks as collateral to free up 60% to 70% cash for the owners, their algorithm provides different rates of financing. The current shares financing is usually through a bank and they provide a standard rate of financing. Juggar is offering different rates of financing. For example, having Alibaba stock or IBM stock, while both are in the same industry, they are in different spaces and would have different pricing mechanisms.
The company recently won two seed funding, one from Spring Singapore, which is now rebranded as Enterprise Singapore, and NUS (National University of Singapore). He credits the funding success to his co-founders, Edmond Tan and Danny Lee. They were rejected in the first application with Enterprise Singapore, instead of giving up, his co-founder Edmond rang up and asked in detail why they were rejected and redid their presentation in 48 hours and reapplied.
Darren: “The greatest lesson for me in a start-up is you can’t take “No” for an answer. In start-ups, you have to keep removing obstacles.”
Like all start-ups, they go through “pivoting”, slight changes to his original plan. Tivlon Technologies went through that process. When he started it, it was a consulting firm, once entrenched in it, he realised there was a gap in the market that could not quantify certain data in commodities into tradeable ideas and he sought to bridge that gap. Technology has been underserved in the commodities market and there’s an opportunity to translate reports and data into analytics. At this point, Tivlon Technologies is self-funded.
Darren’s Action Plans
Those with family seeking to ditch their jobs:
- Talk to your partner/spouse. Deal with this first. Their commitment, understanding and support is important. He suggests a 3-year plan with sufficient financing that covers basic needs.
- Having a family means some supplemental income is needed. Find ways to get some income and keep the lights on.
- Don’t worry so much about not being able to get back into the market. The environment has changed and hiring managers seek out those who have tried out different things.
- Keep your burn rate low.
- Surround yourself with great people. Have partners who have different skills from you.
- Be ready to work late nights and weekends.
1) You have nothing to lose, don’t overthink.
2) Test your product in real life, see if anyone is willing to pay for it. He used the example of his college friends with the idea of cleaning laptops. They all laughed at that until they realised these guys were making good money every month.
3) Again, if you do need to seek a job after, hiring managers would be interested to have those who have tried out something and failed. They are more resourceful and have different skill sets.
The podcast with Darren can be found here. Enjoy!
Juggar FB: https://iie.smu.edu.sg/opportunities/jobs/juggar
Enterprise Singapore: https://www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/
NUS Singapore: http://www.nus.edu.sg/
Darren Toh’s social media: https://www.facebook.com/darrentoh