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Atrae (TSE: 6194), Japan’s Leading HR-Tech Innovator Powered by Big Data & Artificial Intelligence – H.E.R.O. Innovators Insights from CEO Yoshihide Arai | H.E.R.O. HeartWare | 4 March

What is the value of an artificial intelligence (AI) in building business relationships, professional networking and digital matchmaking – with an overwhelmingly high matching ratio of over 92% and a high user engagement with MAU (monthly active user ratio) of 80% and also won “Google Play Best of 2018 Top 5” in Dec 2018?

“At 12 o’clock every day, the artificial intelligence selects 10 people recommended for you. And you sort and swipe the recommended ten people to either Interested or Not Interested. At 8 o’clock in the evening, the matching that happened during the day and the number of ‘interested’ received will be delivered. After matching, we exchange messages. Through Yenta, lots of people are enjoying encounters to accelerate business. Some of these encounters include entrepreneurs meeting interested investors, entrepreneurs having engineers correct bugs, getting advice to change entrepreneurs’ business model or life, doing an event together, business development partnerships formed, etc. While there is Facebook and LinkedIn, it will be difficult to send an acquaintance or stranger a message ‘Do you want to do lunch’ and suddenly meet. Psychological hurdles are high. After all, it seems that everyone does not want to be flushed. What is good about Yenta is that it is for anyone who are ‘interested’ and wants to see you based on matching profiles,” comments Yoshihide Arai, founder and CEO of Atrae (TSE: 6194) which is a leading HR-Tech innovator which generates high profitability of EBIT margin 30%, positive free cashflow margin of 21.7%, ROE (= EBIT/Equity) 19.7% and ROA 17.9%.

Yenta, which adapted Tinder’s swipe feature and innovated with several of its own features in matching business relationships with high matching ratio and user engagement, reminds us of Tinder/Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH) which compounded multi-fold from a small “frivolous” app to US$15.46bn in market value with positive free cashflow of over US$570m and contributing exponentially to Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IAC) who owns over 81% in Match. On 7 Feb 2019, Yenta released an in-community matching function to promote matching among members of every community existing in the world. Communities participating at the launch include: AWS user community ‘JAWS-UG’, Japan’s largest engineer community; Japan’s largest start-up conference ‘Slush Tokyo’; Young Society which connects local government officials in 47 prefectures and bureaucrats working in central ministries, etc. We are thinking aloud whether Yenta has the same value-creating compounding potential. We appreciate the patient building of Yenta since its launch in Jan 2016 by CEO Arai who understood that there is a huge difference between someone who downloads the app because they found it on an ad and then hardly or never uses it again (high downloads and high number of registered users), versus someone who downloaded the app because their friend had a great experience on it and told them about it (high matching ratio, high user engagement, quality encounters/user experience). And this emotional courage to resist the institutional imperative in the one-sided chase of user growth is present at Atrae since the beginning even before the breakout of the various social app scandals like China’s Didi disregard of the safety of its users during the ride-hailing trips which are inherently risky people-to-people encounters.

Besides Yenta, Atrae’s core business is GREEN (https://www.green-japan.com), the industry’s first pay-per-success model with a focus on IT/web recruitment and utilizes big data to realize efficient low-cost matching. Atrae distinguish itself from conventional/online recruitment media advertising firms who have the labor-intensive business model of hiring salespeople to generate advertisement sales and utilizing professional carer advisor and counselling facility to realize the “last-mile” mediation/matching, while GREEN achieves overwhelming price competitive power without the fixed cost burden through big data matching, employing only 57 staff to achieve an overwhelming #1 performance in the industry in terms of profit per staff at around 2X to 48X more than the average conventional listed recruitment firms. GREEN’s pioneering of the industry’s first success fee model since July 2006 offers compelling cost-effectiveness and clarity by reducing costs for recruiters who enjoys unlimited number of job postings and job posting period on the platform after bearing an initial setup fee, and recruiters do not suffer the risk of being “dumped” advertising fees that conventional online job sites impose whether or not there is a successful match.

Notably, GREEN realizes a high document selection pass rate (matching accuracy) more efficiently and effectively without human intervention by utilizing technology and big data, as opposed to the labor intensive matching by a conventional career advisor. CEO Arai explains: “One of our management indicators is ‘document selection pass rate’ (matching accuracy). It means ‘the number of items to pass through the document selection ÷ the number of applications to apply for document selection’. This matching accuracy rate has increased from 6.24% in Sept 2010, 9.65% in 2011, 10.11% in 2012, 13.00% in 2013, 19% in 2014, 26.09% in 2015 to 28% in 2016 and consistently over 30% now.”

GREEN commands very high awareness amongst tech firms and tech employees, with over 5,500 registered companies and over 580,000 registered users. Customers include prominent companies such as CyberAgent (TSE: 4751), FreeBit (TSE: 3843), Mixi (TSE: 2121), Akatsuki (TSE: 3932), FreakOut (TSE: 6094), SOFTBANK Group (TSE: 9984), Yahoo Japan (TSE: 4689), etc. Even recruitment rivals Recruit Holdings (TSE: 6098), en-Japan (TSE: 4849), Wantedly (TSE: 3991), Pasona (TSE: 2168), Persol’s (TSE: 2181) Intelligence, BizReach, etc find GREEN compelling to use its platform to hire their own IT staff.

Atrae also operates Wevox (https://wevox.io), the industry’s pioneering employee engagement and organizational improvement platform offered as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) recurring-revenue model that was launched since May 2017. Wevox aims to become the Gartner-like (NYSE: IT) de facto standard for organizational improvement survey which allows companies to quantify and visualize employee engagement and solve issues with the results. In addition, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has mandated firms to carry out “Stress Check Test” from Dec 2015 and Wevox provides a “stress check function” (separate contract is necessary) to fulfill this requirement and deliver a new market creation. Wevox’s recurring-revenue SaaS model charges 300 yen per employee per month and the number of companies adopting Wevox is over 600 in a variety of industries from IT to securities, medical, etc, and also in other organizations such as schools and sports organizations. Customer churn rate is low at under 2% and the satisfaction level of the user is extremely high. Notably, German software giant ERP paid over 20X revenue to acquire Ryan Smith’s Qualtrics, a survey SaaS company like Wevox, for $8bn in Nov 2018.

With the compellingness exponential edge in its pioneering pay-per-success model delivering overwhelming cost effective matching services for its customers, Atrae achieved a 76% and 77% absolute increase in sales and operating profit in the recent three years and generates high profitability with EBIT margin of 30%, positive free cashflow margin of 21.7%, ROE (= EBIT/ Equity) of 19.7% and ROA of 17.9%, propelling a 270% increase in market value since its listing on 17 Jun 2016 at the split-adjusted price of 900 yen to US$400m in market cap. On 13 Feb 2019, Atrae announced its 1Q FY2019/09 results (Oct-Dec 2018) in which 1Q sales increased 51% yoy to 750m yen and operating profit rose 50% yoy to 225m yen, with operating profit margin down slightly to 30% from 30.2%. Sales from GREEN grew 44.8% yoy and accounted for 93.9% of overall sales and the new businesses of Wevox (SaaS) and Yenta grew 348.6% yoy to contribute 6.1% of sales. Balance sheet is relatively healthy with zero debt and 3.47bn yen (US$31m) net cash (~513m yen raised from IPO in Jun 2016 and 1.3bn yen raised from the mandatory new shares issue in its upgrade to TSE 1st Section in Jun 2018) which is around 7.8% of market cap. Atrae was founded in Oct 2003 by Yoshihide Arai who owns 37.94% of the shares. CEO Arai was formerly from Persol Holding’s (TSE: 2181) Intelligence recruitment business.

We find CEO Arai’s mission and greater purpose to be inspiring and distinguishes Atrae from the typical opportunistic mercenary-type entrepreneurs running arbitrage-type businesses:

“The point of setting up a new business is whether we can be proud of it. If you launch a business that you can not be proud of, it might be profitable, but it’s daunting that you cannot tell your daughter, family members and friends with pride. If you are running a company you do not want to join as an employee, do you feel a little uncomfortable? How to scale is more important than anything else. It does not mean that you can expand sales as much as you want, I would like to create a business that I am really proud of and can scale. I think we human beings feel happiness from the bottom of our hearts when we can feel we are making contribution to something important in our lives. And I believe it is the same even in business. There are so many people in Japan that use up their time to earn money so that they can satisfy their material desire. However, this makes people forget about the really important things. Having a reason to live is the best thing. And in this case, people should provide something valuable to the society. Providing a service that is appreciated by someone is our primary objective. As a company, it is one objective to maximize sales and profits, but what is more important than anything else is ‘how much can you offer valuable services to society?’, and if that is possible, sales and profits should follow. We will take priority on being someone providing useful services that are appreciated by someone, and then think about monetizing it as a business. Therefore, I am not interested in getting temporary sales by launching imitated things where customers are already satisfied enough. We manage services with emphasis on the intermediary value of how we can create joy and excitement to the world’s business people.” – Atrae CEO Yoshihide Arai

One “controversial” acid test that we utilize to assess exponential innovators is whether the company employs few sales representatives to generate sales and build direct customer relationship in a “pull-type” business model (e.g. Atlassian, Twilio, ESRI, etc) instead of a push-type sales reliant on “dealmakers” and “distributors/agents”. Many Asian entrepreneurs whom we have interacted with over the past decade plus had lamented their problems in scaling up their business to get a decent valuation beyond the billion-dollar market capitalization barrier; over 80% of listed Asian companies are below the billion dollar market cap. We understand that it is very difficult for business owners to make the painful business decision to design/redesign and transform their business model into the “pull-type” in order to cross the chasm into Stage 2.0 as it is too comforting to continue pushing the familiar business-as-usual levers of “growth” that have gotten them to a certain level of Stage 1.0 success. Besides the usual profit per employee metric, an imperfect measure is whether the SG&A (Selling, General and Admin expenses) as a percentage of sales has been steadily declining even as sales increase – after assessing for Asian-style accounting tunneling fraud and misgovernance risks since it is very common amongst listed and Big-4-audited Asian companies to employ the “consolidation accounting craftiness” method to shift SG&A expenses (and debt liabilities) into related-party unconsolidated entities in which the fraud perpetrators/insiders have economic control. Otherwise, “rigorous” quantitative analytical screening models using the Bloomberg/S&P Capital IQ data for Asian companies are GIGO and misleading.

Thus, Value 3.0 investors should slow down in an exponential world to analyze your existing portfolio companies deeper by asking yourself some simple penetrating long-range fundamental questions:
(1) Do your portfolio companies have the “pull-type” business model?
(2) Do you observe the Catapult (beyond the usual economic Moat competitive advantages) in action in your portfolio companies? Is there an exponential edge (competitive edge analysis for linear-type business models is not enough in a Value 3.0 exponential world with non-linear business models) in your portfolio companies? Can you identify which of the 4C competitive exponential edges (Curiosity, Community, Compellingness-Craftsmanship, Circumspection) that they have or are doing?
(3) Do you understand the underlying bigger sense of Purpose of your existing portfolio companies? If you are not an investor in the portfolio company, would you be proud, fulfilled and happy if your children, or yourself, were to work in that company?
Otherwise, it is easy to be misguided into making small opportunistic bets timing the market “rebounds” in value traps that meander downwards over time, instead of building the real long-term capabilities to invest and accumulate into exponential innovators.

Thus far, of the 63 entrepreneurs and CEOs whom we had highlighted in our weekly research brief HeartWare, around one-third are in our focused portfolio of 40 HERO Innovators, while the rest are in our broader watchlist of 200+ stocks.

We are thankful as always to be invited by John Mihaljevic, Chairman of MOI Manual of Ideas Global, to speak at the upcoming Asian Investing Summit 2019 to take place live online on April 10-11. We look forward to sharing with the MOI community of investors about the distinctive value opportunity in a selected group of under-the-radar Asian SMID-cap exponential innovators who generate high profitability and positive free cashflow in solving high-value problems for their customers and society with a higher sense of purpose, as well as the learning insights from our investment mistakes as the world shifts structurally from Value 2.0 (the world where Charlie Munger nudged Warren Buffett from the Ben Graham-style of statistically cheap net-net asset plays in Value 1.0 towards Value 2.0 in qualitative investing in outstanding companies at reasonable prices) to Value 3.0 where disruptive innovation forces sweeping across industries create ever more “value trap” losers and a selected under-the-radar group of winners with exponential edge.

Our emotional labor of love over the past months in sharing openly our research ideas (to battle-test our ideas by critiques and avoid blindspots in investing) and setting up the proper regulated and transparent UCITS fund structure to protect investors’ interests has deepened our conviction for the positive change that we will make together with H.E.R.O. – and we are now in the final stage of giving birth at end March 2019 to H.E.R.O., the only Asia SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry and guarding investors’ interests in the regulated UCITS fund structure with daily NAV & daily liquidity and no exit fees.

To our interested clients who have been asking, we sincerely apologize for the prolonged labor in the birth of HERO over the past months as we have been preparing for a coordinated delivery of our whole family of Swiss fund series at end March and HERO will also be invigorated with the healthy seed from farsighted committed long-term institutional clients to journey far to compound value for investors. Do watch out in the coming weeks for our press release on the birth and launch of H.E.R.O.

If you are not moving forward in this exponential world, you are going backwards. If you want to join us at the leading edge of opportunity, if you identify yourself in the values and bigger sense of purpose in H.E.R.O., or you wish to tell from your heart to your most important person, son, daughter, wife, husband, or best friend that you are a farsighted and thoughtful explorer in the H.E.R.O.’s Journey participating in the long-term exponential growth of a selected group of outstanding entrepreneurs, standing up for the embracement of the human spirit, please contact us via email or WhatsApp at +65 9695 1860. Thank you very much for your patience and support and we look forward to growing exponentially with you as we explore the H.E.R.O.’s Journey together.


“The meaning of Atrae is “attract” in Spanish. We want to create the company which attracts people in the world. We provide the industry’s first service that innovated in the HR area through technology. GREEN is the matching recruitment platform service based on the big data analysis of huge number of recruitment activities, job change activity data accumulated, including social media data such as Facebook, LinkedIn and GitHub. We realize proposal of optimized job offer for people thinking about change for companies thinking to adopt to create efficient matching through our platform that offers value inexpensively. It is a service that was born with the desire to create a natural world that only really good companies that are cheered from many people can meet truly good people. In addition, we are currently undertaking completely new services utilizing social big data and artificial intelligence with Yenta and the industry’s first employee engagement and organizational improvement platform that is a Software-as-a-Service offering,” comments Yoshihide Arai, founder and CEO of Atrae (TSE: 6194) which is listed on Japan’s TSE 1st Section.

Atrae is Japan’s leading HR-Tech platform powered by big data analytics and artificial intelligence to distinguish itself beyond the conventional labor-intensive recruitment media advertising firms to generate high profitability of EBIT margin 30%, positive free cashflow margin of 21.7%, ROE (= EBIT/Equity) 19.7% and ROA 17.9%. Atrae operates three key businesses:

(1) GREEN (https://www.green-japan.com), the industry’s first pay-per-success model with a focus on IT/web recruitment and utilizes big data to realize efficient low-cost matching. Atrae distinguish itself from conventional/online recruitment media advertising firms who have the labor-intensive business model of hiring salespeople to generate advertisement sales and utilizing professional carer advisor and counselling facility to realize the “last-mile” mediation/matching, while GREEN achieves overwhelming price competitive power without the fixed cost burden through big data matching, employing only 57 staff to achieve an overwhelming #1 performance in the industry in terms of profit per staff at around 2X to 48X more than the average conventional listed recruitment firms. GREEN’s pioneering of the industry’s first success fee model since July 2006 offers compelling cost-effectiveness and clarity by reducing costs for recruiters who enjoys unlimited number of job postings and job posting period on the platform after bearing an initial setup fee, and recruiters do not suffer the risk of being “dumped” advertising fees that conventional online job sites impose whether or not there is a successful match. The initial setup fee ranges from 0.4-1m yen per case (average ~0.64m yen) and accounts for around 25% of GREEN’s sales. Success fee ranges from 0.3-0.9m yen per case (average ~0.7m yen), which is 60% to 70% of the conventional online recruitment industry, and contributes around 75% of GREEN’s sales.

Notably, GREEN realizes a high document selection pass rate (matching accuracy) more efficiently and effectively without human intervention by utilizing technology and big data, as opposed to the labor intensive matching by a conventional career advisor. CEO Arai explains: “One of our management indicators is ‘document selection pass rate’ (matching accuracy). It means ‘the number of items to pass through the document selection ÷ the number of applications to apply for document selection’. This matching accuracy rate has increased from 6.24% in Sept 2010, 9.65% in 2011, 10.11% in 2012, 13.00% in 2013, 19% in 2014, 26.09% in 2015 to 28% in 2016 and consistently over 30% now.”

GREEN commands very high awareness amongst tech firms and tech employees, with over 5,500 registered companies and over 580,000 registered users. Customers include prominent companies such as CyberAgent (TSE: 4751), FreeBit (TSE: 3843), Mixi (TSE: 2121), Akatsuki (TSE: 3932), FreakOut (TSE: 6094), SOFTBANK Group (TSE: 9984), Yahoo Japan (TSE: 4689), etc. Even recruitment rivals Recruit Holdings (TSE: 6098), en-Japan (TSE: 4849), Wantedly (TSE: 3991), Pasona (TSE: 2168), Persol’s (TSE: 2181) Intelligence, BizReach, etc find GREEN compelling to use its platform to hire their own IT staff.

(2) Wevox (https://wevox.io), the industry’s pioneering employee engagement and organizational improvement platform offered as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) recurring-revenue model that was launched since May 2017. Wevox aims to become the Gartner-like (NYSE: IT) de facto standard for organizational improvement survey which allows companies to quantify and visualize employee engagement and solve issues with the results. In addition, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has mandated firms to carry out “Stress Check Test” from Dec 2015 and Wevox provides a “stress check function” (separate contract is necessary) to fulfill this requirement and deliver a new market creation. Wevox’s recurring-revenue SaaS model charges 300 yen per employee per month and the number of companies adopting Wevox is over 600 in a variety of industries from IT to securities, medical, etc, and also in other organizations such as schools and sports organizations. Customer churn rate is low at under 2% and the satisfaction level of the user is extremely high. Notably, German software giant ERP paid over 20X revenue to acquire Ryan Smith’s Qualtrics, a survey SaaS company like Wevox, for $8bn in Nov 2018.

(3) Yenta (https://yenta.talentbase.io/yenta), a Tinder-like full examination artificial intelligence business matching application that was launched in Jan 2016. Yenta facilitates encounters to accelerate business amongst business professionals and entrepreneurs, from gentle exchange of information to forming business development leads, partnerships, investment, recruitment. Every day at 12 pm, users are presented with 10 recommended profiles. Swiping right on a profile indicates interest and presents users with an option to exchange information. Yenta tailors its recommendations for users based on the users’ swipe history. The more often the users use it, the better the AI can present profiles relevant to the needs. Yenta claims an overwhelmingly high matching ratio of 92.18% of all its users and a cumulative 1.8 million matches amongst 17,000 users, of which over 8,500 are paid users. Yenta started monetization in Sept 2018 and introduced a monthly subscription plan of 1,000 yen per month (basic) and 5,000 yen per month (with added number of deliveries and filtering function). In December 2018, Yenta won “Google Play Best of 2018 Top 5”.

With the compellingness exponential edge in its pioneering pay-per-success model delivering overwhelming cost effective matching services for its customers, Atrae achieved a 76% and 77% absolute increase in sales and operating profit in the recent three years and generates high profitability with EBIT margin of 30%, positive free cashflow margin of 21.7%, ROE (= EBIT/ Equity) of 19.7% and ROA of 17.9%, propelling a 270% increase in market value since its listing on 17 Jun 2016 at the split-adjusted price of 900 yen to US$400m in market cap. On 13 Feb 2019, Atrae announced its 1Q FY2019/09 results (Oct-Dec 2018) in which 1Q sales increased 51% yoy to 750m yen and operating profit rose 50% yoy to 225m yen, with operating profit margin down slightly to 30% from 30.2%. Sales from GREEN grew 44.8% yoy and accounted for 93.9% of overall sales and the new businesses of Wevox (SaaS) and Yenta grew 348.6% yoy to contribute 6.1% of sales. Balance sheet is relatively healthy with zero debt and 3.47bn yen (US$31m) net cash (~513m yen raised from IPO in Jun 2016 and 1.3bn yen raised from the mandatory new shares issue in its upgrade to TSE 1st Section in Jun 2018) which is around 7.8% of market cap. Atrae was founded in Oct 2003 by Yoshihide Arai who owns 37.94% of the shares. CEO Arai was formerly from Persol Holding’s (TSE: 2181) Intelligence recruitment business.

Given Atrae’s focus on the IT/Web industry clients which contributes over 90% to GREEN’s revenue, we asked CEO Arai on his views on the industry dynamics which he explains: “In the IT/Web industry where Atrae focuses, along with the spread of the e-commerce market and the spread of new technologies such as Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, demand for skilled IT people is increasing. In relation to this, the market size of recruitment industry in fiscal 2018 is projected to continue to expand to 286 billion yen, an increase of 11.3% from the previous year, of which between 60 to 70 billion yen is the market size related to the IT/Web industry. Our immediate goal is to achieve an overwhelming No. 1 share by acquiring 20% of this 60 to 70 billion yen market. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the effective job offer ratio of IT/Web industry is over 5.6X, far exceeding the total job offering multiplication ratio of 2.25 times. The shortage of IT human resources will become more serious, and in 2030 it is expected that the scarcity of IT human resources will expand to about 590,000 people.  There is also a tendency that the recruitment job offering ratio of the IT/Web industry largely exceeds the total job offering ratio, and the demand for human resources of engineers in the IT/Internet industry to which many of GREEN recruitment companies belong to is large. There is a strong wind blowing in the business environment specializing in the IT/Web industry. The base of companies using GREEN is increasingly expanding.”

“Many of the conventional recruitment companies are business models that hire a large number of advisors to mediate job seekers and recruitment companies and earn a commission when they decide to join. We believe that it is a labor-intensive business model because it is necessary to employ a large number of advisors to mediate job seekers and recruitment companies. Also, in many cases, the advisor will match job seekers and recruitment companies based on the database owned by recruitment company, taking personal experience into consideration. Since the database owned by the recruitment company is never disclosed directly to the job seeker or recruitment company, we think that it is a closed business model that encloses information.”

“The competition in the pay-per-success model is limited. Primary players in the recruitment media industry such as the giant Recruit Holdings (TSE: 6098), Pasona Group (TSE: 2168), Persol (TSE: 2181) etc continue to provide labor-intensive last-mile mediation/matching by career consultants. Other online recruitment media players like En-Japan (TSE: 4849), DIP Corp (TSE: 2379), Career Design Center (TSE: 2410) are not pay-per-success model and they derive advertising fee as their main income source and recruiters suffer the risk of being dumped advertising fees by these players. Livesense (TSE: 6054) is another pay-per-success model and GREEN commands overwhelming advantage as the pioneer and the focus on the growing IT/web industry.”

When asked about how he came about to start Atrae, the challenges he faced and overcame and the breakthroughs during his early entrepreneurial period, CEO Arai shared briefly and reflectively the story of his early entrepreneurship period: “I am born in 1974 in Tokyo. I graduated from Sophia University science and engineering department in 1998, and joined Persol Holdings’ (TSE: 2181) Intelligence Corporation which was a small venture company with 100 employees at that time. At that time, the Internet was not completely widespread and I remember that one-third of university students didn’t have their own cellphones. Not to mention, Google did not even exist at that time.”

“During the period of job-hunting, I attended several company information sessions, struggling with thick and heavy job magazines that were just like phone books, I realized that I couldn’t have any interests in any companies. ‘I’m not able to find my best fellows who make me think that I want to spend the precious time of my life to aim for something in earnest with them!’ I was frustrated. While at the same time, I had a sort of longing for the people like athletes and artists ー such people were featured in a TV program like ‘Jounetsu Tairiku’ or ‘Professional.’ I knew they are spending their days with their fellows aiming at their dream through their friendly, but also tough competition. But, why cannot we find such a team in business world? Why do words like ‘promotion’, ‘business title’ and ‘salary’ only attract everyone’s attention in this world? These were the questions I asked myself at that time. Most employees may spend more time working than staying with their families. I think it is sad if their job is only for earning a living. ‘I deeply want to live a life in which I can keep aiming for something valuable with the best fellows, because I only live once.’ I found myself considering like this. However, even though I tried hard searching an ideal team as possible as I could, I couldn’t find one in business world.”

“‘OK, then I’ll create it myself.’ That’s when I got my sight on founding a company. At Intelligence, I learned what is necessary to become an entrepreneur. During my third year with Intelligence, I was made the president of a subsidiary company where I led a group of about 35 employees to develop recruitment support services for venture companies in the growth area. Later, I was called back to the headquarters to rebuild the largest business of the headquarters.”

“After leaving Intelligence, I founded Atrae in Oct 2003 with only two people. In July 2006, we changed the business model to a pay-per-success compensation model under the recruitment media platform GREEN. The point of setting up a new business is whether we can be proud of it. If you launch a business that you can not be proud of, it might be profitable, but it’s daunting that you cannot tell your daughter, family members and friends with pride. If you are running a company you do not want to join as an employee, do you feel a little uncomfortable? In a survey, the proportion of ‘people who are enjoying work’ in Japan is only 6%. It is said to be 132nd out of the 139 countries surveyed. From a global point of view, in order to win, it is necessary to innovate by taking advantage of the creativity and wisdom of the members. That is why creating a company that can induce innovation should be the standard in the 21st century. How to scale is more important than anything else. It does not mean that you can expand sales as much as you want, I would like to create a business that I am really proud of and can scale.”

When asked to elaborate on Atrae’s three businesses in GREEN, Wevox and Yenta, CEO Arai starts off with GREEN: “The origin of the name of GREEN means a site that allows you to find a ‘green signal’ for job changers, a platform to find each green light. We introduced a fee structure based on a success fee payment way ahead of the industry. When I go to bed I always have a note and a pen on the bedside, but I jumped around 2 o’clock in the midnight and came up with this model. Many of the conventional advertisement-type recruitment media generate advertisement insertion fees at the same time as the job advertisement is posted, regardless of the success or failure of recruitment. Meanwhile, although GREEN requires a initial setup fee at the time of new registration, thereafter there is no restriction on the posting period of the recruitment advertisement or the number of job postings. We adopted a payment-based fee structure that generates fee income at the stage of job seekers actually joining the company.”

“Companies that use Green do not need to take risks that the advertisement posting fee will be deducted. In addition, attractive job and company information that did not appear on the conventional online jobsites has been posted on GREEN, and further excellent talent are gathered, and it is believed that a virtuous circle is created that encourages the use by more excellent companies as well. In addition, because of the business model of a success-based fee type, many companies can actively post jobs on an ongoing basis irrespective of the strength of their recruitment needs. Conventional online advertisement-type recruitment media tend to have a large number of salespeople to acquire client companies that post job placement advertisements in order to make revenue sources for job placement advertisement publication fees. It is also a huge feature that there is no need to have sales personnel at GREEN.”

“We have independently accumulated profile data with job history, professional skills, and years of experience; businesses and recruiting companies of different types, sizes, occupations, corporate culture (action data); document selection such as whether they have passed through, the order of interviews, whether they have entered the company (selection data), etc. for more than 10 years. By analyzing this data, we have realized a system that can deliver optimized recruitment information to job seekers looking for job change and job candidate information optimized for recruitment companies considering recruitment. Since conventional online advertisement-based recruitment media uses publication fee for job advertisement as a revenue source, there is no need for them to grasp the recruiting process of each candidate and they tend to accumulate data without analyzing them.”

“We realize a high document selection pass rate (matching accuracy) more efficiently and effectively without human intervention by utilizing technology and big data, as opposed to the labor intensive matching by a conventional career advisor. One of our management indicators is ‘document selection pass rate’ (matching accuracy). It means ‘the number of items to pass through the document selection ÷ the number of applications to apply for document selection’. This matching accuracy rate has increased from 6.24% in Sept 2010, 9.65% in 2011, 10.11% in 2012, 13.00% in 2013, 19% in 2014, 26.09% in 2015 to 28% in 2016 and consistently over 30% now.”

“In addition, there is a function ‘I care /I want to see you’. By sending ‘I care/I want to see you’ from job seekers to recruiters or recruiters to job seekers, we can easily communicate the intention of interview wishes. The introduction of ‘I care/I want to see you’ function has lowered the psychological burden of both job seekers and recruitment companies. The improvement of matching precision by big data analysis and our overwhelming price advantage makes our competitive advantage works as a differentiation factor to keep increasing. Over 90% of recruitment companies who adopted using Green are in the IT/Web industry. Our customers in the IT/Web industry include prominent companies such as CyberAgent (TSE: 4751), FreeBit (TSE: 3843), Mixi (TSE: 2121), Akatsuki (TSE: 3932), FreakOut (TSE: 6094), SOFTBANK Group (TSE: 9984), Yahoo Japan (TSE:  4689), etc.”

“GREEN’s performance fee is recorded as sales when the job seeker joins the recruitment company. Although we confirm employment by receiving a report from the recruiting company, there is a possibility of misbehavior to avoid payment of the performance fee. We used the data matching of job seekers, thorough checking of the progress of recruitment flow, strengthening of penal provisions in case of fraud, system response to prevent misconduct, and a system of career change celebration. Specifically, we have sent Amazon gift certificates to job seekers who succeeded in changing jobs through GREEN as an incentive to encourage job seekers to report their hiring in the change career celebration system.”

On Wevox, CEO Arai comments: “Wevox is a service that creates a cycle of organization improvement by visualizing the state of the organizational engagement using its own quantitative and multifaceted survey method, identifying negative factors in engagement and implementing improvement measures. By automating survey delivery, aggregation and analysis of results, you can spend time on extremely important tasks, such as identifying issues and implementing remedial measures. Since periodic surveys can be carried out without a burden, it is possible to measure the effectiveness of remedial measures, enabling efficient organizational improvement. By managing the status of the team correctly, you can improve the quality of daily management.”

“Engagement of the workforce has been proven to be involved in the growth of companies, and has been drawing attention all over the world recently. In Japan, there is great attention paid on work reform against the backdrop of current labor force shortage, long work hours, and human resource outflow caused by a declining birthrate and aging population. Wevox aims to support the realization of work reform. Increasing engagement makes it easier for employees to increase their affection for organizations, which not only improves productivity, but also promotes referral adoption and reduces recruitment and training costs by lowering the turnover rate. In addition, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has mandated firms to carry out “Stress Check Test” from Dec 2015 and Wevox provides a “stress check function” (separate contract is necessary) to fulfill this requirement and deliver a new market creation. The EAP (Employee Assistance Program) market size associated with the target market aimed at by Wevox continues to grow to over 22.4bn yen. EAP aims to resolve problems on the mental health of employees of companies through counselling and work environment support service that enhances organization activation and productivity. The service Wevox provides covers a wider range of operations than EAP.”

“Wevox’s recurring-revenue SaaS model charges 300 yen per employee per month and has steadily increased the number of introduction companies since the official release in May 2017 and over 600 companies are introduced in a wide range of industries such as IT, securities, medical care, F&B, and also in other organizations such as schools and sports organizations. As it is a SaaS business model, further expansion and continuous improvement in business performance are expected in the future. The churn rate is under 2% and the satisfaction level of the user is extremely high. Wevox is the pioneer of the engagement survey and it has an overwhelming precedence advantage over other companies.”

“On 13 Feb 2018, Wevox collaborated with Advantage Risk Management (“ARM”) (TSE: 8769), a specialized insurance firm which provides GLTD (group long-term disability income compensation insurance) and EAP services. ARM began offering EAP solutions that meet the challenges of organizations and individuals with its ‘Advantage Toughness’ corresponding to mandatory stress check, aiming to improve engagement and mental toughness. ARM has also developed mental-oriented solution menus, such as ‘Advantage Insight’ recruitment examination to judge EQ and stress tolerance and various training. Through the partnership, ARM provides ‘Advantage Wevox’, an organizational improvement cloud platform which carries out its own survey once a month through questionnaires to employees and analyzes them on a monthly basis so that managerial personnel at the site will grasp the engagement status of their subordinates.”

On Yenta, CEO Arai comments: “Meeting beyond the framework of the organization accelerates business. Yenta is like ‘Tinder for business people’, an application that connects professionals in diverse areas that are not usually connected with each other, promoting open innovation and productivity improvement. had utilized TalentBase’s database and analytical algorithms on social media data such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub, Qiita, Creww, etc. Through Yenta, many values are born, such as the foundation of entrepreneurs and business partnerships.”

“At 12 o’clock every day, the artificial intelligence selects 10 people recommended for you. And you sort and swipe the recommended ten people to either Interested or Not Interested. At 8 o’clock in the evening, the matching that happened during the day and the number of ‘interested’ received will be delivered. After matching, we exchange messages. Through Yenta, lots of people are enjoying encounters to accelerate business. Some of these encounters include entrepreneurs meeting interested investors, entrepreneurs having engineers correct bugs, getting advice to change entrepreneurs’ business model or life, doing an event together, etc. While there is Facebook, it will be difficult to send an acquaintance or stranger a message ‘Do you want to do lunch’ and suddenly meet. Hurdles are high. After all it seems that everyone does not want to be flushed. What is good about Yenta is that it is for anyone who are “interested” and wants to see you based on matching profiles.”

“Yenta has an overwhelmingly high matching ratio of 92.25% of all its users and a cumulative 1.8 million matches amongst 17,000 users, of which over 8,500 are paid users, and the MAU (monthly active user ratio) is over 80%. Considering various risks because it is a service that people and people meet, we have adopted complete examination system and we have a queuing list of interested users waiting for review. It is necessary to think about compatibility, occupation, balance of the industry etc as a service.”

“Yenta started monetization in Sept 2018 and introduced a monthly subscription plan of 1,000 yen per month (active plan with a boost function that shows your profile as being displayed to other Yenta users at 5 times the number of the free plan) and 5,000 yen per month (professional plan with added number of deliveries and filtering function). In December 2018, Yenta won “Google Play Best of 2018 Top 5”.

“Yenta’s proprietary deep learning algorithm is based on collaborative filtering like Amazon’s product recommendations and a system similar to Google’s page rank to graph the connection between people. What matters here is that the object to be matched is ‘people and people’. For example, if you have an ecommerce EC site, buyers only pick items, so one-way collaborative filtering is fine. However, if the target is a person various factors need to be adopted, such as the person’s personality, the importance of choice and human relationship. It is creating bi-directional collaborative filtering to create optimal matching.”

“Yenta is devoting efforts to create a worthy and valuable encounter. We have set up a review at the time of registration. Based on the information you have entered, we calculate compatibility with already registered users and give priority to those who are more likely to be matched. In the Yenta application, there is a mechanism that can mutually evaluate the impressions that users have met. When it receives a good evaluation, it is reflected in each profile, and it can be used as a reference when confirming the recommendation and message. In the paid subscription plan, the filter function can narrow down the 10 daily recommendations everyday by the set condition, such as a specific job category and age. We are continuing to focus on marketing to develop a monetization plan for corporate customers and to improve the number of users.”

“The power shift from companies to individuals is seen as the flow of the times. The scenes in which individuals play active roles, and the connection between people is needed more than now. The daily active ratio of Yenta is high, and it is easy to lead to monetization such as strategic advertisement publicity, creation of paid community, further solicitation of new users, etc. Yenta is currently focused on the use of the Kanto region, but from now on, we will be deploying to other domestic cities and other overseas cities. We have completed demonstration experiments for corporate monetization, we plan to monetize after the period of September 2019 after fully disseminating the view of the world and establishing a stable customer base. We want to build an intelligence network in Japan to connect the intellect and entrepreneurial spirit through the power in each of us and create new innovation and new energy inside and outside the company.”

“On 7 Feb 2019, Yenta released a in-community matching function to . promote matching among members of every community (society, school, community, salon, event participants, business book · magazine readers etc) existing in the world. Communities participating at the launch include: (1) AWS user community ‘JAWS-UG’, Japan’s largest engineer community, (2) Japan’s largest start-up conference ‘Slush Tokyo’; (3) Young Society which connects local government officials in 47 prefectures and bureaucrats working in central ministries; (4) ‘The Legend to Kill Genius’ Book Community; (5) One HR, a HR innovation creation community; (5) Personnel Disaster Bowl, a community for personnel who confronts their own personnel issues; (6) XAcademy, a community of students with doubts about job hunting. In the business domain, many events and initiatives are being carried out to promote open innovation and intelligence mobilization, but Yenta’s intra-community matching function further activates the mobilization of open innovation intelligence.”

“In the future, Yenta can be used in these various communities: Matching between participants in large events; Matching between co-working space users; Matching among employees of large companies; Matching between former employees (alumni); Matching between technical community members; Matching salon members;  Matching between celebrities; Matching students at the same university; Matching between people working in the same building; Matching between same people in different prefectures; Matching of same people from a school of origin; Matching between working women. We hope to promote matching within every community and contribute to the construction of ‘high quality of people community’. In the future we will accept applications from community owners who wish to use and increase the number of users of community functions within Yenta by approval system.”

CEO Arai also shared Atrae’s flat-organization management philosophy: “The background behind Atrae’s ability to create valuable services is our organizational capabilities. Based on the idea that ‘People exercise maximum power when released, rather than being managed/oppressed’, we are constantly pursuing a flat organization. We lose the concept of position and succession, appoint a leader for each project, and anyone can work as a project leader depending on motivation and suitability regardless of seniority. Although it may seem pleasant and fun, in order to actually carry out work, everyone has a professional consciousness, behavior, and achievement Is required. To be a flat organization, it is also said that considerable heavy responsibility comes about to each and every one at the same time, but people positively gather. Whether we can continue to be a valued company in the future depends on how individuals realize growth and can maximize organizational strength by combining their strengths.”

“We have experienced overcoming the Lehman shock and have been devising and constructing a management system that is not easily influenced by the economy. We believe that accumulation of organizational culture and know-how is the key to achieving corporate persistence, and we stick to the organizational strength more than any company. Keeping the management units of the business flat and minimum at all times, we continue to challenge to maximize the value offered to society by maintaining the sense of speed and change adaptability, raising the management awareness and responsibility of the members. Specifically, we eliminate the concept of titles, and we are a completely flat organization working in team  and project units, and the management of working hours and places is left to each member so that rules are minimized, raising participation awareness of each person to a high level. We are creating an environment where we can voluntarily work with responsibility and discretion. With these efforts, young and talented people continue to work for a long time while maintaining high engagement. Because it is an organization with high engagement, it is possible to formulate and execute mid- and long-term strategies, while developing new business. We believe we are a rare organization with long-term competitive power.”

“Organizations that I think are ideal are groups whose rules are few, individuals truly trust each other, respect themselves, are united and pursue the exciting goal. I think that the following four elements are important for creating such an organization: (1) Commitment to recruitment with an emphasis on not only skills but also character; (2) Continued communication on values · culture; (3) Thorough information sharing, not only from employees but also among employees; (4) Mechanism for evaluating according to creative value. Management tends to be aware of the improvement of numerical ones that can be said to be their own gradebook in capital markets, such as sales, profits and stock prices, and they tend to get derailed. That is why I am sticking to the above four thoroughly and imposing oneself to manage without compromising whenever.”

“Once a month, we have an ‘Atrae Premium Friday’. We stop all operations from 16:00 to 18:30 on Friday and we talk to each team of 4 to 6 people. Here we are discussing the big theme of ‘issues and ideas for making an ideal organization.’ In addition, as one measure to concretize our unique organization theory and to realize ‘everyone’s organization’, on 8 Dec 2016, we issued stock with restricted 3-year transfer limit period for the first time as a listed company in Japan to all employees enrolled on Nov 2016, issue amount is around 33m yen. Each employee has a high awareness of participation in management and aims to pursue the essential value of all employees from improving the corporate value from a medium-term perspective. We also issued a second restricted share issue in Nov 2017, leading to an increase in engagement.”

“One of my business mottos is “enjoy working”. I believe people can perform with their full abilities when they work as if they are playing with their friends. I never want all members in this company to work neither for their living nor for their duty. I hope that they work because it is enjoyable and fulfilling. Another motto is to think with “morals” not with “profit and loss”. We won’t do anything feeling guilty. We are all proud of what we do.”

CEO Arai summed up by emphasizing his mission on building Atrae into a company that can give a huge positive impact on society through providing valuable services with emphasis on the intermediary value of creating joy and excitement to business people: “What I believe is the most important when thinking about how to build a great company is that all the people who get involved with us become happy and have a good life through business with us. It includes the employees, their families, our clients, individual users and stock holders. All of them. Almost all the judgement I made in the past were based on this idea. I believe we can have a truly happy business life when there is a great match between what we crave to do and what we feel obsessed to do as a life mission. In my case, the former is to get trust, gratitude and respect from all the people who get involved with me in life, and the latter is to create a company that can give a huge positive impact on society. After getting to this conclusion, I kept thinking about Atrae with heart and soul. What kinds of companies can give happiness to the employees and their families? If I were one of the employees, would I really want to work here? If not so, then what is missing? How can I harmonize growth of the company and employees’ happiness both in the short term and the long term? I wanted to define an ideal business organization, from scratch. I’ve been still in the middle of the process, but I’m 100% sure that we can realize a match between the two factors when we have a deep consideration on it. I’m not a charismatic CEO. However, I believe I can create a charismatic company that attracts people in the world.”

“I think we human beings feel happiness from the bottom of our hearts when we can feel we are making contribution to something important in our lives. And I believe it is the same even in business. There are so many people in Japan that use up their time to earn money so that they can satisfy their material desire. However, this makes people forget about the really important things. Having a reason to live is the best thing. And in this case, people should provide something valuable to the society. Providing a service that is appreciated by someone is our primary objective. As a company, it is one objective to maximize sales and profits, but what is more important than anything else is ‘how much can you offer valuable services to society?’, and if that is possible, sales and profits should follow. We will take priority on being someone providing useful services that are appreciated by someone, and then think about monetizing it as a business. Therefore, I am not interested in getting temporary sales by launching imitated things where customers are already satisfied enough. We manage services with emphasis on the intermediary value of how we can create joy and excitement to the world’s business people.”


Intrigued and want to read more? Download this week’s H.E.R.O. HeartWare: Weekly Asia Tech News with brief highlights of the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of tech leaders in Asia whom we have been monitoring over the past decade in our broader watchlist of over 200 listed Asian tech companies and our focused portfolio of 40 HERO Innovators who reveal their problems and successes behind building the company. Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s photo-journalistic project Humans of New York which collects and highlights the street portraits and moving stories of people on the streets around us who were doing things that changed lives and made a difference in the city but often went unnoticed, we have curated a collection of Hear the Heart of the H.E.R.O. stories on our website which we aim to update with refreshing and uplifting new stories weekly. Please check them out and give us your valuable feedback so that we can improve to make them better for you.


It started with rethinking a few questions. Question No. 1: Can the megacap tech elephants still dance? Or is this the better question: Is there an alternative and better way to capture long-term investment returns created by disruptive forces and innovation without chasing the highly popular megacap tech stocks, or falling for the “Next-Big-Thing” trap in overpaying for “growth”, or investing in the fads, me-too imitators, or even in seemingly cutting-edge technologies without the ability to monetize and generate recurring revenue with a sustainable and scalable business model? How can we distinguish between the true innovators and the swarming imitators?

Question No. 2: What if the “non-disruptive” group of reasonably decent quality companies with seemingly “cheap” valuations, a fertile hunting ground of value investors, all need to have their longer-term profitability and balance sheet asset value to be “reset” by deducting a substantial amount of deferred innovation-related expenses and investments every year, given that they are persistently behind the innovation cycle against the disruptors, just to stay “relevant” to survive and compete? Let’s say this invisible expense and deferred liability in the balance sheet that need to be charged amount to 20 to 30% of the revenue (or likely more), its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lurks and lies in wait. Would you still think that they are still “cheap” in valuation?

Consider the déjà vu case of Kmart vs Walmart in 2000s and now Walmart vs Amazon. It is easy to forget that Kmart spent US$2 billion in 2000/01 in IT and uses the same supplier as Walmart – IBM. The tangible assets and investments are there in the balance sheet and valuations are “cheap”. Yet Kmart failed to replicate to compound value the way it did for Walmart. Now Walmart is investing billions to “catch up” and stay relevant. Key word is “relevancy” to garner valuation.

We now live in an exponential world, and as the Baupost chief and super value investor Seth Klarman warns, disruption is accelerating “exponentially” and value investing has evolved. The paradigm shift to avoid the cheap-gets-cheaper “value traps”, to keep staying curious & humble, and to keep learning & adapting, has never been more critical for value investors. We believe there is a structural break in data in the market’s multi-year appraisal (as opposed to “mean reversion” in valuation over a time period of 2-5 years) on the type of business models, the “exponential innovators”, that can survive, compete and thrive in this challenging exponential world we now live in. Tech-focused innovators with non-linear exponential growth potential are the most relevant multi-year investment trend and opportunity.  

During our value investing journey in the Asian capital jungles over the decade plus, we have observed that many entrepreneurs were successful at the beginning in growing their companies to a certain size, then growth seems to suddenly stall or even reverse, and they become misguided or even corrupted along the way in what they want out of their business and life, which led to a deteriorating tailspin, defeating the buy-and-hold strategy and giving currency to the practice of trading-in-and-out of stocks. On the other hand, there exists an exclusive, under-the-radar, group of innovators who are exceptional market leaders in their respective fields with unique scalable business models run by high-integrity, honorable and far-sighted entrepreneurs with a higher purpose in solving high-value problems for their customers and society whom we call H.E.R.O. – “Honorable. Exponential. Resilient. Organization.”, the inspiration behind the H.E.R.O Innovators Fund, (surprisingly) the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry.

The H.E.R.O. are governed by a greater purpose in their pursuit to contribute to the welfare of people and guided by an inner compass in choosing and focusing on what they are willing to struggle for and what pains they are willing to endure, in continuing to do their quiet inner innovation work, persevering day in and day out. There’s a tendency for us to think that to be a disruptive innovator or to do anything grand, you have to have a special gift, be someone called for. We think ultimately what really matters is the resolve — to want to do it, bring the future forward by throwing yourself into it, to give your life to that which you consider important. We aim to penetrate into the deeper order that whispers beneath the surface of tech innovations and to stand on the firmer ground of experience hard won through hearing and distilling the essence of the stories of our H.E.R.O. in overcoming their struggles and in understanding the origin of their quiet life of purpose, who opened their hearts to us that resilience and innovation is an art that can be learned, which can embolden all of us with more emotional courage and wisdom to go about our own value investing journey and daily life.

As the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused listed equities fund in the industry, we believe we are uniquely positioned as a distinctive and alternative investment strategy for both institutional and individual investors who seek to capture long-term investment returns created by disruptive forces and innovation without herding or crowding to invest in the highly popular megacap tech stocks, and also provide capital allocation benefit to investors in building optionality in their overall investment portfolio.

The H.E.R.O. HeartWare Weekly highlights interesting tech news and listed Asian emerging tech innovators with unique and scalable wide-moat business models to keep yourself well-informed about disruptive forces and innovation, new technologies and new business models coming up, and the companies that ride on and benefit from them in some of the most promising areas of the economy in Asia as part of our thought leadership for our ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund to add value to our clients and the community. Hope you find the weekly report to be useful and insightful. Please give us your candid feedback and harshest criticisms so that we can improve further to serve you better. Besides the BATTSS (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, TSMC, Softbank, Samsung), do also tell us which Asian tech entrepreneurs & CEOs whom you admire and respect and why – we will endeavor to do up profiles of them for sharing with the community. Thank you very much and have a beautiful week ahead.

Warm regards,
KB | kb@heroinnovator.com | WhatsApp +65 9695 1860
www.heroinnovator.com

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About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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