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Sandhya Sriram on SE Asia's First Cell-Based Meat Startup, PHD to CEO and Being Celebrated As Women Scientist Founders

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Pass on all the knowledge and the skill that you've learned over and over again to someone else so that they can imbibe it and pass on that skill to someone else in the future. It's all about delegation. A leader always says "We as a team did it. We as a company did it." At the end of the day, it's the product and the company that shines. - Sandhya Sriram

Jeremy Au: [00:00:00] Welcome to Brave Dynamics. This is your host, Jeremy Au. Leadership is harder than it looks. As a proven founder and Harvard MBA, I interview courageous entrepreneurs, executives and investors every week. I also share my frontline experiences, coaching insights and own professional development journey. If you're stepping up as a new leader, founding a startup, or venturing into the great unknown, this is the podcast for you.

Dr. Sandhya Sriram is the CEO and cofounder of Shiok Meats, a cell-based clean meat company in Singapore. Their mission is to bring delicious, clean and healthy seafood and meats by harvesting from cells instead of animals. Shiok Meats brings cell-based crustacean meats like shrimp, crab, and lobster to your table. They have been featured by The Economist, Reuters, Forbes, World Economic Forum, TechCrunch, Channel NewsAsia, TechinAsia, and Nas Daily. Their investors include Y Combinator, Big Idea Ventures, Entrepreneur First, Monde Nissin, Lionheart Ventures, Aera VC, Beyond Impact, and Boom Capital.

Dr. Sandhya is also the Director & Founder of SciGlo, an edtech and event management company that serves as a one-stop solution for scientists and students globally. She is also the Cofounder of Biotechin.Asia, a virtual newsroom that covers simplified and curated research and insights for all stakeholders in the biotech and healthcare ecosystem. She had previously worked as the Senior Programme and Business Development Manager & Senior Research Fellow for the Agency for Science, Technology and Research [A*STAR].

Dr. Sandhya earned her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at the Nanyang Technological University [NTU]. Her thesis from NTU explored the role of myostatin in oxidative stress in skeletal muscle. She also graduated with First Class Honors twice from the University of Madras with a Master's Degree in Biotechnology and a Bachelor's Degree in Microbiology.

Her work has been featured on Forbes Women in Tech and TEDx conferences. In her free time, she writes blog posts for Nature Biotechology, and produces influencer content at Mogul.

You can follow her at www.linkedin.com/in/sandhyasriram/.

Hey Sandhya. So good to have you on the show.

 Sandhya Sriram: [00:02:37] Hi, Jeremy. Nice to be here and thank you for inviting me.

Jeremy Au: [00:02:41] Everyone's always so amazed by your team's journey, really building out Singapore's alternative protein as a leader, not just in the region, but also globally. I still remember the time when I was flipping through The Economist and I saw them mentioning Shiok Meats, and I had to message you and say, "Hey, just saw your startup make it to the big times." And it was cool to see all the progress you've made from stage to stage.

Sandhya Sriram: [00:03:06] Yeah.

Jeremy Au: [00:03:06] Thank you.

Sandhya Sriram: [00:03:07] It's been a roller coaster ride. I think every startup is, but when you're running a deep tech startup in one part of the world where you're the first to ever do it, it's like a roller coaster 10 times. And it's a journey that's exhilarating, at the same time very scary. I'm very honest about it. I've done a couple of startups before this but this has been one of the toughest, but at the same time, the most exciting I would say, so it's pretty good. The press and media have been very kind to us. We've been getting a lot of good press, which is great. We like to do that because it actually encourages consumer education more than anything. It is a novel field that we're working on and we're working on food and everybody likes to eat. So we need to talk about it a bit more to make them understand why alternative protein is required, why Shiok Meats is required, and why we need to start thinking about food a different way.

 Jeremy Au: [00:04:02] Amazing. Can't wait to dive into the gritty reality of operational life versus the gloss of the external media love. For those who haven't had a chance to know you yet, could you share what your journey has been from your perspective?

 Sandhya Sriram: [00:04:17] Sure. So currently I'm the CEO and co-founder of Shiok Meats, which is a cell-based seafood company. So we work on crustacean meat, which is meat from shrimp, crab, lobster, but we make it using stem cells instead of animals. So it's ethical, cruelty-free, no antibiotics, so better for health. Good for animals because we don't kill them, good for the environment because we use lesser energy, lesser resources, and also is sustainable in the sense, because we don't have enough seafood left in the ocean for us to consume. So why I mentioned that first is, you can see it's a mix of food with biotech, with business, with consumer education and all of it. So I would say the past 35 years of me being on this planet Earth has culminated onto one thing that I'm very passionate about, which is food and science.

So my background is, I have been a stem cell scientist for about 10 years of my life, starting from undergrad to masters, to PhD, to postdoc. So work with stem cells throughout and I love stem cells, was a scientist always in my head, in my body and my soul. But around 2014, I started up a blog with a couple of my postdoc friends, where we started writing science in simple English for everybody to understand, because we felt that mainstream media was sensationalizing science too much. And people were getting a bit confused. Simple things like "This drug cures cancer", but if it does cure, why are people still dying from that cancer? But the study was probably done in a mouse or in a monkey and not in humans yet, but the sensationalized title says that it's already cured cancer, but it's not in humans. We started writing titles like "Cure for cancer in mice and not in humans yet," or something like that.

So started up as a blog, which ended up becoming my first entrepreneurial venture. It became a science news website and an actual business that made money and generated revenue. And that was a deep throw into something that I never imagined that I would do in my life. Like I mentioned, I was always a scientist, wanted to do research throughout my life. My dream was to be a professor at a university, have my own lab, my own students and postdocs and so on. But I think the first step into entrepreneurship via Biotechin.Asia, which was the first business, threw me out. One thing that I realized that was I actually enjoyed it. I never knew that I had that acumen in me and that trade in me where I could go and sell a business to people outside.

I could do a lot of talking, because as a scientist I was such an introvert, always liked to be in the lab. With Biotechin.Asia, I found out another side of me that I enjoy. It was still with the science. I think science will never leave what I do. It is a part of my life from day one. And that was my first step into entrepreneurship, which made me think about what I want to do for the rest of my life. So that's when also I quit being a scientist and took a huge leap and ended up taking a business development in a scientific research institute. I basically went to my previous director and told him "I don't enjoy research anymore. I want to learn the business of science. Can you take a risk with me? Give me a job for a year. I want to understand finance, budgeting, IP commercialization, patents. All of the other not fancy things of science, and I want to do that."

And he actually gave me the chance and I'm very thankful for him doing that. I loved it. I enjoyed it. I ended up doing that for about three years before quitting that as well, and in 2018 coming up with a full on confidence that I can start up a deep tech biotech company on my own. And that's when Shiok Meats was born.

Jeremy Au: [00:08:10] Amazing. Take us back to that room. How did you feel when you finally left the scientific world? What was it like to take the plunge? Were you already working on some ideas on the side? Did you join a program? How were you feeling and what were you doing during that time?

Sandhya Sriram: [00:08:27] I think a really good question. There are two phases to this. So one phase is when I quit being a scientist, but was still a business manager in a scientific institute. I think that was a revelation of its own. I realize that there's so much to the other side of science that a lot of us don't know about. We all knew about the actual lab work, the results, the publications, but what about converting one of these lab products into an actual product that you can sell to a consumer? That was what I was doing. I was trying to take academic research out of the lab and push it into a hospital or clinic or the industry to actually make it a product. And I found out that less than 1% of the science actually made it down that line, which was shocking because multi billion dollars go into this industry.

I just couldn't settle with it. And I had a feeling that I have to quit healthcare slowly. I need to go into something where in my lifetime I can see the product with the research that I do or my colleagues do or so on. So, that was first phase. But I stuck on to doing that for three years because I really wanted to. It was like an MBA on a job, literally, and so getting a degree I actually got real life experience and it made perfect sense to me. But in 2018 I was equipped with all of this knowledge and by then I was four years into learning about cell-based meats. I came across the first time when I was running Biotechin.Asia, which was my first company. And I was very intrigued by using stem cells for meat and seafood.

So I've been a vegetarian all my life because of ethical and religious and cultural reasons and so on. But I've seen many people eat meat and seafood and they enjoy it. But whenever I go back and ask them a question, "Do you feel guilty about it?" All of them have at least a small percentage of guilt, but I realized that you cannot convert everyone to become vegans and vegetarians. That's just not going to work and it's going to tip the scales for the earth as well in terms of environment. So we just had to find a solution where people can still enjoy seafood and meats, but without harming animals, the environment and themselves. So I think cell-based needs ticked all the boxes for me. And I was obsessively reading about it for four years before 2018.

And then around June, 2018, I decided to quit my full time job. I joined Entrepreneur First, a founder program, like an accelerator . I got selected for it but within a couple of weeks before joining the program, I was contemplating what I wanted to do as part of EF, what I wanted to work on. I definitely knew I wanted to start a stem cell related company. I definitely knew I want to be the founder, but I definitely also knew that I don't want to be the scientist on the team. I wanted to be the business person. So, that was the mindset that I went into EF with and somewhere along the line during EF I realized that Shiok Meats is what I want to do. Start a cell-based meat and seafood company in Singapore, in Asia, catering to the Asian population. And that's exactly what I did. And I think it's the best choice of my life that I've made honestly.

Jeremy Au: [00:11:37] Amazing journey. Across your career, what have you learned about leadership?

Sandhya Sriram: [00:11:44] I think I've definitely learned how not to be a bad leader. Can I just say that I've had really bad bosses, I've had really good bosses as well, but I have seen the worst of it all, honestly. At least for me, it was the worst. And I think through that, I've learned what not to do as a leader or as a boss. I'm glad that you used the term leader rather than boss or employer, because that's exactly what I am in Shiok and what I intend to be. I think everybody who joins Shiok owns a part of the company in some way or the other. And it's just having a leader to show them the direction, a sense of milestone and goal and leading them towards that. That's exactly what a leader does, and that's exactly what I want to do.

My idea of being a leader is: pass on all the knowledge and the skill that you've learned over and over again to someone else so that they can imbibe it and that way they can pass on that skill to someone else in the future. So it's all about delegation. It's all about not having a sense of ownership of doing certain things, not holding onto it and say, "I did it." The "I" should never come, a leader always says "We as a team did it. We as a company did it." At the end of the day, it's the product and the company that shines. The team behind it is a collective push rather than one person or two people. So I've definitely learned what not to do.

I've definitely learned that a certain percentage of freedom is required for all your employees. They have to have the ownership, but that comes with you letting them be rather than asking them to stick to certain timings or certain rules and regulations within the company and so on. Of course, discipline is important, but you have to draw a thin line between freedom and... I don't want to run a company where I have robots. I have robots for that. I need people who think out of the box, who are very excited to come in every day. And I always tell this to my employees, I don't know if it's a good or a bad thing. For me it's a good thing, but I always tell them, "The minute you wake up one morning and you're like, "Oh, do I have to go to work today? Oh no, it's so boring." And the minute you feel that please quit your job and find another one."

And that's exactly what I did throughout my career. The minute I felt that, "Oh my God, do I have to get up today? Do I have to go? Do I have to see that person?" Is the time I started looking for my other job. So people come and go, you can't have your employees for the entire span of the company. I wish I could, but people want to grow differently, they want to try different things. So the minute you're unhappy with your job is when you have to move on. And I think that sums up my leadership of sorts to an extent.

Jeremy Au: [00:14:38] Amazing set of insights there. You've really seen a lot and there were good times and there must have been bad times. What hurdles have you overcome along the way?

Sandhya Sriram: [00:14:50] So I would pick up three main hurdles I think. For me, I think personally the first hurdle is more personal, in my head kind of a thing, was can I quit being a scientist and start taking up more of a leadership business role in the sciences? I think it's like getting on a roller coaster, but 10 times the ride and going on the loop for a continuous 10 minutes. Just imagine a rollercoaster is generally 30 seconds to a minute, so going through that and going through that over and over and over again for years to come, was I ready for that? Will my family be ready for that? Will they be able to support me? I have a kid, I have a husband. All of these were there.

And also the fear of failure. I think all of us fear failure to an extent. Yes, you fail and you learn a lot, but the fear of failure is always there. So I'm like, "What if I get into the business, start a company and it does well, but what if I fail as a leader, as a CEO, as a co-founder, but the company does well?" But still the limelight will be on me saying that "She failed," that kind of a thing. So I think that sense of being scared, but at the same time having the confidence, but still being scared, I think it's a very good mix. And after I spoke to a lot of entrepreneurs, all of us are on the same boat I would say. It's a scary journey, but all of us have the vision and this mission that we want to help the world. And I think that trumps the scary part.

So, that was one thing. That was one challenge. But I think my husband's been my best friend, all my life. I've known him for many, many years. I met him when I was in school. So he's always my sounding board. I always go back to him and throw it at him. And I'm like, "What do you think?" And then he comes back saying, "If you don't try, you'll never know. So just go ahead and try it." So literally that was my personal hurdle of sorts.

The second was I think, starting Shiok. We started off and then the of course every hurdle for every deep tech company is funding. So we started up in Singapore, which is the other side of the world from Silicon Valley, where most of the investors and money and most of the cell based meat companies were. So we were starting in a very different geographical location. Two female scientists, founders who quit their daytime well-paid daytime jobs. Two Asians who did that. And I think it was so out of the blue. People were like, "You're crazy. What's wrong with you? You were in a great job. Why are you doing this? You're ending your life and career.

We had a lot of very supportive angel investors, but not a lot of the Asian investors wanted to take a risk on us. It's a very risk averse funding atmosphere in Asia, as you might know. So it's that we had to go through. But I'm happy to say that we have been very, very blessed to raise quite a bit of funding and have the best investors who support us on a daily basis. And that's exactly what we need. So I think we quickly crossed that hurdle. I say quickly, but of course it's a lot of sleepless nights. I was literally doing rough math and I came up with a number. I've done about 5,000 pitches in the last two years, literally of the same thing. Shiok Meats is a cell-based meat company. The same thing over and over again, with the same enthusiasm or even more enthusiasm and passion. So, that's what it is.

And I think the third biggest hurdle I would say for us is, as a deep tech biotech company, we need access to a lab. And when you're a startup company and when you want to prove a really, really new technology, a hypothesis that you have in your head, you need access to a lab, but you don't have as much money. So you don't have money to build a lab, buy the equipment and so on. Honestly, in Asia, there is no bio hacker space or space where you can just rent a table for a month and a bench for a month, use equipment. We literally had nothing and nobody was willing to support us. So we ended up getting our first lab space in an offshore island off of Singapore, at the Marine Institute in St. John's island. So I used to take a boat every morning and then go isolate stem cells from shrimp, and then take the boat in the afternoon to come back. And if you miss the evening boat, you have to stay on the island.

These are literally some things that we had to do. And then quickly we raised some more money to set up our lab and so on. But I think it was such a big hurdle at that time, I think between Ka Yi and me, Ka Yi was my co-founder. We both were like, "Are we ever going to get lab space to even try our idea?" So I think these are the three main hurdles.

 Jeremy Au: [00:19:29] Just the image of you taking a boat to St. Johns Island and back. Wow. I've had some crazy founder stories, but this one is probably number one.

 Sandhya Sriram: [00:19:39] I should say I get seasick. So it wasn't the best experience at all.

Jeremy Au: [00:19:45] Just goes to show how much conviction and how much perseverance you just put in. Oh my gosh, this is amazing. Well, it sounds like you you've really figured out how to cross every obstacle that has presented itself. How did you learn how to do that? Did you tap on any support or resources?

Sandhya Sriram: [00:20:03] So I should say this. I never take no for an answer. Let it be an investor, a collaborator, an employee. Whoever it is, I don't take no for an answer. I don't take no for an answer from my husband or my kid as well. But I can say no. So yeah, I don't take no for an answer and I have a great skill of negotiation. So I'm a master negotiator. It's self-proclaimed but I am that and I just don't let it go. So I think Ka Yi also is that person, who definitely doesn't let it go very easily. So between the two of us if we hear a no, we're like "Let's just go for it and make it happen." We will convert the no to a yes or a maybe at least, and then we'll take it from there.

So everything from just a simple thing like not having the lab space. So we checked every university, every research institute within Singapore. At one point we were considering using some of my contacts in India where I did my undergrad and masters to use their lab. So the plan was to fly over to India, use their lab for a while, and then come back to Singapore with the cells and figure things out. We thought of everything. So we did all of that but one thing that we never thought of was move, to the US which a lot of our investors wanted us to do, because we wanted to be unique. We wanted to cater to the APAC market, which is where 70% of the world's population lives. So we wanted to stick to our guns about that alone. So those were some of the things.

The next thing was, I was just thinking, I was like "More lab space, what do we do? Do we go to India? Do we spend money to do all of that? How do we think about it?" And I remember about four years before that in 2014 or 15, I met a marine biologist at one of the events, like a conference. And I actually interviewed her as part of my blog Biotechin.Asia and I remembered her. So immediately I dropped her an email saying, "Hey, how are you? It's been quite a while. Are you still working at the Marine Institute? Do you think we can get some lab access?" And she replied within an hour. And she was like, "God yes. But it's at St. John's island." So it was literally that. And I said, "Well, sure. How much do you want us to pay?" And she said, "Oh, it's very inexpensive" and all of that.

And I haven't spoken to her for three years, three and a half years, but I think that spark of a connection and her actually being able to open doors for us was such a big thing. And I just met her a couple of months back and I was like, " Shiok couldn't have happened if not for you, literally." So just small things. Between Ka Yi and me, we have a lot of connections. Ka Yi did her undergrad and PhD in the US, I did my undergrad, Masters in India, PhD in Singapore. Ka Yi has a connection to Australia as well because her husband lives there. So we use our connections and somehow or the other, get resources and get things done and so on.

Jeremy Au: [00:22:53] That's so amazing. What are some common misconceptions that people have about the alternative protein space?

Sandhya Sriram: [00:23:00] Yeah. So I think a couple of things is, it is a new industry. It's very novel. The whole industry is less than five years old. So the first time anybody heard that stem cells can be used to make meat was less than five years back and it was in Europe by a Dutch scientist. But then soon enough, of course, the US jumped on the bandwagon and a couple of companies opened in Southeast Asia and Singapore. We were the first ever company in 2018. So less than two years, around two years ago. I think first misconception that people have is, it's like Impossible and Beyond. That's the first thing. So first thing you go back and tell them, "No. This is not plant based. This is not made from soy or pea or plant proteins. It's actually meat. It's biologically, chemically, to the DNA level it's actual meat. But it doesn't come from a dead animal."

The second is, "Oh, it's GM, it's genetically modified." So we are one of the very few companies that actually don't use genetic modification and we don't intend to. Not that GM is harmful, actually nobody's ever proven that it is, but GM is expensive. So we don't want to add price to the product. It's a food product. It has to be affordable. So, no, not all cell-based meats are GM.

Third, I think is, "It's grown in the lab. It's Frankenmeat. It's chemical. It's grown in the lab." For me, I don't want to say "No, it's not grown to in the lab." What I counter with is, "Where do you think your first chocolate or your chocolate drink, or your hot chocolate or coffee or tea or whatever it is. Where do you think it was first formulated or tested? It was always done in a lab. It's a food lab. You start off in a lab." But eventually what you're eating never comes from a lab. It comes from a food-safe manufacturing facility. And that's exactly what cell-based meats does. We do the initial research testing, make sure it's safe, it's clean, it's tasty. All of that in the lab, but eventually it's going to be in a facility that looks like a brewery, but instead of beer it's meats. That's exactly what it is. So it's a food safe manufacturing facility, very similar to every other place where you get your milk from, your cheese from, your chocolate drink from, everything.

So that's I think the third biggest misconception, and these three are what we tend to focus a lot on and get people to understand, that the future needs to be thought differently. And the way of you're eating food and thinking about food needs to be different as well.

Jeremy Au: [00:25:31] One thing I noticed is that you're one of the few parent founders in Southeast Asia, there's quite a generation of founders who have ended up becoming parents in the US now. But definitely Southeast Asia parent founder ship is relatively new as well. So how do you feel about that?

Sandhya Sriram: [00:25:49] So by parent founders, you mean I'm a parent before I started the company?

Jeremy Au: [00:25:54] What's it like to have two families. The family of your startup, raising another family. Do you have any tips for people who are thinking to themselves like, "Oh, I'm a parent, can I become a founder?" Or "I'm a founder? Am I going to be able to run a business, becoming a parent?" Any tips or tricks out there?

Sandhya Sriram: [00:26:11] Actually to tell you the truth, parent founders are the best founders according to me, because being a parent you have learned multitasking. You've learned patience. You have learned to hear a lot of nos and a lot of cries. So if you've gone through these four things, you can actually be a better founder, because you will face all of those four things again when you start a company. So for me, when I started Biotechin.Asia, my first company, when my son was less than a year old, and I think I was throwing myself down a bit but it made sense at the end of it.

Second company, which was SciGlo, which I haven't spoken about. It's an event management company that does science events. I started that in 2016 when my son was about three. Started Shiok Meats when my son was five. One thing that I did do from day one with my son is, to make him understand that his mom is a working mother and he's going to see very less of me, but when I'm with him, I'm at my 100% with him. So I would honestly say if you set expectations right and if you set the rules to an extent, set the base to an extent from day one, and make sure your partner's very supportive, you have a very good support system around you. Whether it be your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, your mother, father, helper, whatever it is. Make sure you have a very strong support system. And I would say, never say no for any help. So if someone says, "Can I take your kid for three hours and play with them?" I'm like "Take. Bye." Gives me three hours of working on things.

So for me, it was all that. But with running Biotechin.Asia and SciGlo, I was still having a full time job. So it means it was double the work. But I think my partner was very supportive, my mother was supportive and so on. But one conversation that I did have before starting Shiok was literally this. One night I was speaking to my husband and I'm like, "I'm going to quit my job. I'm going to let it all go. And this is the first time in my life I'm going to borrow money. So I'm going to borrow money from you. You have to support me at least for the next year. Will you be able to?" And it was an honest open conversation. And he said, "What? Just go for it. If you fail, it's fine. If you succeed it's great." And he's a businessman, he's an entrepreneur himself. So I think that push was there.

But I also told him that you will be seeing very, very less of me. And you have to be seeing a lot more of our child. You'll have to take care of him and so on. And one thing, what he told me was "I'll take a step back in my business because my business is already well settled and everything's fine. You need to start off. So I'll take a step back. You put 10 steps ahead and you go for it." So I think we managed to balance it out. And it's all about open communication at the end of the day. But what being a parent has definitely taught me is multitasking, patience and how to handle and juggle multiple things at the same time. But also teach me how to concentrate on certain things at certain point of time. So when I'm with my son, I'm truly  with my son and not doing anything else.

Jeremy Au: [00:29:18] That's such an amazing set of learnings, honestly. And I agree with you. Your partner that you've married, you've committed to be there through thick and thin. And that's a big conversation because startups are really the thin side of life, and then children is a big commitment as well. One thing that comes up a lot has been about diversity and inclusion across tech leadership and also founding teams of startups. And so obviously it has been a big push globally for more representation. How do you think about that for yourself and your founding team?

Sandhya Sriram: [00:29:51] So honestly, between Ka Yi and me we never thought that we will be celebrated as women scientists. And interestingly, we were celebrated with the gender tag to us in the West and not in the East. So in the East we were celebrated as scientists who became entrepreneurs, but in the West we are celebrated as women scientists or women entrepreneurs, which is very interesting to us. The light that's been thrown upon our achievements are very different in different parts of the world. But we understand where it comes from, because everybody's been reading the news and we know what's happening all around the world. Personally, for Ka Yi and me, we haven't faced any in your face discrimination or people who have said that "Oh, you're female, I won't fund you. You're female. You won't survive" and stuff like that. Personally, we haven't, but we've heard enough stories of enough people facing that, that we are in the middle of it.

 

So, one thing I would say is in the future... I just turned into an angel investor. So I just invested into my first company. It has a female co-founder in it, but that wasn't the biggest push. Of course the biggest push was the product itself and the technology, but definitely an added advantage that it had a woman co-founder. And in my future, I want to invest more and support companies. And I think my mandate would definitely be that you have at least one woman co-founder. But it shouldn't be like, "Oh, just because I need money from that fund, I'm going to have a woman co-founder." It shouldn't be that. She has to be an important part of the team. And that's how my mandate and my thought process is.

 

Given where we are, I feel one way the world is going towards more inclusivity, but on the other hand, we are completely not even taking into consideration inclusivity at all in certain places. So, yes, I think we need to talk about it a lot more, read about it a lot more, listen about it a lot more. And then things will start opening up. We have been funded by some women mandated funds, and we are very happy to be part of their portfolio. I think for them, it's about celebrating women and also celebrating Asians as entrepreneurs.

 

I'm from India, Ka Yi's from Singapore, we are Asians. And I think celebrating that also is big for us. And I'm an Indian who left India many years ago and moved to Singapore and have been here for more than 12 years. Fitting into everything, fitting into that space, fitting into what is right, I think all of that has taken a while. And I forgot to mention this, but being a parent, you also have selective hearing. So sometimes you just listen to what you want to hear and negate it out, but not ignoring the fact that you need to talk about it.

Jeremy Au: [00:32:36] One last question. If you could go back in time  10 years ago, what advice would you give yourself back then?

Sandhya Sriram: [00:32:45] If I could go back in time 10 years ago, what advice would I give myself? I would probably say, see this is what I say now to a lot of potential entrepreneurs. I tell them that, "Go for it, try it. If you don't try it, you'll never know whether you like it." I would have probably told that to me 10 years ago, and have probably started my entrepreneurship journey a little earlier than where I started. That would be my push towards it, and probably had a bit more failures rather than successes before I went into this full on success mode. Like I mentioned that personal scary hurdle that I had to go through, if I had gone through it when I was a little younger, that would have been probably better. But I'm wiser by age, so it's okay.

Jeremy Au: [00:33:34] Awesome. Thank you so much Sandhya.

Sandhya Sriram: [00:33:36] Sure. Thank you for having me. And I really enjoyed this podcast. I think you asked a lot of personal and growth questions that I'm happy to talk about. And if anybody needs to reach me, I guess you can link them to my LinkedIn.

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