Although Kunal’s background is firmly entrenched in the financial world. His passion has always centered around the sciences and was the driving factor for founding S CAP. He began his career at Metlife and over time, transitioned to renowned financial institutions such as ABN AMRO, Royal Bank of Scotland, ANZ, and Bank of Singapore. While involved with the banking industry, he advised and managed investment portfolios of high-net-worth individuals as well as institutions across Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Follow him @scapconsultancy.
What is the first thing you did to turn your current business from an idea into a reality?
It’s well known that in the startup world there’s a Pioneer Gap where most early stage entrepreneurs struggle to gain traction and reach. And there can also be a huge disconnect between entrepreneurs and traditional investors. As an impact investor, I am personally passionate about changing the current landscape as it relates to innovations for the life sciences, solar energy and clean technology and the effects that can have on our society. But because of my investment background, I also understand investor concerns, which cause a reserved approach to early stage investing in these industries. So I went back to basics to disrupt the startup ecosystem in biotech and cleantech to launch the business builder model. I saw a need where entrepreneurs lacked a true advocate to help them go from the blueprint to scalability stage and develop technology that will truly excite and attract investors.
What is the scariest part of being a young entrepreneur and how can others overcome this fear?
One of the scariest parts can be making the conscious and deliberate choice to stick to your beliefs without getting pushed around. It’s very easy to feel like you have to conform to external pressures and fit a stereotype in order to succeed. But this is not the case at all. It is possible to achieve success by staying authentic to your true self, even if it means being more selective about who you choose to join your team or in whom you invest. You will be successful if you believe in your vision.
Were you ever told not to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams? Who told you that, what did they say and why did you ignore them?
Strangely the successful entrepreneurs encouraged my dream but each one of them wanted to modify it. Weaving all of their suggested models into one was, and continues to be, my recipe for success.
What is the No. 1 thing you wish you’d known starting out and how did you learn it?
Trust the person, just not the devil inside the person. No matter how seasoned you are in life, it’s still very easy to be wooed by fantastic claims that can cause you to leap into opportunities prematurely. I learned from personal experience that due diligence and thoughtful actions aren’t things that can be rushed. A couple of unsuccessful investments led me to understand why the majority of the entrepreneurs are unsuccessful. Consider it an expensive lesson, but it’s something I am always mindful of as I continue with S CAP.
What do you recommend all new founders do for their business — or their personal lives — that will help them the most?
Focus on that one thing you’re good at and ace it instead of doing it all yourself and doing it badly. I hear many people speak about being a “jack of all trades.” But it’s as if they forgot the second half of that phrase: ”master of none.” No one can do it all, and trying to spread yourself too thin only leads to failure.
How do you end each day and why?
I end every day by thanking God for the opportunity to make an impact on people’s lives. Gratitude is an attitude best foundation for success. It keeps me grounded and reminds me why I started S CAP and the greater goal behind it.
What is your best PR/marketing tip for business just starting up?
Highlight clearly what your business does and market it to a focused target audience. Don’t assume that people will automatically understand what your business is about or how it can help them – or that your target audience will find it. As enticing as it is to believe that if you build it they will come, this isn’t always the case. If you don’t take the time to really identify your target market and why they need you, it will be a constant struggle to build a true customer base.
What is your ultimate goal? What will you do if/when you get there?
With so much talk and little action, a lot has yet to be achieved. To me, being able to effectively address climate change and clinical research through the startup ecosystem is a major goal. There’s an extensive amount of innovation happening in the startup world for these industries, but so many of them are struggling for visibility and funding.
I’m very driven by the idea of creating a sustainable future. I’d like to celebrate a cancer-free society and love everything about this world that climate can’t change.