In the latest episode of Gen.T’s podcast Crazy Smart Asia, Peggy Choi, founder of Lynk, talks developing a company culture remotely, fundraising in the early days and growing as a leader
n today’s hyper-connected world, where everyone has access to millions of data points, having the right insights can mean the difference between failure and success for a company, big or small.
This explains why Peggy Choi’s knowledge-as-a-service platform Lynk has grown so rapidly. The company provides businesses with access to a pool of more than 840,000 thought leaders and experts from a wide range of industries.
In the last two years alone, Lynk has doubled its workforce, to 250 people across eight countries, and raised US$29 million in a Series B round earlier in 2021, which will fund its expansion in China and North America.
In a contemplative conversation, we discussed with her the challenges of building a company culture over Zoom, navigating early fundraising rounds as a female founder, and the importance of a “permanent beta” mindset.
Here are a few excerpts from the conversation. Click the audio player below to listen to the episode or subscribe via Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.
THE VALUE OF CONNECTIONS
“It’s incredibly important because that’s how we grow, how we learn. You don’t have all the time in the world, and the way you can develop yourself and grow your experiences other than experiencing things yourself is to talk to people.”
GETTING THE RIGHT PEOPLE ON BOARD—AND STAYING
“You want people who are actually firm believers of what you do, because that belief is what can help sustain them through painful periods. Startups have a growth expectation, [which means] sometimes you have to look at doubling your business within a certain period of time and that you’ve got to go at more than organic speed. So that belief in the vision is very important.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPANY CULTURE
“You’ve got to be intentional about what kind of culture you want to build, but at the same time, you have to understand that you can’t have full control over it as well. So how do you steer it?”
THE “PERMANENT BETA” MINDSET
“It’s [the mindset] that you’re constantly and always in beta. You’re always testing, you’re always improving and trying to find something to fix. [With] culture, you’re never at a perfect spot with it because it’s such a subjective thing that changes as people change. Also, as the organisation goes from 50 people to 200 people to a thousand, you’re going to require different kinds of micro-culture and firm-wide culture.”
RAISING EARLY-STAGE FUNDING
“For startups in the early stages, you don’t have a lot of data to show investors, so they are backing you as a person. Naturally, as there’s some level of subjectivity in that decision, it comes down to finding the right fit. Who can you work well with?”
GROWING WITH THE BUSINESS
“There was a period of time when all of a sudden I realised that I’m not just a founder, I’m not just an entrepreneur, I’m a boss. People are looking to me for guidance. Now, I think twice about what I say and how I convey that.”
Quotes are edited for clarity and brevity.