This week we are introducing Anson Zeall, co-founder of CoinPip – a platform for international payments using Bitcoin instead of banks or PayPal. Anson joined our community while working with 500 Startups and shared his story.
# 4 : Anson Zeall, founder
I graduated as a Computer Scientist in Singapore back in 2004. My family’s business was not going well, and I was thinking of ways to help. While thinking and finding, I actually found Robert Kiyosaki’s book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and it changed my life. This book set me on the entrepreneurial path.
From 2004 to 2010 I was running a marketing company, but most importantly I was building my hedge fund. I taught myself finances and even quit my Master’s degree in Finances to teach myself. Around 2010, I stumbled upon Eric Ries’s “The Lean Startup” and this is when I joined the startup world.
In the last 3 years I have founded 3 startups in Singapore, the first two never made it, but they taught me more than any book about running a startup. All this knowledge I am now pouring into CoinPip.
Changing the Game for Money Transfers
We (my co-founder and I) started CoinPip more than a year ago with the idea of creating a Bitcoin payment processor. We help people change Singapore dollars for Hong Kong dollars, for example, through Bitcoin.
CoinPip helps businesses transfer money to freelancers, remote workers and other international payments using Bitcoin instead of banks or PayPal. This makes it way faster and cheaper, while making the money conversion almost automatically.
“I never thought of Bitcoin as a currency, and at the end, people rather use their home currency for business, Bitcoin is just the vehicle.“
While working on CoinPip, we had a very hard time getting traction, as Bitcoin is not very popular in Asia and a lot of companies still don’t really understand the system. Just around this time, we met 500 Startups in Singapore, and they were very interested in our project. A couple of weeks later we were flying to San Francisco to join the October batch. We had a very clear vision of replacing wire transfers and PayPal, and during our time in 500, we started moving away from merchant transactions and focusing on P2P transfers.
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Learning from Life
Entrepreneurship has taught me more about life than any book. I learned the bad, being very stubborn and seeing other projects fall in front of my eyes because I failed to see the mistake and correct it. But it is also a beautiful experience, the rollercoaster is more exciting every time, and the learning is invaluable.
In 500 Startups, I learnt that all startups are in the same boat. In Singapore, everyone complains about the market, legal and financial blocks, but seeing it here you see it’s a global problem. The difference is how you pick yourself up, going through the struggles that the greats have walked. If you just get to the top, the fall will kill you.
For future generations…
Don’t become an entrepreneur because you hate the job, in terms of Michael Gerber, don’t have an entrepreneur seizure. This is the wrong reason to do it, because entrepreneurship is very hard, with lots of learnings and no backup. If you burn the bridge, you have to go forward.
Read smart, think smarter
Books are an infinite source of knowledge and these three have helped me enormously:
– Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is a must.
– Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
– The Lean Startup by Eric Ries doesn’t help with how-tos, it helps with concepts.
My Motto in Life
I have to say it’s very similar to Bruce Lee’s Be like water; you must flow, take opportunities and move forward, never back.
My Motto In Business
Very simple: never give up
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