Accidental CEO

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Hi, my name is Tan Swee Yeong and I am the ‘accidental CEO’ of Hermiso Ecommerce Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Sumisho Ecommerce Malaysia Sdn Bhd). Since this is the first post, I will briefly explain how this company comes about (by chance!) and what is its main purpose going forward.

Sometime late in 2015, I received an email from one of my portfolio investees, Ian Chua of Hermo, asking me to take a look at the website which is being put up for sale. I got in touch with the transaction advisory company and after the initial meeting with the company’s representatives, decided against pursuing the deal due to the nature of its business (online grocery is extremely tough!) and the large amount of funding required to re-capitalise the company’s balance sheet. Somehow, a few weeks later, the company’s CEO contacted me again for coffee. So, I went along and to cut the long story short, he somehow convinced me to acquire the company and made me an offer I could not resist.

The acquisition was completed in early 2016. Thereafter, I had to put in place a painful but necessary business restructuring process to stabilise the company’s cash flow. The first few months was extremely stressful. I managed to raise a small round of funding from a local VC (which I guess is betting on me & my track record more than the business itself!). By mid 2016, I decided to pivot and change the business to become a Venture Builder with a twist. Not only we will incubate in-house ideas, we will also invest in early stage technology or e-commerce related companies and help them to grow their business further. After all, the latter is what i have been doing as an angel investor since 2009 (with some success!).

Fast forward to 2017 today, the company has invested in 4 companies and incubated 2 in-house ideas. It has also raised a slightly bigger round of funding from a group of highly successful entrepreneurs/investors. I contributed a chunk in this round too. Well, this might very well be my last and final gig so what is better than investing in myself, right? I will be revealing and talking more about these companies in due course. So stay tune!

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