Thanks for the interview Jumpstart Magazine!

I was recently contacted by Jumpstart Magazine, the entrepreneur’s magazine in Hong Kong, about life after an acquisition.

Here’s an exert of the article which can be found here. Issue 11 of the magazine can be viewed online here .

There are a number of reasons why startups get bought: They could have a powerhouse team that could be a great addition to the acquirer, or technology that can be plugged into an existing product. Or perhaps they’re a friendly competitor with complementary product offerings.

In the case of transport app Taxiwise, which was an all-cash deal “in excess of seven figures,” it was an acqui-hire where co-founders Jean-Marc Ly, Truong Lam and Lawrence Tse were seen as key cogs to launching Ikky’s business.

Ly remembers making the shift from entrepreneur to employee after exiting his startup: “When my co-founders joined Ikky as full-time employees, it was a very different shift in terms of mindset which we had to learn quickly. We were not ‘founders’ so needed to operate within metrics and the boundary of our roles,” he said.

With the help of the Taxiwise co-founding team, Ikky “underwent different business model changes” and launched the app while signing up “a considerable amount of restaurants.”

Ly added that their new roles had pros and cons. “You had less of ‘wearing different set of hats’ which took a while to get used to. You do miss the founder way of thinking but know that you have more resources and are much more set up for success.”

Fast-forward to two years after the acquisition and the Taxiwise co-founders have moved on with their lives. While Tse went back to teaching, Ly said that he and Truong decided to move back to the US to be closer to friends and family.

“Since our move back to the US, Truong and I have been involved in advising other startups and joining the workforce as designers and growth marketers. We used our entrepreneurial experience to redefine any team we join and add a bit of scrappiness to it,” he said.



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Goodbye 2014 and Hello 2015!

Happy New Years to all and have a good holiday!

Its time to look back on what 2014 has brought and head toward a successful 2015. Thank you to all my friends and family who stood by me in the good and bad times.

Its also time to announce the closure of a chapter and the start of a new one; I will be moving back to California at the end of January. Its been a fun two and half years in Hong Kong but now is the right time. When you live out on your own and have been through so many highs and lows, it makes you think what are the most important things in life… and like the old story about the professor teaching his students what life is about and made popular on the internet, its time to focus on my golf balls. If you haven’t read the story, its worth a read here.

Its high time that I look toward getting my golf balls closer to my life and thus embark on another new journey, this time, at home close to where my family is.

Like the story, I too, once worried about the little things; the sands. My life became filled with worries, emotional rollercoasters and people who you shouldn’t have in your life. Experience and enduring pain helps you get pass that and learn from your mistakes… and made a better person. I don’t want to get too philosophical in this post but I advise people to overlook the small stuff and take care of the more important big stuff: friends, family, your health and following your dream.

My dream was always to do something out of the ordinary, to live on my own in a different country and experience all kinds of “moments” that can be cherished, as you grow older. I was never into having tons of material things, life was more about a journey to see and feel. As an ENFP, I viewed life as a big puzzle that you need to figure out how to put together, piece-by-piece. Along the way, I gained lifelong friends, valuable experience, self-discovery and self-reliance. I had broken hearts, broke some, learned to cook, sold a company, traveled to bunch of countries, rekindle old friendships, witness the growth of others, mentored young entrepreneurs and fell in love with the world again.

2015, I hope you will be as a-ma-zing as 2014 has been.

See you next year.

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A Post Dedicated to Paul Orlando

With all the news about my startup and getting inquiries left and right about how we did it, people don’t realized we never made it alone. Today, I would like to take a post to solely say Thank You to our mentor and friend Paul Orlando. Paul is one of the key person which contributed to our exit today because without him, there would be no Taxiwise.

We originally came to Hong Kong in the summer of 2012 to attend Paul Orlando’s Startups Unplugged Bootcamp, a three-month program to help young entrepreneurs gain insight knowledge on how to go about starting their first company. We learned so much in those three months without the distraction of home and family and were suppose to take that learning back with us to Silicon Valley.

The last week of the program, before we all had to say goodbye, Paul drops us a news; “Guys ill be starting AcceleratorHK with Steve Forte. You guys should join.” And so we applied with a new idea, later to be called Taxiwise, and did a little market research to throw on our application form and a funny intro video.

Paul was even our model in our funny cartoon video and our first customer testimonial to promote our early day services.

What we learned from Paul was something we will never trade. The experience we had working with him made us who we are today.

Paul has a new book out called Startup Sacrilege for the Underdog Entrepreneur which can be bought here.

Paul is back in California with his family and thank you again for everything. Taxiwise is as much as your baby as ours.

– Jean-Marc


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