The Asia InsurTech Podcast was catching up with Harprem Doowa, a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Eazy Digital. We spoke about his new venture Eazy Digital and had an honest conversation what it takes to build a successful startup.
Listen to our other episodes with Prem here.
Find the transcript of our conversation below.
Michael Waitze 0:00
Are you sure? Yes, I am. Hi, this is Michael Waitze and welcome back to the Asia InsurTech Podcast. Do you like that I have to read it because I can’t remember that, anyway, today we are joined by Harprem Doowa, a co-founder of Eazy Digital. Okay, we’ll get to that in a second. Sure, which is the kind of microphone this is, this is gonna be terrible. Okay. It’s great to have you in the studio by the way. I do feel like these conversations here face to face. Much better, just much better, can’t be replaced by the virtual. I love the virtual I do a lot of it, you know, over the internet stuff. But this, I think is irreplaceable. How are you?
Harprem Doowa 0:40
Very good. Very good. Thanks for having me back here again.
Michael Waitze 0:42
It’s my pleasure. It’s been a while, but I say this to you, every time I see you. I kind of feel like even if we don’t see each other for a year, like I really pay attention to what’s going on in your life.
Harprem Doowa 0:53
I appreciate that. It’s like a groupie.
Michael Waitze 0:58
It’s not that it’s just that the world is bifurcated between, like people that you respect and you don’t. And I respect you.
Harprem Doowa 1:04
Thank you really appreciate it.
Michael Waitze 1:06
Yeah. And because of that, I want to keep up with what you’re doing. And the way I do that is through LinkedIn, and also through Facebook, right. And you’re not a prolific posted on Facebook. So this stuff that’s there to me has meaning. Do you know what I mean? And that’s why that’s why I follow it. And also, because you’re a serious guy. Anyway, let’s get back to this founder, co founder thing, what happened?
Harprem Doowa 1:27
So I did have a co founder for the platform, that I’m building Eazy Digital, but we realized that the time commitments from both of us were going to be different, he already had another business that we’re running. So just had a very straightforward conversation and said, Look, I think it’s best for both of us that you’re still part of the company, you still have equity in the company. But let’s face it, you’re not going to take the time or the effort as a co founder, would you be okay to transition over to an investor of the company as an angel investor, drop down the equity and therefore your commitments are also a lot less. And I just take the company forward in the direction that I need to take it to grow it. And it was a direct, straightforward conversation. And he agreed. And that’s where we are now.
Michael Waitze 2:07
So was it hard to do that?
Harprem Doowa 2:09
It was hard for me initially, because I was worried about how the reaction was going to be I was worried about, you know, conflict, I didn’t want to have a conflict with this guy as well, right? Because he’s a friend, he’s a, he’s a good friend. And it’s always difficult to start that conversation. But it’s like a bandaid. Eventually, I’m like, Look, if the longer I delay, this, the worse is going to get for me, I just need to rip it off and do it in the nicest way possible. And it made sense. So for me, it was actually coming from a very straightforward perspective. So I told him, Look, I’m gonna keep putting money into this company, I’m gonna keep trying to grow it. Are you willing to match me and keep doing that as a co founder? And he’s like, look, I have other commitments that are similar, right? I don’t think I’m gonna keep putting in more. So let’s have that conversation. I think that’s where it stemmed from. So coming in from that perspective, was it was very clear cut as well. And we both came to a conclusion.
Michael Waitze 2:52
Can we go up about 35,000 feet on this? How necessary? Do you think it is to have a co founder, not for you, right, not in this situation. But if you back up and think about it, I go back and forth on this, right? Yeah, like, you know, I’ve been building something for the last like four or five years, right. And it’s just hard working with other people and finding the right balance. Because a lot of people do come to me and say, I really want to help I want to be involved. But I’ve got two other things going on. And I can only give you 28% of my time. And I’m like, I’m just not interested. Because I do because I do 100% Yeah, sorry. Go ahead.
Harprem Doowa 3:28
No, I think you’re absolutely right. I think the balance now it actually comes down to how much commitment can that person put in and eventually, I always think it comes down to one person actually having the majority. So you might have a co founder, but they don’t have to be the majority, you have to have the final say, or you or that person doesn’t matter how you balance out someone has to have the final say and clear authority on which direction to choose. Because the the worst kinds of partnerships, and I can share like a story before this as well. Like, I had another company that I set up after I left bolttech was a mining company cryptocurrency mining. And it worked really well. I mean, I was bringing in like, you know, 30 million baht and sales a month, which is absolutely amazing for a company that just started like two three months. Exactly. I know how to sell let’s just put it that way. So and then we had a three way partnership where we own 33% each, and we you know, the worst thing work, you know, what’s worse than a partnership between two people is a partnership between three people. Correct? And then eventually we dissolve that partnership. But you know, whatever we did in the crypto space kept going the partners at called the customers we had we’re still getting service and it’s still taking care of but we had to dissolve that partnership because yeah, it just didn’t work when you have equal shares.
Michael Waitze 4:41
How long did it take you to figure this out? Three months? Yeah. But it’s not that long, right? No, but it’s so tricky, right? This subtlety between like who’s in charge and who isn’t in charge? Did you feel like at any point sorry for the crypto thing, right because you’ve come out of the Frank experience. We can go all the way back to Moxie as well and to the pet business. Right. But you’ve come out of all these experiences. And maybe you’re slightly tired. I’m guessing you I don’t know. And maybe you’re thinking, Okay, I’ll do this 1/3 1/3 1/3 thing, but that person can be in charge. Did you ever have that feeling? Or were you just like, I think I need to run this thing too.
Harprem Doowa 5:15
It starts off thinking that you can do that. But then the more the business runs, the more you realize that shit, I better just take charge of it.
Michael Waitze 5:22
Right? So is leadership, like, because I think there’s a larger commentary about leadership, right? It can be learned, and I think you’ve probably learned a ton about how to be a better leader, but probably not about I want to be or don’t want to be a leader. Does that make sense?
Harprem Doowa 5:41
It does. And I want to be a leader.
Michael Waitze 5:43
Just naturally gravitates, that’s, that’s what I mean. Like, I’m sitting there running my thing, right? And I think, okay, if I bring this person in that person, and I’ll just leave that stuff to them. And at the end of the day, I can’t
Harprem Doowa 5:58
You know, for me, it’s actually if I have to really dig down deep to, like, understand why I actually want to be leader, I think, because I feel if I don’t, and somebody else makes that decision, I could end up blaming them or something goes wrong or being resenting them if something goes wrong. And that’s just a very personal thing. You know, I don’t mean to do it, I don’t want to do it. But it just so happens that happens that way.
Michael Waitze 6:18
When I was I’m gonna say 19 or 20 years old. Let’s just put it in the middle at 19 and a half, because I think you can be 19 I don’t think you’re gonna be 25 and a half, by the way, but I think below 20 It’s still halfway there.
Harprem Doowa 6:30
I’m still a teenager. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Maybe I’ll
Michael Waitze 6:33
Maybe, I’ll tell you a funny story. But my girlfriend’s father at the time said to me, you can either live life or let him live you. And the idea for me was, if you make the decision, you can’t complain about it later. Yeah. Does that make sense? Yes, it does. You know what I mean, that array dying by your own sword. But you have to right? Yeah. And I think this is one of the things that I try to teach my daughter is, I don’t know what to do is a common refrain I think for a teenager and a young adult. It doesn’t matter though. Just choose something. Right? Just decide, because if you decide, you’ll work with it better than if I decide for you. And later, you’re just like, Why did my dad tell me to do that.. Right. Like, I have my own ideas, but they’re not relevant for you. How do I feel about her?
Harprem Doowa 6:33
Yeah, no, but I mean, look, I think the world also works that where they, let’s face it, there are more passive people than active people in the world, generally speaking, like, you know, when a leader wants to take charge, their chances of a group allowing for that leader to actually get up there sure, is much higher than somebody who just says, I want to be a follower. There are tons of followers out there. So I realized that, you know, if I’m going to be the type of person who complains about somebody else’s decision, I might as well be the one making that decision.
Michael Waitze 7:43
Yeah. Because even if you make the same decision in the end, at least, it’s on you. Correct. I could not agree with this more. And that’s actually one of the things that I’ve learned. Because remember, when I was at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, I was working for other people. I mean, at the end of my career, I had my own desk. Right. So I was making decisions, but it was really late. And I think I’ve learned a lot more doing this, than I did doing that, if that makes any sense.
Harprem Doowa 8:07
So I found a balance. Now back to like, the whole co-founder, founder thing that you were asking originally, right? My My solution to that is, you know, probably moving forward, I’m not going to have a co founder, but I’ll have a founding team. Now it’s very clear that the team works under me works for me, but they are part of the team. And they are part of the solution. They have equity in the company, they have a stake in the company, and they are bouncing board for me to get the ideas all but at the end of the day, I make the decision.
Michael Waitze 8:31
So how important is it? Do you think for people that are on the founding team to have equity? Very? How do you decide how much to give though.
Harprem Doowa 8:39
Man a it’s a ballpark. It’s a guess. Like, look, there’s to some extent, I can throw numbers that it’d be a little bit more calculative and say, Look, I used to get paid this much in my company, I value worth this much. It’s I can give you this much equity with 3x upside, but it’s the work. It’s paper money, right? It’s Monopoly money. Yeah. So I have to give them enough equity to make them feel that they are a part of the company.
Michael Waitze 9:00
Yeah. And you can see by the look on my face, like there is no answer I’m struggling with. That’s why I’m asking you. I’m asking to be educated not to like judge, right. It’s like, how much do you give?
Harprem Doowa 9:09
Yeah, and it’s scary as well, right? Because you’ve give too early upfront, then what ends up happening is when you go for fundraising, you end up diluting the first or second round, and you end up not owning your company anymore. Yeah, and I’ve known shareholders and co founders who’ve actually bought back equity from their founding team, because initially, it seemed like a good idea to give them 20%. And after like two years of working, you realize you’re not pulling that 20% weight and you got to buy it back at like, and that’s the liquidity going out of your pocket.
Michael Waitze 9:35
Yeah, but that’s the other thing too. Now that you’ve built a few things, and you kind of hinted at this, do you put your own money into your new business? I do. I am. But you do. Do you do it? Like what’s the reason why you do that? Because you don’t have to right? Do you know what I mean?
Harprem Doowa 9:52
We can debate about whether you have to or not.
Michael Waitze 9:55
You naturally have to surely right like I’ve put a lot of money into my own business. but not in the same way that you would have to the earlier businesses. So you don’t I mean, in the sense that like, you didn’t say to yourself, at least I don’t think so I’m gonna put half a million dollars off to the side that I’m just gonna put into this business methodically over time. Just like, I didn’t know I needed this thing. So I’ll pay the $4,000. for that. I’m thinking, I don’t know,
Harprem Doowa 10:18
I’ll tell you how I’m doing it right now. So for me, it was okay. The first commitment that I had to make was actually the founding team to talk about paying them a salary to make them get on board and give them a percentage equity, because I know they need to survive. So I’m actually paying them a salary. It’s not the full salary that they’re getting before, but it’s a salary. Okay, that for me, it’s already a burden now. I need to make sure the company has money to pay for their salary. Yeah, right. So for me, it’s like, okay, either that’s gonna come out of my own pocket, or I’m going to do whatever I can on the companies from the company’s perspective to earn money and make money. So I tell my team, look, I’m gonna delegate a lot to you. My one job right now is to find money, whether it’s from a customer, whether it’s from a consulting contract, whether it’s from sales, whether it’s from VCs doesn’t matter. It’s my job to find money.
Michael Waitze 11:04
And are you indifferent to where that money comes from? Is there a lot of different choices you have there?
Harprem Doowa 11:07
I ran a survey on on LinkedIn, a month and a half ago.
Michael Waitze 11:11
Tell me, I think I remember this question. Go ahead.
Harprem Doowa 11:14
And I asked the you know, the question out there, right. Look, I’ve been trying to raise funding for my company at this stage for Eazy. And then a lot of investors like, Oh, you don’t have traction yet, you know, we want to put in, we want to wait a little bit doesn’t you know, we’ll get that whole other ballgame later on.
Michael Waitze 11:28
But you know who I am? Anyway, go ahead.
Harprem Doowa 11:30
But the answers that came out of the survey, we had over like, 100 people respond. And the question, the question was, as a company to survive, is it okay to sidetrack your business to earn? Do you go do whatever you have to do to get money to come into the company or spend and purely focus on building what you’re intended to build as a startup?
Michael Waitze 11:47
Oh, go ahead. But can you? Do you remember exactly how it was worded? Or was that exactly how it was worded?
Harprem Doowa 11:51
The question was essentially worded that way, like 90, just 90%, I gave three options. One is focus purely on the product, two you know, accept the complementary side businesses that are, you know, related to the main product as well. The third one is do whatever it takes to survive. And that was a majority of the answer.
Michael Waitze 12:06
Really? Do whatever it takes. Can you can you categorize the respondents though? Because this matters?
Harprem Doowa 12:11
Yeah. 50% was do whatever it takes to survive?
Michael Waitze 12:14
No, no. But the respondents, I mean, like, were they other founders?
Harprem Doowa 12:18
Okay, I did. I didn’t look at the analysis takes on LinkedIn, but entrepreneurs made up the majority of it. And then founders were next. And then the CEOs of companies and things like that. There were a couple of VCs that were there that said, focus only on building the product. And you know, it’s like, good, in theory, that sounds great. But who’s gonna pay for my kid school fees? Who’s going to pay for the grocery shopping at home? Right? It doesn’t work that way in reality, so if I eat, do you? Exactly. Look, building a tech platform today? It sounds simple enough, if you have a great idea, you can validate it with as many research papers, as many customer surveys as you want. But at the end of the day, if I want to build a platform, getting developers is not cheap, no way.
Michael Waitze 12:57
No. So getting them to leave whatever existing job they have is also impossible. Because we talked about this before, let’s come back to this idea of generals and soldiers. I don’t make a value judgment about which is more important. Because you can be a killer general. But if you got no soldiers, doesn’t matter, you’re dead. Yeah, you’re gonna get shot. But if you’re just a bunch of soldiers, you may not be organized enough to win that battle or that war. So both of these things, I don’t make the value judgment on the generals more important or soldiers kick butt. Right, but you got to get them on. And the only way to do that is to compensate them somehow, because they have to eat too. And the generals may be more likely to take risk. Right? So you’re happy with risk. But maybe the people that are following aren’t as happy. Let me give you an example. I had coffee with a guy last week, two weeks ago now. Yeah, a guy named Nate and Nate built a company in the United States, which he then sold for a decent amount of money. It’s public information, so you can find it. It was a real decent amount of money. Six years raised 60 million bucks. And again, all public information, and then sold it and, you know, one of the things I said to him was why? And again, just to learn, I’m not questioning, it’s not like why it’s why he said, I felt like the whole time I was in a car that was really shaky, going 90 miles an hour. There were no windows on it. And the doors are kind of flapping and falling off. And he was like, but I didn’t mind that. I thought it was exciting. But the more I grew the more that I had employees and some of those employees may not have been he didn’t say a word but may not have been didn’t may not have felt as secure in a car movie at 90 miles an hour if they weren’t sure that the wheels were not fall off.
Harprem Doowa 14:43
Look, I mean, I know a lot of great guys who want to join me building my company but if you know they are 35, 36 they starting to have kids now and they have to pay for their kids fees or they built just bought a house. They didn’t have liabilities that they have to take care of and they have and so do I with my family as well right so you know. For me is to whatever it takes to survive.
Michael Waitze 15:02
I don’t disagree with this at all. I want to talk about this, I want to talk about this idea too, of hiring people, right and taking them out of their existing jobs, right? I have people that want to join, too. And I remember a conversation I had with a guy. And I said to him, Look, if you move from where you’re living to Thailand, and then I just stopped and I said, Look, how much money do you think I spend every month on me? And he was like, Oh, I don’t know. 150,000 baht? And I’m like, Look, I’m single. And I live alone. And I live really close to where I work. And I’m really focused on building this thing. I can live with very little. Purposely. Yeah. And he was like, Okay, maybe it’s 125. And I was like, 30,000 baht a month. My daughter’s already graduated from high school. So I’ve been through all that. I dropped that cash already. Right. But the point was like the idea of how much they wanted to get paid, versus how I was willing to live. It was a massive mismatch. Do you find that as well sometimes? Do you know what I mean?
Harprem Doowa 16:09
I can’t judge them for that. No, I don’t. That’s right. So for I do find that Yes. And that’s why I have not been able to get on a lot of people that I wanted to bring on board. And because I’m not alone, a lot of them are willing to just work for the pure equity alone, right? Because that is at the end of the day paper money. It’s it’s very risky. And they’re gonna go back home to their wife, they’re gonna go back home to their kids or their families, and they’re going to have to explain to them Oh, sorry, I can’t bring in money this month. But I got 10% equity in this company. That’s not going to pay the bills.
Michael Waitze 16:36
Yeah, honey, can I take that to the guy to get to the supermarket? Probably not. Yeah. Do you think people look at you sometimes and think you did the Moxie thing. You did the Frank thing. I know you sold that thing. You must be a billionaire. No. Like, you don’t need the money kind of thing. So like I do a little bit but you don’t just you don’t get that feeling that people look at you that way.
Harprem Doowa 17:02
I don’t protect myself that way. Yeah. Honestly, like, my wife has to push me to go buy more clothes, because I keep wearing the same old shirts and pants and stuff like that. I didn’t buy this. Yeah, exactly. Your Nice shirt.
Michael Waitze 17:14
But I thought about this morning. I was like taken out of my closet. I’m like, didn’t buy this.
Harprem Doowa 17:18
No, but it doesn’t look to be very honest. Yeah, I made some money on the exit to bolttech. But I you know, people ask me like, What happened that money for a simple I bought a house. And that’s where my wife and kids live right now,
Michael Waitze 17:27
again, I don’t want to know the answer to that. That’s none of my business. But my point is that, again, when you’re trying to when other people are trying to look at how much risk you’re taking, versus how much risk they’re taking, they’re making all these other calculations right. And I always say that, you know, my grandmother told me when I was really littles never count anybody else’s money. Right? Yes. No, but never. Because even if I’m making up numbers, right, even if I sold my company for, let’s say, 25 million bucks, or I ended up with 25 million bucks. Yep. You don’t know. If I’m supporting my mom, you don’t know if you know, my sister needs money. You don’t know any of these things? Yeah, that’s and I think that’s one of the things that she was trying to teach was like, don’t presume you know what somebody else’s life is like, merely by the amount of money that you feel like they’ve earned. Yeah. There’s a struggle everywhere. Is that fair?
Harprem Doowa 18:19
It’s fair. It’s very fair. Do you feel like
Michael Waitze 18:23
and I’m really curious about this. Do you feel like as you’ve moved from, what was it pet loft? Yeah. Into Moxie. Yeah. Into Frank. And now into easy? Yeah. That almost you’re like a completely different business person than you were when you started pet loft? Oh, completely different than when you started. Frank? Sorry.
Harprem Doowa 18:43
Yes. No, you keep learning, right? You keep growing. And it’s like, the whole mindset even changes. Now. You asked me when I’m building easy, like, I figured out a way to grow the company without even VC funding. Like the VCs don’t put in money that I’m like, You know what, that’s fine. I’ll do it the traditional SME way. Yeah. But
Michael Waitze 18:59
this is super interesting, though, right? There’s no magic, I think. But it’s like, I feel like once you build something once and you’ve made some money, you can get to like, I’m picking a random number. Like you can get to a half million dollars in revenues. It’s all relative. Yeah, yep. Easily. But I mean, easily in a hard way. Right? Like it’s never easy. Because it takes effort, though. Sorry, it takes effort
Harprem Doowa 19:26
but you’re doing things in a lot smarter way right for sure. And I think one thing that I really did throughout the entire life stage of my you know, my, let’s say career as well, I’ve never burned any bridges. So the context that I had from the beginning till now are still valid, and because they’re still valid, I’m able to leverage off everything from everyone that I’ve ever connected to in the past to help me at this stage and that just grows and keeps growing. Yeah, so I found it that you know, okay with moxie to get the first $100,000 in sales, we had frank we started with bolttech to get with pet loft. Oh, fall backwards there.
Michael Waitze 20:03
Jeffrey, Peter Michael Allen come here.
Harprem Doowa 20:07
So, with pet lofts to get to the first $100,000 sales was harder than with Frank to get to the first one was Why do you think
Michael Waitze 20:14
so though? mindset? Yeah. But also like, were you? There’s so many things that go into this, like, were you less afraid at Frank?
Harprem Doowa 20:23
No, I just know what triggers have to pull to get there faster now, right? It’s such an easy thing like with with, with my company right now with easy digital, I was able to sign a contract with the reinsurance companies within two months without having a product. And literally, because I know how to approach that sales journey a lot in a lot better way now.
Michael Waitze 20:44
Do you feel like the world is clear? I think it’s because of your experience. Yes. That the experience, like drives some of the fogginess away, like when you were a pet lover, you’re like, okay, the only way to make money is to buy the dog food, sell the dog food kind of thing. And it feels really straightforward. You’re like, I bought the dog food. No one’s buying the dog food. I don’t know what to do kind of thing. But now, you feel like, there are plenty of other things you can do with the dog food. Do you know what I mean? Now the opportunity,
Harprem Doowa 21:15
you see a lot more opportunity a lot more clearly also a lot more focus, and you realize that you have to be a little bit more, let’s say developed in certain areas. And yeah, I think over time, just from the experience I’m selling my sales skills have also been a lot more polished.
Michael Waitze 21:30
Did you think when you were younger, right, because your first job out of school, if I remember correctly, was at a Securities Company.
Harprem Doowa 21:36
Before that I was a tele sales agent.
Michael Waitze 21:39
Which is weird, because in Australia, because that was really more valid. What you’re doing today? Yes, it is better draining? Yes. Super. You know, Matt Ward, you know, Matt worse? Yeah. So Matt Ward tells I think it’s him. So Matt, if you’re listening, and I know you are. Just refresh my memory here. Matt said that when he graduated from high school, I think he just decided he wanted to go into sales. And he said the hardest type of sales is just door to door. And he just went door to door in wherever, whatever town or city he lived in, if I remember correctly, and it was just like, No, no, no.
Harprem Doowa 22:14
Do you know what I mean? Rejection to your face just
Michael Waitze 22:16
completely, but at some at some level? The noes are okay,
Harprem Doowa 22:22
completely. But when you get past the no being okay. You, you start getting ahead of that I think there’s a next level above that. And that level above that is understanding how to not even get them to say no in the first place. Because their default answer is going to be no.
Michael Waitze 22:37
So this is the point that I try to make to people. And it’s a great way you say this, right? It’s like, in life. Right? Like, that’s a nice watch. You have. Thank you. I’d love to have it. It’s really, really cool. Can I have it? No. But if I don’t ask, then by definition, I can’t have it. Yes, I’m already at zero. I tell this to people all the time. And the only way to get away from serious to do something sales is about activity. Yeah. Is that Is that fair? It’s fair. Right? So if you’re not being active, you’re not doing sales,
Harprem Doowa 22:52
Sales is the result. Everything you do before that is the thing that actually gets you the sales, right, yeah, asking the right questions, understanding their pain points, understanding their problem finding a solution for their problem. That is the selling process sales is just the results that you get from it. And that’s just, and that’s just the start of the promise. Then after that, it comes to delivery of that promise by actually giving them what you’ve promised them during that journey. Right. And if you do that properly, that creates virality. And that creates referrals. And then it keeps building upon building upon building itself.
Michael Waitze 23:37
Once you learn that, it’s weird. It’s like you have a superpower. No, it’s true, because because people think of sales as the beginning. Yeah. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, it’s kind of towards it’s kind of towards the middle towards the end, right? You like 70%? In there is when sales happen? I think I think. And do you feel like if you have a product vision? I don’t have a great way to say that. So just work with me for a second, right? But do you still feel like when you have a product vision, sometimes when you’re going through the pain points of your customers, even if you know that the full product vision you have would definitely help them at some point. Do you dial it back a little bit so they don’t have to make the full scope of the decision. Do you know what I mean? All the
Harprem Doowa 24:22
time you only selling I’m only selling them the parts that I know that are going to solve their problem. Everything else is axillary
Michael Waitze 24:27
today, though, right? But you know, in the future that those other problems are going to arise you kind of know, right? Because you have other clients or you’ve just seen this thing before, but you don’t want to go all the way out the curve. Yeah,
Harprem Doowa 24:39
I’ve seen it happen so many times.
Michael Waitze 24:40
I learned this sorry, go ahead. No, I’ve
Harprem Doowa 24:42
seen me like look, when I started Frank, one of the for the first two years I was on the tele sales calls as well picking up the phone numbers in the lead in that key selling car insurance because I want it to understand exactly what the customer’s problems were right so that I can build a better product to solve that problem digitally. Yeah, right. If I just rely on my Sales seem to tell me what the problems are, their answer is always going to be twisted or biased or I don’t have, they’re not telling me the actual problem that the customer has. Or
Michael Waitze 25:06
they’re scared. I mean, and that’s fair, right? Because again, it gets back to the general soldier. Yeah. But also the relationship between those two things. And I think you would say that as a leader, managing that is key to it anyway, go ahead. So so once you learn that, yeah,
Harprem Doowa 25:20
no. And I realized, speaking to the customers is the best way, like, the only only way correct and you actually think about it, right? How many CEOs or how many even? You know, the reason why people a lot of people say corporations are so disconnected from their customers is, when’s the last time a corporate CEO has actually been a customer within their own company, gone through the actual purchasing journey as a regular human being without that VIP treatment or anything like that, to experience what they’re selling to everyone else?
Michael Waitze 25:50
Just go out of the bubble? Correct, you know, put on a mask, and don’t let anybody knows, and really
Harprem Doowa 25:54
rarely happens to the point where they actually made a TV show out about it, right? Like undercover bosses, like, nobody else would do it until they made into a TV show. So you can already tell that it rarely happens. I mean, I’m speaking the CEOs of insurance companies to try to get them to buy my platform. And I’m telling them that the customers have this problem. And they’re like, No, the customers don’t I’m like, then I have to really sit back and say, Wait, from the guy’s perspective. They don’t not been a customer of an insurance product for years. Now. He’s the CEO of an insurance company, everything gets taken care of for him by his secretary. Right. So
Michael Waitze 26:26
I want you to just look over there don’t say anything. Do you see that envelope? No. on the chair. Yeah, I do. So you see that? Yes. So anyway, so I’ve done business there. But I’ve also spoken to all of the senior executives there. And the experience was good, actually. It was good. But it wasn’t what I expected. From the conversations. It was somewhere in the middle. But it was still good. Yeah, yeah. But you’re right, because they haven’t had to go through the same experience that I did, during that whole process. And they didn’t say don’t completely understand. I think that’s true for every business. Right. But since we speak about insurance InsurTech that’s the context. Yeah. Yeah. But I learned this thing. And that’s why I asked you about it, this idea of like, I have this big product vision. And I’ve learned to dial it back into say, let’s just do this. Because I think this solves your immediate problem without saying that explicitly. Yeah, let’s just do this knowing Yeah. And then later, what ends up happening is they say, Hey, you know, what, can you handle that part of this too? Bit by bit, right. But it’s weird. For me remember, like, when you started pet loft? How old? Were you?
Harprem Doowa 27:32
2012 2012 13, whatever. 10 years? 10 years ago? Yeah. 2524 25? Yeah.
Michael Waitze 27:41
Let’s just say 25 years old. I mean, I started my first thing when I was 50. Wow. Right. So but and I had been working at big companies for my whole life. Yeah. So the idea of like, how to actually do that, from my perspective is not completely different after having done it. So there were certain things about sales and product I didn’t have to learn at Goldman Sachs, or that they just didn’t teach you. But when you do it yourself, you figure out these little things. Yeah. And I love talking to you, because it’s kind of the only thing you know,
Harprem Doowa 28:13
yeah, I know how to sell. I’ve always been the sales guy. But not only that, I mean, because
Michael Waitze 28:17
since you’re 25, you’ve been building stuff, too. Yeah. So you’ve gone through this progression. And I’ve had to go through that progression that you’ve gone through, I look, I’ll
Harprem Doowa 28:24
tell you what it is. Why do I, why do I build this stuff? Because I’m a sales guy. But by nature, I’m also a little bit lazy. So I want to try to figure out ways to automate the sales as much as possible. I love selling don’t get me wrong. I love the thrill of closing a deal. But for me, if it really, if the business has to rely on me or somebody else to close sales to grow,
Michael Waitze 28:41
that’s not scalable. No, no, no. Yeah, I see the same thing and correct.
Harprem Doowa 28:45
So that’s why I always get hooked to actually building a platform. But if I don’t understand the sales, I can’t build the right platform. No,
Michael Waitze 28:51
no. And that’s why I do like, if you look up my screen, you can see all the little things that I’m doing. Yeah, it’s because I have to know how it works. Because otherwise, I can’t scale it. And the guy that I had coffee with a couple of weeks ago said the same thing to me, because he’s asked me about my business. And he kind of leans in and he said, What are your roadblocks to scaling? I can’t get that question on in my mind. I can’t because you’re right, if I have to do everything doesn’t scale. Yeah. Anyway, what is easy digital? Okay. I’m curious, because I have no idea. And I want to ask you this too. Before we get to that. Now that you’ve built a couple of things, you kind of know how it works. And I say this a lot about my old architect, the guy who built my house in Tokyo. And he said this to me, he was like, I look at a piece of land and I and I don’t, all I see is like a space for my creativity. Right? I just see like, what can I put there to make the world a better place? I think entrepreneurs at scale are kind of like that. You’re not looking for a problem to solve, but you just run into them all the time. You’re like, Is that big enough for me to care about? Yeah, it is. But then how do you decide because you feel like you have a methodology? Yeah, that works. So how do you decide if like, Oh, that’s a big gap? That’s a pretty, I’m gonna do this one. Do you know what I mean? Oh, yeah. Because you went right back into insurance.
Harprem Doowa 30:13
I did. And I’ve insurance is sort of like this black hole. Once you get into it, people don’t really get out. We hear.
Michael Waitze 30:19
It’s really weird. It’s like, was this the godfather to the Godfather three, as soon as I felt like I was out, they sucked me back in or something like that. I think that was a Pacino thing. I can’t remember. I don’t do it as well as he do. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be sitting here. But anyway. So what is easy digital? Okay, so
Harprem Doowa 30:36
what we’re doing is we’re building a platform, by the way with 30 minutes. That’s okay. What we’re building is a platform that allows, you know, that takes care of the post purchase. And what happens is everyone has been focusing on selling products online and selling everything online from fintechs, insurtechs. Everything has been focused on the selling, nobody’s been focusing on what happens after the selling that whole experience is still not digital. And what I’m trying to do what’s interesting, yeah, so what I’m doing is building a platform that takes care of the post purchase. Essentially, it’s a policy wallet and a FinTech, you know, let’s say a policy wallet and portfolio wallet, what does that mean? allows that gives you a policy and portfolio wallet that allows users to upload and keep all their financial product information, as well as their insurance policy information with reminders and things like that onto one platform. So
Michael Waitze 31:21
it’s it’s company agnostic, it’s company has like five different policies from three different columns, you can put them all in one place and manage there. And then I’m just like, hey, this is my health insurance.
Harprem Doowa 31:30
This is expiring here, this is the coverage, these are the services that are provided by these companies, it’s going to get renewed, whatever, correct. But that alone is not enough. Because that, you know, it’s a so what, okay, so I have a wallet. So what is not going to make me interact with it, right. So what we’re doing is we’re making a lot more creative, right? First of all, I don’t want to pay customer acquisition costs to actually get the customers to be onboard onto the platform. So what I’m doing is I’m solving the problem for the partner as well, by adding referral element to it. So by partners, you mean the companies that are the companies they are on? Yeah, they’re onboarding the customers onto my
Michael Waitze 32:03
platform, because right now, my policies, right.
Harprem Doowa 32:06
So you know, that, that the theory behind the referrals bit of is once you’ve added a product to the policy wallet, or to the platform, you can refer that product to your friend and family, essentially creating a network and you make the referral fees off of that. And you can only recommend the products that you have in your wallet. If you don’t have it in your wallet, you can refer it anybody else.
Michael Waitze 32:26
Interesting. So I can’t become just like a general salesperson for insurance. But I can recommend this though, hey, look, I’ve got this company, ABC. This was a really good policy correct. But then do I have to refer you back to my agent to actually get the thing done,
Harprem Doowa 32:42
you have to refer them back to the company, because the company is gonna be paying you a referral fee for it. And from their perspective, it’s a cheaper customer acquisition cost and Google or Facebook?
Michael Waitze 32:51
Well, yeah, cuz you’re not paying at the not having to bid on AdWords correct.
Harprem Doowa 32:55
And if you take that average conversion rate, let’s take a motor policy, for example, right? Leads cost like 250 baht conversion rate at 10%. That’s 2500 baht, customer acquisition costs, if they paid you 2000 baht, to recommend another customer to your car insurance, which you already have in your wallet, you’re much more likely to do that. So we’re building that network out essentially allowing you to build not just your wallet, but also your network of referrals, down to three levels. So you don’t only earn from the people that you refer to. It’s an MLM a little bit correct. And we’re just, you know, product fIying it.
Michael Waitze 33:27
I’m thinking I’m not ignoring, yeah, it’s just so interesting. So did you think about this, when you were running your previous company, right, you’re sitting there, you’re selling, you’re doing that you’re making the money off of that thing, you sell the platform? And then you’re thinking, you know, we never solved the thing after sales.
Harprem Doowa 33:45
We did referrals really well at Frank. So at Frank and bolttech, 15% of our sales came from referrals, which is freaking great. But we were doing it very manually. There was no systematic way to actually automate it. And then I’m like, wait, it can’t be the only one having this problem. Right. Other people must be having the same problem. How
Michael Waitze 33:59
does technology solve that problem for me? In other words, let’s say, I wouldn’t say that I’m savvy, but I’m not on savvy. Yeah. Like I’m not afraid, right. So let’s say I have a wallet, and I have a policy in it. But I’m like, I’m not interested in sales, per se. But I mean, for 1500 baud, five times a month, you’re gonna be like, how does it
Harprem Doowa 34:17
work? So I don’t want you to be a salesperson as a user, right? What ends up happening is just naturally, when you have something, there’s a high chance of you recommending that something to somebody else, because that conversation is going to pop up what kind of car do you drive? Exactly. So the pot the wallet itself, when I’m talking about it’s not just for insurance. Um, the reason I said is Fintech is because you’re talking about credit cards, loans, funds, cars, anything really anything that has a high customer acquisition cost that helps me understand, you know, and the, you know, the more people that use the platform, I get a better understanding of their entire asset portfolio, so to speak. Right. So
Michael Waitze 34:50
you’re starting with insurance, starting with insurance and banking products. Yeah, yeah. Because that’s what you know, and that’s also where all your connectivity is be enrolled. It’s out to almost anything For sure, right? Yeah. And I talked about cars because, at least in my old life, that was the obvious thing, right? Yeah. tude. I got a Honda Accord. This is the best car I’m not selling to, you know, you do this is the best Generally, yes. And then your buddy would say, Well, where did you get it? Yeah, he’s just like, oh, let me just hook you up with my dealer. You don’t get anything for it? No, but that’s my point. That’s but that’s my point is like, just let me hook you up with my dealer. And your deal is like bonus, free customer acquisition. Yeah. But so
Harprem Doowa 35:28
what is the tech look like? It’s an app.
Michael Waitze 35:34
Yeah, no, I get that. But how do I interact with it?
Harprem Doowa 35:37
So from a user, you know, if I have to run you through the journey, right, the moment you finish purchasing a product, that if I have a partnership with that company, that party would encourage you to sign on to our platform, to add the product onto our platform to manage that particular product. Now, once you’re on that platform, once you’re on my platform with that product, that’s when you can recommend because now you’ve already added that product onto it as well
Michael Waitze 35:59
got it? And does it give you does it give the company that put that product into my world other avenues to sort of upsell me and just like figure other stuff out,
Harprem Doowa 36:07
but because the integration is minimal as well, with each of the companies, I you know, I’ve tried the deep integration way, and it takes way too long. So I’m incentivizing you to add the product yourself with validation that yes, you own that product. And then you can refer it but it’s my job to work with that part, that company to make sure you get paid the referral fee for it,
Michael Waitze 36:24
I understand, is there a data angle to this as well, for sure. That’s the long term play.
Harprem Doowa 36:29
The more users I have on my platform, the more they’re filling their product portfolio into my platform, the more the better understanding I have of their entire financial status.
Michael Waitze 36:39
Is there an inclusion element to this as well? Do you know what I mean? In other words, if you have all these people on the platform, you know, not just in Thailand, not just in Southeast Asia, but as big as it possibly gets? Now you’re seeing the Financial Services products that they get at scale insurance, for sure the investment products that they have, maybe even some of the physical, physical products, like cars. Yeah. So now you know, all this information.
Harprem Doowa 37:03
Is there are there other things that you can then feed into this based on the data that you have? Can you do product creation, for sure you understand what I mean? That’s the long term play look like there are gaps here that people want but they’re not buying them because they can’t You can’t be an ultra targeted platform for new product releases or product launches for any of the financial Institute’s you can take that information, you can become an alternative credit score’s, so to speak. If we have enough data, and apply that to blockchain and tokenization for the application of new products, or you can even go as far as creating a product yourself and start selling to these customers it it opens up the possibility quite a lot. Now, have I selected a direction? No, I haven’t. I know how to get Kanto.
Michael Waitze 37:40
How long have you been building easy digital?
Harprem Doowa 37:44
realist. I mean, the concept was like in Jan, Feb, and this year, correct. So
Michael Waitze 37:49
how long have you been building? It’s
Harprem Doowa 37:50
really just a few months? Yeah, five, six months, right? So
Michael Waitze 37:52
the idea that there’s already a decided direction for this is ridiculous. Yes. But the main concept. And again, this gets back to what we were talking about earlier. Even with your bigger customers and partners. You have this vision, but you can’t roll out the vision tomorrow. First of all, nobody would understand it. But again, you said use these words and use it all the time, bit by bit.
Harprem Doowa 38:15
Correct. So though, you know, MVP phase is very simple. When I go to a partner and try to send them on board. I’m telling them, Look, I can help you make more money from your existing customer base, send them to my platform, and I’ll take care of the referral part for you. Yeah, so why would they say no? Some of them say no, say, Oh, we can build this ourselves. Like, yeah, sure. Go ahead. Try to build it yourself and how many people you’re going to get onto your platform? And are they only going to be on your you expecting them to download just for your a single product? Or is it a chance that a customer is going to be using Pro more product agnostic approach?
Michael Waitze 38:43
So does? Does technology change this? Okay, let’s just say that there’s and let’s just use insurance as the example here, right? Because that’s where you’re starting Insurance Company A has all these products. And I put one of them on my wallet. Yeah. Insurance. Company B has another product. Let’s say it’s a travel product. Yeah, like a personal property protection product. Right, a PNC product. And I put that in my wallet. These companies are different. Yeah, both of them are on my wallet. Correct. Now, does that give Company A access to me? Even if Company B sold me because both of them have products on my platform?
Harprem Doowa 39:19
No. But what I do? Yeah, so I have to really respect the but you know what I mean? Yes, of course, I respect the identity and the you know, the personal data of our users, right? But what I would do is share on aggregate that hey, travel insurance customers of product A or product B also bought this product from Product A Right? And that gives them huge insight that they never had before. That’s what I
Michael Waitze 39:40
mean. So if you’re an existing company, that’s not putting people on here because we can do it ourselves. You’re missing the larger populations of people that aren’t already dealing with you. Yeah, I just want to be clear about Yes. To make sure that I understood it. So I love Go ahead.
Harprem Doowa 39:58
No, no and honestly like You asked if you asked me how I even came up about this. It’s embarrassing to say but after I left bolttech My family’s I took care of my entire family’s portfolio of insurance products. I was in insurance, obviously, right? It’d be embarrassing if I didn’t take care of my entire family’s insurance needs. So you’re talking about Yeah, you’re talking about my easy to help your mom. Yeah, exactly gonna happen. So my dad, my grandparents, my mom, my kids, my wife, their families, my uncle’s, my aunts. So you combine all together, like around 2030 insurance policies separately. And they’re all relying on me to tell them when they expire when they don’t expire and everything else like that. And you’re just like, Okay, this is ridiculous. But the it’s the brokers job to do that. Right. It’s because it’s our interest as a broker. It’s in your interest to remind your customers renew renew. Yeah. What happened after I left was I didn’t get my renewal notices. Whatever happened for whatever reason, whatever system glitch, seven on my policies
Michael Waitze 40:54
lapsed, and not just mine, seven of your family’s policies. Yeah,
Harprem Doowa 40:57
your wife’s car, my dad’s car, my motorcycle. And the only reason I found out was I was going on a bike trip Chiang Mai. And like, two days before I went, I’m like, I didn’t live let me check in case of not covering. It was expired three months ago. I’m like, oh, man, and only insurance guy. Exactly. And the if your family and cousins find out that you’re supposed to take care of their policy and the expired. That’s embarrassing. Yeah, very. And then I realized that we need to get power back to the people, we need to empower the users to actually manage all this stuff themselves. And if you actually think back about all the stuff that you have that expire on a regular basis that you don’t think about, it’s a lot. It can be gym memberships, it can be constant, it’s constant, constant, correct. I just found out my driver’s license expires, you know, three months from now? Yeah, I never checked it.
Michael Waitze 41:43
expiring in November. My my guys just told me same thing, right? Correct. So there
Harprem Doowa 41:47
is definitely utility there from the customer on top of earning money from the referral mlm network that they can build. The utility is also there, the core functionality is also there for them to manage all these things.
Michael Waitze 41:57
So do you find that your most loyal partners are the ones that say first, like we can build it ourselves? And then when they try to build it themselves?
Harprem Doowa 42:07
I mean, again, hubris, maybe from a large company, portfolio, they’re always going to say, Oh, we can build this ourselves. And you know what, have a crack at it, I’m still gonna go ahead and build this anyways. We’ll still be here. When you don’t succeed, or whatever. Chances of a customer downloading an app from one small insurance company out of 60 is very slim. Is it 60? Now 60. And just in the general insurance space, we count life insurance like another 2030. Yeah, I think it’s like, I don’t know. But yeah, 90 and in Thailand alone. So you take this in the global picture.
Michael Waitze 42:39
So interesting. So you’re five months in four months in? Yeah. Yeah, I
Harprem Doowa 42:43
signed three insurance companies so far to use the platform. But again, I don’t have a product yet. So what are they signed up for? They signed up for me right now, I literally went in, this is how I’m selling to them at this stage, I’m literally gone to them and said, Look, I don’t have the product yet. But if you’d like the idea of the product, sign on with us. And I’ll consult with you while the product is being built. I will help you digitize your online selling process, your operational process, the back end, whatever, use my expertise, and pay our company for it.
Michael Waitze 43:07
So there’s value that you’re already giving the people correct. And I have my foot in the
Harprem Doowa 43:11
door, I have an outstanding contract with three, and they’re paying for me right now. They’re paying for my products. They’re paying for my development, essentially, and my kids school and my food.
Michael Waitze 43:21
Thank you, Daddy. Yes. But this gets back to the survey that you did, right? Yeah. Because the idea is not for this company to be a consulting company. No. But again, it’s just like, What will you do? Obviously, that’s legal and appropriate to survive as a business. Yeah.
Harprem Doowa 43:38
And they came because I mean, I was pitching to investors. They approached me, I never actually gone on a roadshow yet, right. And when I told him, I was doing these consulting, some feedback I got from some VCs consulting company, it’s a distraction. You’re not actually, you know, we don’t want to invest in you because you’re distracted to the site. And honestly, it really irked me on the inside when I heard that. Yeah.
Michael Waitze 43:55
But if I came here and said, I had no business and no product, would you give me money? So I think I like my distraction for now, if you don’t mind. See, the thing is because I’m an experienced entrepreneur, and I’m putting words in your mouth. Yeah. It’s not a distraction for me. And I’ve got 15 people working for me that don’t think it’s a destroyer. I’m making up numbers here that I don’t think it’s a distraction, either. Because they also have bills to pay. So it’s neat for you to tell me that it’s a distraction. But for me, it’s empowering. Agree. No
Harprem Doowa 44:30
100% agree. And that’s that, that that irritation was what led me to do that post on LinkedIn and I got answers and it validated it right. It validated what I was feeling was the right one. So it was our like, in your face VCs.
Michael Waitze 44:44
What do you think about you know, again, when I was talking to this guy, it’s like, what’s your limitation to growth into scale? Is money a limitation to growth? Or do you think you can fund because I’m going through this dilemma, right? It’s like you Do I take what my MRR my AR is? And put it back in at scale? And then not raise?
Harprem Doowa 45:10
No, it’s a great question I operationally speaking, no matter what bottleneck you fix, there’s always going to be another bottleneck that pops up. So when you’re talking about limitation to scale, there’s never one the moment you fix one limitation, another limitation pops up. So for me, it’s an ongoing problem to fix all the limitations that keep coming this money solve that?
Michael Waitze 45:30
This is my question, right? To some extent are we solve it? To some extent? Yes,
Harprem Doowa 45:33
it does. It makes it it’s it opens up a lot more doors, and it gives you a lot more flexibility to figure out different ways to solve problems as well. Yeah. But
Michael Waitze 45:42
now that you’ve been through this process, right? Isn’t it incumbent upon you as the CEO and the leader to make sure that the source of the money is also not a drag on the company? Right? In other words, you don’t want a backseat driver, but you want somebody who you meet with periodically goes, I think this might be a good, great idea. Let me introduce you to Lisa, because she’s going to be the next step in the progress of this. You don’t I mean, as opposed to just sitting behind you just going, No, no, not that Not this. Not that not, you’re just like,
Harprem Doowa 46:11
really, at this stage, I can afford to think that way. But I mean, I understand entrepreneurs who’ve been through this journey as well. And when they’re at a time where they are desperately in need of the cash, it could come from anywhere, and they will take it because if it didn’t, you know, it depends on the survival sometimes, and you have to deal with that problem later on whether they’re a drag or not of drag. So I understand both perspective of it, I think, at this stage, yes, I agree with you. And but that might change in the future.
Michael Waitze 46:35
You know, isn’t this just one big balancing act? Always as everything is, but it is, but don’t you feel like as you 10 years now into this career, that you understand the balancing act better than you did when you were 25?
Harprem Doowa 46:50
It’d be stupid if I didn’t learn from my own mistakes.
Michael Waitze 46:51
So I know that I talk a lot about clarity, right? Yep. And, you know, I have tons of these conversations. And I like talking to people who like see things clearly. First of all, cuz I learned a ton from them. But second of all, because I like the process of getting to clarity. Yeah. Do you know what I mean? Look at
Harprem Doowa 47:11
it is very clear to me, and I’ll tell you what it is. It’s no matter what we’re doing. For me, I this is my clarity. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, it’s for now, it’s great. In my opinion, everything I’m doing everything I’m working for is to provide for my family a cushion enough to pay for whatever I need to pay enough to do whatever I need to do enough to enjoy what I need to do, whether it’s a job, whether it’s starting another company for that upside, or whether it’s working consulting, or doesn’t matter what it is for me to get in money to pay for also, and I think motivation. A lot of people say no, my motivation is different. My motivation is different, whatever it is it right now I feel that that if I’m very clear, and very honest about it, it is money. Whatever I’m doing it is to get me that financial freedom in order to do whatever I want to do whatever I need to do. Yeah. Do I enjoy the process of it? Of course, enjoy the process. Otherwise, you couldn’t do it? Correct. Otherwise, I won’t be able to do it. Well, is there a lot of people who don’t enjoy the process and force themselves into doing it anyways? Right? Yeah. Now, tomorrow, if somebody came and offered me a job for 1.2 million, 3 million bottom on 5 million bottom on whatever would I be entice? Yes, that would be entice. So it would have to be if
Michael Waitze 48:18
this gets back to the balance we were talking about, right? In other words, as long as the kids are eating, and your family feel safe, you’re gonna keep trying to build stuff. But as soon as you feel like that’s in jeopardy, I don’t feel safe. It’s in jeopardy. It’s like, I’ll change everything correct. For this. Of course, it does.
Harprem Doowa 48:37
And I’ve that’s that’s something that I’ve realized that that’s my clarity. Like, it changed after I had kids. My kids are four years old and two years old. So I’m still a young dad. But that really did change. It changed my risk appetite as well. It changed the way I saw things. And yeah,
Michael Waitze 48:55
I like it. I think I’m gonna end this there.
Harprem Doowa 48:58
Mic drop, honest opinion.
Michael Waitze 49:00
Harprem Doowa, the founder of Eazy Digital. I also like the fact that it’s Eazy Digital, it doesn’t say like, what the business is. I think you learn this from naming companies later on, right? Right. It’s just like, I’m just gonna call it whatever. Can you figure out what we do? I love it. Thanks for doing this.
Harprem Doowa 49:17
No worries. Thanks for having me again.
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