AN EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER: ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic, traditional retail and other offline businesses in Hong Kong have seen their sales plummet in 2020. Relatively speaking however, online commerce has fared better as locals shift their shopping to the internet. 2018 startup Gianthouse offers a suite of web and mobile applications, and ecommerce solutions for clients, a combination that serves well in today’s disrupted environment.
The man behind Gianthouse is Benjamin Tin, a HKUST Business Administration graduate who already brings a wealth of experience in leading new tech companies. What attracted Benjamin to the freewheeling world of serial entrepreneurship? He replies, “It’s shouldering the responsibility, being accountable, and most of all, seeing my ideas come to fruition in the market.”
Benjamin is quick to remind us that starting and growing a new business is incredibly tough; he notes the public only ever sees the successful start-ups and has no idea securing business and funding when a new company has no track record is very hard. Then there’s the challenge of finding the right talent to expand the business, a problem that blights many a Hong Kong start-up firm.
Coming over from a career in private equity (PE), Benjamin witnessed first-hand how technology and finance are becoming inseparable. “In the old days, apart from the trading department, significant use of technology was limited to Bloomberg terminals and Excel spreadsheets,” Benjamin recollects. Today, courtesy of the astronomical rise of Fintech, quite literally “financial technology,” the union between these two fields looks unstoppable as workflows get automated and a gamut of software applications crunch data for banks, insurers and asset managers alike.
Among his experiences at HKUST, the Gianthouse and Blueland (a blockchain and crypto firm) founder singles out economics courses for teaching him to use data systematically, which in turn helped him critically analyze key decisions when he was in finance and as an entrepreneur now. With the way Benjamin’s career has progressed, his HKUST education continues to pay dividends for him.