How CEO Andy Choi seeks to digitize private equity with Quota Lab (Part 2)
Last time in part 1, we discussed Andy’s motivation behind starting Quota Lab and how he is handling challenges every day as a CEO. In this post, Andy explains more on how we are growing as a company, achieving milestones together, and what Andy sees as the end goal of Quota Lab.
Andy (A): I’d say we still have a long way to go. We just reached a stage where people are slowly beginning to understand that Excel is not the way to manage equity, so it is still a beginning for us.
A: We don’t even have or need three but just one, which is our users. Users are always at the top of the list and their opinions matter the most. Without them, we wouldn’t even be here in the first place.
A: It may sound obvious but positive feedbacks like ‘QuotaBook made my life easier’ or ‘I should have started using it earlier’ make my day. Feedbacks that I’m most grateful for are specific comments about our service, even the negative ones. There’s usually nothing we can do if someone simply says ‘no’ to our product, but if this ‘no’ comes with a reason then we can develop a better service. For example, comments like ‘we can’t use QuotaBook unless it has ABC features to solve XYZ’? It simply means that whenever the features are ready, they’d use QuotaBook. I don’t think there’s a better feedback.
A: There’s actually too many (laughter). One time I had two IR meetings back-to-back with barely any break in between. After pitching to the first VC, I had to ask if I could borrow their meeting room and met the second VC right there. Thankfully, both ended up investing in Quota Lab. also remember meeting the named figures in the startup/venture field like the managing partners of renowned global VCs.
As for the hard moments, I’d say our earlier days, when we had to move around quite often because we didn’t have a proper office. Now, we moved into a very nice and stable office (so come and work with us!). It’s also tricky to handle issues that come along with the company’s growth. Of course, this is something to be thankful about since they indicate that we are properly growing.
A: I needed someone who could bolster my weak spots and see things from a different perspective. Dan and Phil are both very knowledgeable about this industry. Dan is filled with passion and insight while Phil is a serial entrepreneur with his own startup experience before, not to mention that he is a certified accountant. I thought we as a team could create synergy, so I recommended them to start Quota Lab with me.
A: When I was an employee, I wasn’t a big fan of “team first, company first” spirit. I want our members to know that they are as important as the whole company. I think the growth of a firm is closely linked to personal growth of employees. That’s why I try to create a culture that puts both the team and the individual first. Neither one should be less valued.
A: I want people who can put on different hats, those who can take on various roles. This is not just about doing this and that, but being a multi-player who enjoys working with diverse perspectives with different skills. For a startup, we need people who can be specialists in multiple fields. Most of our colleagues in Quota Lab are juggling multiple roles. Our developers are all full stack (back and front), sales managers are also in charge of business development, and designers are marketers and developers at the same time.
I also want to work with people who are tremendously passionate about the product and the job. Startup is all about creating something out of nothing, and it’s not easy to constantly pave such a vague path. I’m looking for someone who can persevere and nail down this process.
A: I wasn’t sure at the beginning, but I was sure about my visions that I tried to share with my team. You know, the things I mentioned before like ‘this business is worth a try’ and ‘you can gain something even if we fail’. Most important vision I emphasized on was that Quota Lab is about ‘building a financial infrastructure that never existed before’. We believe we are building a whole infrastructure, not just B2B SaaS. Once the fundamentals are set, it will be used by generations and serve as the backbone of private equity. It is hard to come by an opportunity to build such a nationwide scale infrastructure, and it is my job to deliver and prove such vision. I thought this vision was the only way to hire great people. So, to answer your question, although I didn’t have the confidence to make a perfect team from the start, I was ready to try many other ways to make it happen.
A: My goal is to fully digitize private equity just like how cash is being used digitally. We would be the infrastructure where other businesses can also work on and digitize equity. A good analogy I can think of is, Quota Lab is the OS like iOS or Android and other businesses are applications running on our OS.
A: I honestly don’t set long-term goals. In fact, I believe there is no guarantee that I will still be around in six months. Who knows? Something bad might happen on my way home (Laughter). So long-term goals don’t mean much for me, it’s this very moment that matters. Of course, this doesn’t mean I live as if I were to die tomorrow- I do respect my time and my life. However, I would say that for now, developing Quota Lab into a better service is my top priority.
A: If people believe that they’d still be using spreadsheets to manage equity in the next decade or two, honestly I don’t think we have a chance. Good thing is, almost everyone agrees that there needs to be and will be a change. I’d recommend that it’s better to start digitizing equity from the beginning, rather than going through the fuss to shift in the middle. That’s why we are working hard to reach out quickly to as many founders and investors as possible. Looking forward to working together to simplify your equity!
Make equity simple with Quota Lab - Quota Lab is a SaaS-based equity management solution for startups, their investors and employees, replacing spreadsheets and manual work. Startups and VCs can sync crucial data on equity such as cap table or employee stock options, as well as investor relation updates through our platform so that every stakeholder can communicate through a single source of truth. QuotaBook, a Quota Lab product, is the no.1 equity management platform for startups, used by 2000+ startups and VCs in Korea, backed by more than 20 Venture firms and investors.