Welcome back to part 2 of this 2 part series, if you haven’t checked out the first part, then I recommend listening to it first, where we explore the early days of Karl Mak’s journey building SGAG with his co-founder, Adrian. In this part, we discuss building relationships with clients, his future plans for SGAG and the Hepmil Group, and his experience raising SGD$1.3 million in pre-series A funding through angel investors
Thank you to Karl Mak, his measured responses to an intense line of questioning show his calm resolve to build one of the most resilient (and reliably funny) brands to come from the internet. Support them by sharing their posts which are now seen by over 10 million millennials across the region weekly, or buying their latest card game.
Okay, so you’ve got some traction, you’re getting consistent laughs, and you’ve got a bond with a co-founder. What next? Well, how do you make money out of memes? Do you hire comedians or content creators? What kind of culture do you want, stuffy, efficient startup or yoga balls and standup every Friday night? After raising SGD$1.3 million in pre-series A funding through angel investors, I ask him whether he was literally scrolling through his phone to show investors his most popular recent memes.
Thanks for listening! The greatest compliment you can give me is to recommend this podcast to colleagues, family and friends. Share a comment through email or Linkedin and let me know what you think, I’m constantly trying to improve the content in this podcast for you.
I’m also looking for my next tv show, I recently hosted my last tv show on Channel NewsAsia about the latest business trends in Asia. In this show I flew to Japan to uncover the e-sports industry with a crew and a fixer and we dove deep into the Esports industry, and I learned a lot about myself and about how to host a show. You can check it out here, it’s an hour-long and we met with a lot of interesting characters along the way. I’d love to know what you think.
SGAG is a Singaporean social media website and news media company based in Singapore. The company was founded by Karl Mak and Adrian Ang in February 2012, as a Singaporean spin-off of the popular social media website, 9GAG.
Karl is the CEO and Co-Founder of Hepmil Media Group. Hepmil Media Group runs the popular digital content platforms such as SGAG, MGAG & PGAG, whose content is seen by over 10 million millennials across the region weekly.
At 20, I took a break from my law degree to co-found my first startup, Beeconomic, which was fully acquired by Groupon (a USD$24M record-breaking buyout in Singapore in just 6 months, according to The Straits Times newspaper).
As Groupon Singapore co-founder, we created over 200 jobs and made history by helping Groupon become “the fastest-growing company ever” (source: Forbes and CNBC). After Groupon, I worked on 4 startups that failed, which taught me important lessons about failure.
After finishing my law degree, I joined a “Top 5” law firm in Australia that led to an offer in their M&A advisory practice.
I was then recruited by Hong Kong’s biggest English newspaper, The South China Morning Post, as the social media editor to execute a digital transformation strategy. When the team achieved strong digital growth, Jack Ma’s Alibaba acquired the newspaper. After 6 months of transitioning and training with the new owners, I moved on to pursue my passion for cooking.
After culinary school, I became a full-time advisor for a $100M Japanese VC, a highlight is our $1M investment into a fast-growing, millennial-focused news platform.
I have served as a consultant to Governments and 80+ tech firms in Southeast Asia, but for early-stage startups, I also volunteer as a mentor at an incubator. I am an entrepreneur who knows exactly how it feels to be guide-less and isolated. I’ve met a lot of kind people on my travels who were willing to help me and this is my way of paying it forward. I also host a free podcast that interviews Asia’s fast-growing entrepreneurs, idealists, and trendsetters on the hardships they’ve had to overcome to make it in their industry.
Spending my spare time volunteering in charities, mediation, cooking, and working out are my passions. I am usually in either Singapore or New York. After retiring from startups, I’m looking for TV hosting jobs 🙂
If you liked this episode, check out my own ‘origin story’ as one of my guests turns the mic on me and grills me on my startup background (or lack thereof).
Music (Copyright/ Royalty Free)
Podington Bear- Dreamliner
KidRico – Smooth Sailin Instrumental
Roulet – Amor_com_Mr_VR
Lee_Rosevere – Past_Catching_Up
Lee_Rosevere – Taking_the_Time
Lee_Rosevere – Decompress