CEO Stories

Lost and Founded Series – John Kim

John Kim, Founder & Fund Advisor of AmAsia Fund ILP, secretly fasts from food & work each year for the success of his firm.

Lost and Founded – John Kim

John Kim, Founder & Fund Advisor of AmAsia Fund ILP, wears many different pants - one of which includes being the father of an innocent boy with the thinking similar to that of Elon Musk. He has also experienced many one-sided conversations due to his ability of being able sleep with his eyes open, including one where he was offered a business deal. In addition to achieving success in his career and family, John leaves no stone unturned as he hopes to be serving as the first American Ambassador to North Korea in 2030.

 


 

People say you are "John Kim, Founder and Fund Advisor of AmAsia Fund ILP". Who do you say you are?

Believer
Investor & Trader
Hubby, Father, Thinker, Doer

 

What was the best moment in your startup life? It was so good you wanted to fly BusinessClass somewhere with someone, and pop open the most expensive bottle of champagne there.

Convincing my co-founder to join me in our first venture. It was all downhill from there!

 

Have you ever cried? Or what was the lowest, crappiest moment in your start-up life. You wanted to give up everything. You wanted to kill someone. (During your startup career of course) Tell us more!

I cry all the time these days but it's usually because I feel touched or inspired. As far as tough times, at one point I sold my car, got rid of my apartment, crashed on a friend's couch and ate pasta twice a day because we were tight on cash. It wasn't easy but pain that doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

 

What secret did you hide from your co-founder or partner or parent for the longest time? Why?

In my most recent company, I hid from my partner the fact that I fast from food and work (to spend time in meditation and prayer) at the beginning of each year. I worried that he'd think I was crazy for jeopardizing my health and the future of our business. Well, he found out and after a brief moment of incredulity, he accepted that in my worldview, which is different from his, fasting is actually the best thing I can do for the success of the firm.

 

What's the most eccentric thing about you? If VCs found out, they won't have signed the term sheet then. But hell with that now.

When I started my first company I slept an average of 3 hours a night. So if there was ever a lull in my day, a boring business meeting or a 10-minute car ride, I would pass out cold. I also sleep with my eyes open so this led to many one-sided conversations, including one where a customer offered me a business deal in my sleep.

 

What are you up to today? What gets you up in the morning?

I've co-founded a venture capital firm to empower entrepreneurs in making an impact in the world. But usually my sons wake me up in the morning (far too early might I add).

 

How do you keep yourself physically and mentally fit for start-up life?

I travel constantly and really struggled with an exercise regime but have recently discovered TRX, which is doing wonders. As for mental fitness the most important factor is actually exercise (see John Medina's Brain Rules) but beyond that I read a lot and try to surround myself with smart, stimulating people.

 

Offer a life hack (or two) to a young founder.

Read and EXECUTE (don't just skim, but work through exercises). "Getting Things Done" by David Allen, and "The Ten Natural Laws of Time and Life Management" by Hyrum Smith are 2 books that will change your life and your business.

 

Movie or song that best describes you.

My wife (who is Singaporean) says that "American Boy" by Estelle reminds her of me.

 

Favourite quote.

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value" - Albert Einstein.
"You can catch flies with honey, but you can catch more honeys being fly." - Unknown

 

Who and what inspires you?

My wife inspires me with her empathy and sense of mission. When she's passionate about something she's the most focused and hard working person I know.

My two sons inspire me with their curiosity. The other day my 4 year-old Kyan asked me to come home from the US to put him to bed in an hour. "Sorry Kyan I would love to but even if I left now I wouldn't get there in time." "Why not Appa? Just build a fast train or airplane or flying car." It takes that kind of thinking for entrepreneurs to impact the world, as we can see with Elon Musk's Hyperloop project, which is now under construction.

 

Tell me about John Kim in 2030.

I will be serving as the first American Ambassador to North Korea.

 

 

Published Date: 8 September 2015

 

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