Lost and Founded Series – Joseph Phua

Joseph Phua, Co-Founder and CEO of Paktor, wants to kill someone every hour, for a perfectly good reason.


Not many can pull rabbits out of hats when there seem to be no options. Joseph Phua, Co-Founder and CEO of Paktor, did just that (with his co-founders). He is a firm believer in constantly challenging oneself and one’s team, which is why he admits to wanting to kill someone every hour.

People say you are "Joseph Phua, Co-Founder and CEO of Paktor ". Who do you say you are?

I am Joseph, a husband, a brother, a son, and a team member within Paktor.

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.

When my co-founders and I pull rabbits out of hats, when there didn't seem to be any options - Many moments like this, I can't point to one specific moment.

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

None. Transparency is key in running a fast-growing business.

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

Well.. I still need to be in business so...

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!

Never cried actually and never wanted to give anything up. I want to kill someone every day. Scratch that. Every hour. If you don't get annoyed frequently with how things are done, you're not challenging your team / yourself.

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

The goal that I've set for the team to achieve within 12 months. It's the team's goal. But it's my responsibility to get us there. And not being there gets me up in the morning.

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

I'm not mentally fit. Definitely not physically fit either. Both I need to work on.

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

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong and when things do go wrong, don't be surprised. Move on. (I keep telling myself this because I don't deal well when things go wrong.)

Movie or song that best describes you.


Favourite quote.

"When the sky falls, use it as a blanket."

Who and what inspires you?

My family. The promise to myself that I will succeed (or die trying).

Tell me about Joseph Phua in 2030.

Father of 3, 2 failed businesses and 2 successful ones. Working on my next business to save the world.

Name 2-3 startup founders in Singapore you’ll like to hear answer these questions. Do provide me with their email contact, so I can act upon your recommendation and contact them.

Douglas, founder of VanityTrove and Vanitee app

Jeffrey Liu, founder of Guavapass

Zhiwei Yeo, founder of Spaceship

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