Lost and Founded Series – Ze Yan

Once a rebel, now a reformed entrepreneur - Ze Yan, Founder of Oddle, believes running a business’s not all about the money.


Once a rebel, now a reformed entrepreneur - Ze Yan, Founder of Oddle, believes running a business’s not all about the money. In fact, he pictures himself running a dog farm 15 years from now.

People say you are “Ze Yan, Founder of Oddle". Who do you say you are?

I was the rebel in school whom my teachers thought still stood a good chance. 

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.

The first transaction through Oddle. The first paying customer. The first restaurant chain that signed up with us. Startup life is always about the many victories and milestones, never quite about the one moment.

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

Startup life is damn stressful – and it’s not that I tried hiding that from them, but they never quite believed me.

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.

When I work on a business, it's never really about the money.

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!

There're ups and downs along the journey so far but I've yet to encounter a crippling moment.

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

My jet-lagged fiancé.

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

I enjoy a good debate and my partners have endorsed me on LinkedIn for my puzzle solving skills.  Weekly football sessions with my mates and occasional swims help me to loosen up.

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

You don't have to know everything, asking the right questions will make you look smart.

Movie or song that best describes you.

Mr Brightside because I'm really just a rock fan.

Favourite quote.

Don't wish it was easier, wish it was better.

Who and what inspires you?

Lee Kuan Yew.

Tell me about Ze Yan in 2030.

Probably owning a dog farm with my wife.

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