started a startup, declined an acquisition offer last year and the business is growing. This is not about the startup, this is a tribute to my parents.
When we decided to not get acquired last year at the last minute, we had run out of money. It was a gut decision and we did not have backup options for fundraise. I felt it was right and my parents supported me. My dad said I should not think about anything below $100Mn.
Since we were not profitable and I was hearing NOs from investors, I was worried about how to pay salaries. My parents stepped in and gave me some cash which helped support the team. All this while, they have been paying my living expenses (I stopped taking salary of course). They paid me to fly in the region to meet customers.
I had a dispute with my flatmate and they paid for my rental when he decided to make me pay for renovation etc. upfront. They told me to stand up for myself and not get bullied. They transferred me the money and got one of their friends to bring some cash for me next week to help with living expenses.
My brother is in SF and works for FAANG, so all my groceries and grab are on his card. My parents would not let him pay for my rent etc. and he is free to live his life. He lives in a luxury apartment with a cat and does not have to worry. He can spend all his time and focus on his work.
The thing is that my mom is a housewife and my dad is a salaried employee in a developing country. They already used some of the savings to get me to NUS. I had a full scholarship at NTU but I really wanted to go to NOC, so they let me go to NUS. I never could qualify for NOC (rejected 4 times) and my parents never mentioned it once. My dad stayed with me for 15 days when I first came to Singapore thirteen years ago because I was only 15 and made sure everything was okay.
They supported me in continuing to live out my entrepreneurial dream. I got slightly disillusioned in between and gave some interviews to FAANG and had one very good offer. When I shared this with them, they would just tell me to do what I want. And I could not convince myself to take up a job because it would prevent me from having a shot at being somebody who history remembers.
I did not know earlier but know now that they actually sold off their property and took loans to pay for me. I would never have known had I not chanced upon the opened post on our dining room table while I was home. I have no idea what I did in my last life to deserve such parents. I do not. And I do not know what the future will be. We are profitable and growing now but I still do not take a salary. We have a lead investor etc. and I likely will be able to pay myself a little bit in the coming months.
I am not sure if I will ever be able to repay them. I screwed up so many times in university life and even while doing the startup – slacking off, doing random things like picking up chess, not showing up to meetings on time etc.. They would scold me a little for all of this but would never ever tell me money is a problem. I never had that burden and if I knew about what they have done, I would have taken up a job. My mom always asks me if I am eating and exercising right, never about how much I am spending.
If you see someone trying to be successful on their own, don’t just think of their work or preseverance. The real MVPs might be their parents. They would never get the glory. And they would never ask for something in return. I love my mom and dad so much, and I will still be pulling their leg or not calling them. They would not want me to know and that is how it shall be.