From running 5 bars and 3 restaurants, all the while studying in university, hard work proves to be an innate quality of Shan Han. He then landed into finance by chance in a social gathering by the beach with his then waist-long hair worn in a ponytail and a relaxed outfit. Over barbecues, he got an interview for a position in trading. Showing his intent in the interview with a fresh haircut and a newly bought suit impressed his first boss and mentor. At the young age of 20, Shan Han joined the financial service industry.
Based on Shan Han’s strong preference to a structured routine in organizing goals, and a dislike of ‘boring work’; it’s no surprise that he was drawn into the challenges of a startup. And as proven with time, it shows that his decision definitely paved his way into the right direction. So when Mr. Han was faced with a crossroad between spearheading a startup and a sterling job offer at a bank from his mentor, Shan Han jumped with both feet into his first tech endeavor.
‘’Ultimately, I realized that going back to a bank would be comfortable and safe,
but my learning curve would be very shallow. Jumping feet first into a startup
was my way of shocking the system back into learning rapidly.
Sometimes choosing the greater challenge is a simple heuristic to follow.’’
The road to success is paved with learning experiences. True to this, Shan Han’s first start-up’s setback is the very problem that they are solving at Zetl - a lack of fast, flexible financing when needed the most. ‘’We were caught in a position where we had funds due to us, but we couldn’t access them before our runway had dwindled. With a team (who had dependent families and children) to pay, I had to make the hard decision to support them out of pocket, when quite frankly I couldn’t afford it. I later found that many entrepreneurs have faced and were often forced to make the same hard decision.’’
Zetl now focuses on providing financing to explicitly support job creation and wage continuity. ‘’Where other companies might be quite focused on building up their brand in a closed ecosystem, we’re happy to co-brand with partners in an open manner to extend our reach and achieve our goal of financing as many SMEs across APAC. As a result, we’ve been doing a lot of community work with partners and hope to ramp that up this year, especially as physical events make a comeback!’’
Zetl has now been trading since 2019 with the mission to finance the next generation of businesses in APAC. They have been making an impact on other people’s lives since then. Supporting at least 1,000 employees during the COVID pandemic.
‘It’s been a tumultuous and frequently arduous journey, but I’d not hesitate to make the same decision if faced with it again!’ -Shan Han, Zetl CEO and Co-Founder