COMING from a small town in Malacca, Kishore Samuel, 44, never dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur during his childhood.
Later on, after living his adolescent life in Seremban and mingling with people from various background, Kishore started having an ambitious plan.
And that is by starting an enterprise which would benefit the underbanked and underserved. With that in mind, Kishore set up a fintech company called MyMy.
In an exclusive interview with FocusM, Kishore shared about his life and plans to help the underserved community using the e-wallet platform.
Here are excerpts of the interview:
FocusM: Tell us more about the man behind MyMy.
Kishore: I’m just a Malacca kid from a mixed parentage of Indian-Portuguese origin born, living a normal childhood in a village with my multi-racial family members. We travelled a lot during my early days and I ended up in Seremban.
I ended my high school years in St Paul’s Institution. It was a lovely experience because I saw only two types of students there, either they are book smart or street smart.
After finishing my SPM examinations, I started working as a clerk as I was not keen on studying full time but rather part time in college. I thought that starting work ahead of my peers while studying at night was going to be beneficial on both ends.
In the first eight years of my life, I dabbled a lot in advertising and marketing agencies, managing large multinational companies (MNC) accounts.
During my stint at Maybank, I saw there was a trend where customers wanted personalised treatment. Gone are the days where people are just treated as numbers and the banking industry has to anticipate customer needs before even the latter realise it.
I later worked in a few corporations, including a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and RHB. My last stint before I ventured out was with Sapura Technologies.
FocusM: What motivated you to start your own venture?
Kishore: During my tenure in the banks, one of my key responsibilities was to manage all of our customers. I had an in-depth view on customers behavior and realised that somehow, I manage to understand their requirements and needs fast.
But the problem with large corporations is that they take time to adapt to changes. Due to this disadvantage, many fintech companies are mushrooming to cover the gaps and inabilities.
I also realised that the current system is slow to embrace digitalisation. Financial service providers must understand that what they do carry a lot of weight in nation building.
I believe financial service providers must start treating customers and individuals the same way they engage their premier customers; as in personalised, based on life cycle and need-based.
And I believe there are better ways to allow customers to manage their money, starting with reducing red tapes and build relationships.
I recall one incident that changed the way I saw things. I was on a working visit to Sarawak many years back, when I saw three people having a discussion at a plantation area.
Basically, they were discussing the purchase of an old motorcycle that was easily a decade old. When I enquired, the broker got offended and asked me to not meddle while he was trying to sell the motorcycle from an elderly man to a youth for RM3,000, which I knew was too pricy.
I told him for the price he is about to pay, he could have gotten a new motorcycle. However, the youth retorted and asked me who will give him a loan to purchase a new vehicle, as in those days, plantation workers received their pay in cash, without any banking transactions or an appointment letter!
That was when my perspective on financial services changed and I vowed to start something that will reach out to these communities.
FocusM: Tell us about MyMy and its vision.
Kishore: It is a joint partnership between my partner Joe McGuire and I, chaired by Tunku Datuk Ahmad Burhanuddin, who is a banking veteran.
The idea behind is to serve the underserved in Malaysia. Later on, we plan to have a Shariah compliant version while expanding to the Asean market. We got some angel investors to invest about RM4 mil with us as well.
It took us several months to set up MyMy but we have been in operation for almost three years.
The good news is that we recently managed to obtain conditional approval from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to operate our e-wallet system.
FocusM: Talk to us about MyMy’s e-wallet system.
Kishore: We are looking at a large scheme system here. Anyone can come on-board within five minutes, by registering using their MyKad or passports. Transactions are done digitally and the underserved can use the MyMy wallet for their daily purchases and expenditures.
For example, a Nepali guard told me once that it took him a full month to open a banking account here. There were cases, due to the lack of basic documentations, they would pass their money to a friend’s account which is a hassle and at times, the friend absconds with the money.
But with our system, everything is done digitally, with stringent check and balance mechanisms put in place, from e-KYC during the onboarding process. Top ups and usage of the wallets are safe and protected.
Anyone can sign up for our application and we will provide them with a debit card to perform transactions.
People can use it as debit card and withdraw cash for their daily transactions anywhere. It’s that simple!
FocusM: What is the difference between MyMy’s e-wallet and other e-wallet services offered by others?
Kishore: Anyone can join us and it will have wide reach, including rural areas.
Customers can top up at any convenience stores or petrol stations, for as a low as RM10. It is like topping up for your prepaid cards or Touch N Go.
We are trying to reach out across the board, including the underserved.
I have also engaged with Sukaniaga Sdn Bhd, the commercial arm of Angkasa, and signed a memorandum of understanding with them. So, I can foresee my e-wallet services helping its six million strong members.
We are also working with various solution providers to create a reach for areas which are out of bounds from major telecommunication companies, to ensure the rural community can access our services too.
FocusM: What is your motivation behind MyMy?
Kishore: My idea is to give the best of services and become a good role model to the society. In my view, fintech is about adding value and uplifting people’s lives. Having access to affordable and relevant financial products and services are the cornerstone of any individual wanting to better themselves.
It is a cycle that begins with having the right tools to managing your finances better, possessing financial and income protection, and the knowledge to upgrade your needs and of your family.
I was built on hard work. So, if MyMy can inspire others to come out of their predicament and create one or two more “Kishores” or even better, I feel fulfilled in my mission. – May 22, 2021.