Ideal Founder Series 010
Michael Lee , Founder of LiFUNd
Jul 30, 2023
Contact LiFUNd: https://bio.site/lifund
錸放科技創辦人 - Michael，過去在大企業中擔任過會計、內部稽核師等職務，在這樣彈性相對較小的環境下，Michael 學會了如何在精準掌握資訊後，利用資訊在各方利益間找到平衡點。
Michael, founder of LiFUNd, held various positions such as accountant and internal auditor in large corporations. Within these relatively rigid environments, Michael learned how to find a balance among various interests after complete understanding of information.
Startups require immense flexibility. However, what remains constant is that startups always need to find a balance between the interests and needs of various stakeholders. Despite the significant differences in operation models and styles between corporations and startups, Michael's experiences have been greatly beneficial in the establishment of LiFUNd.
Q. 請用三個詞形容你自己 / Use three words to describe yourself
Speed, Cautious, Easy-going
Q. Do you consider yourself (three answers above) when you’re at work? Or would you describe yourself in another way when at work? / 你是否覺得自己在工作時也符合以上的三個形容詞？還是你會以不同的方式描述
Being in the startup industry, we often find ourselves in completely new territories. However, as a leader, it is crucial to be decisive on key issues. So I believe that the biggest difference between my usual self and my work self would be "easy-going." Even though I love the way our team communicates and the freedom to exchange opinions, being able to make decisive decisions in planning the future amidst all options is crucial.
Q. 能否與我們分享一下您的背景，以及您是如何開始您的職業生涯的？ / Could you tell us a little about your background and how you got started in your career?
在我早期的職業生涯中，我有幸於Philip Morris International擔任內部稽核師、會計師及稅務的職務，並也曾在KPMG擔任稅務顧問。當時，我所處的工作環境和產業特性與我目前身處的新創生態截然不同。在預算控制和會計領域，精準性是我們的首要目標，彈性自然相對受限。
In the early stages of my career, I had the privilege to serve as an internal control, accountant, and tax specialist at Philip Morris International, and also as a tax specialist at KPMG. At that time, the work environment and industry characteristics were very different from the startup ecosystem in which I am now immersed. In the realms of budget control and accounting, precision was necessary, while flexibility is relatively small.
However, the highly adaptive nature of the startup environment comes with its own set of unique challenges. Despite having greater leeway, each decision and risks I’m facing now is something I have to bear directly. Within a startup, every choice can be a matter of make or break, and as such, working in a startup, especially as a founder, often faces psychological challenges that are no less than external hurdles.
Q.你認為哪一項核心技能在你的職業生涯中扮演關鍵的角色？ / What do you consider the core skill you have that has helped you throughout your career?
I think communication is no doubt the most important skill that helps startups gain a more comprehensive and timely understanding of situations and identifying entry points for problem-solving.
This is really a deep understanding which my past experiences as accountant, internal control, and related fields has brought me. Regardless of the level of expertise we possess in any particular field, communication remains the most challenging yet crucial skill.
Q. 最一開始決定建立錸放科技的動機是什麼? / What is the story behind the establishment of LiFUNd?
起初我是受到國外學生透過募款舉辦 House Party 的模式啟發，這樣的模式需要一方負責組織活動，而另一方則負責提供資金。然而考慮到台灣缺乏適當場地，以及文化的差異，我認為將這個模式重新塑造，並用以填補資訊缺口，將為同時擁有不同價值和需求的人提供一個可以互惠平台。
Initially, I was inspired by a model popular among students abroad, where they fundraise to organize house parties, with one group handling the organization and another providing the funds. However, considering Taiwan's lack of appropriate venues and differences in culture for such events, I adapted this model to bridge the information gap and created a platform for individuals with varying values and needs.
Furthermore, I’ve noticed that most platforms in Taiwan find it difficult to expand internationally, as their business models are similar to those of established international players. Additionally, I noticed that when students apply to schools abroad, grades are no longer the sole deciding factor; the additional efforts students had put into aside from academics and internships are crucial as well, yet these endeavors often lack formal recognition.
Combining my initial idea with these insights, the blueprint for LiFUNd took shape.
4. What was the biggest surprise or obstacle you encountered while building your startup and what did you learn?
For startups, especially when the products or services involve novel concepts, I believe the most significant challenge lies in effectively communicating these new ideas to the target audience. The educational cost associated with this not only encompasses investments in various educational and promotional channels but also involves a considerable amount of time.
In the face of such challenges, patience is critically essential. And when I say patience, it’s not just about waiting for the target customers to gradually comprehend our services; it's about understanding that as entrepreneurs, we often have a clear vision of the future and are eager to share our philosophy and vision with the market instantly.
However, during the process, if the consumers are not able to understand the value we offer, it’s likely that they will stop using the services we offer. Therefore, being patient also means that we can manage the information we have wisely, and share the information according to the stage our customers are at.
Q. 你是怎麼衡量你的成功? 你衡量的標準是什麼? / At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your metrics?
我們距離理想中的成功仍有很長一段路要走。我們希望藉由錸放建立一個能夠自行運作的生態系，在我們的模式中，有三個主要參與者 — 學生、企業和社會福利機構 — 能夠通過平台積極互動。並期望錸放科技在這個過程中扮演的中介角色逐漸減弱，讓平台最終發展成一個具有自我驅動性和持續性的社群。
We still have a long way to go before we reach the point where we consider it a success. Our ultimate goal is to foster an ecosystem where the three key players within our business model - students, corporations, and social welfare organizations - can actively engage with each other through the platform. We envision LiFUNd’s role as an intermediary within this framework to gradually diminish, allowing the platform to evolve into a self-sustaining and thriving community.
Q. 你會對其他的有野心和熱情的創業家說什麼? / What would you tell aspiring startup founders?
Regardless of the stage of a plan, the best encouragement tends to be practical and cautious advice.
I believe that when we communicate with individuals who want to start their own company, offering them inspirational words is not the way. Instead, I find that the most constructive and practical dialogues should involve an in-depth and insightful discussion focusing on their current thoughts, the stage they are at, the resources they have, and their plans for the future.
Q. In a few sentences, what do you offer and to whom?
"In this era of labor shortage, the ideals of young people and the demands of companies seem to run on two parallel lines."
We've observed the current issues in Taiwanese society, noticing an increasing number of young people feeling lost about their futures even after graduating from university. Thus, the LiFUNd platform was born...
As a social enterprise, we are committed to acting as a bridge between students and businesses. Students can give back to society and develop their soft skills through their interests and expertise. We also leverage the strengths of student organizations to achieve sustainable development in talent cultivation.
On the other hand, we assist companies in fulfilling their social responsibilities and establishing their brand image. As businesses give back to society, not only can they identify influential talents who are proactive, reducing future recruitment costs, but they can also establish a positive brand image among young people.
Q. 用幾句話說明你的公司還有你要解決的問題 / What is your company and problems you are addressing in a few sentences?
錸放的商業模型將三個主要參與者 - 學生、企業和社福機構的價值和需求相互連接。這使過去閒置的資源和協助需求得以互相補充，從而有效地結合未被善用的資訊和資源。
LiFUNd’s business model interlinks the values and needs of the three primary stakeholders - students, corporations, and social welfare organizations. This ensures that previously underutilized resources and needs for assistance are mutually complemented, allowing for a more efficient use of information and resources.
Q. 和我們分享目前為止，關於你的產品 / 服務受市場歡迎的吸引力是什麼 ? / What’s most exciting about your traction to date?
In our business model, we have interconnected the unique values that each role can offer and their individual needs.
For students, we mainly focus on creating opportunities for personal growth that can be recorded and certified. Although obtaining financial support from corporations through our assistance is certainly appealing, we do not confine the value that LiFUNd offers solely to monetary terms.
We bridge the gap for corporations and social welfare organizations by providing them access to talented individuals willing to collaborate in fulfilling social responsibilities. Through the organization of events, both parties gain exposure, attracting more people to engage in social activities that embody diverse values.
It's worth mentioning that not only is there a lack of business models similar to LiFUNd in Taiwan, but there are also few such platforms internationally. This unique model not only brings immediate assistance to participants but also has a profound impact on the future development of society and talent cultivation.
Q. 在接下來的一到兩年內，有什麼事你希望可以達成的？ / What milestone do you expect LiFUNd to reach in the next 1-2 years?
We plan to expand the business model to other countries, after establishing LiFUNd as a widely recognized and trusted platform in Taiwan within the next two years. Once we have garnered the participation and endorsement from students, corporations, and social welfare organizations in Taiwan, we will be taking LiFUNd to a wider market.
This model not only brings immediate benefits to all participants but also, in the long run, has a profound and positive impact on the overall development of society and nurturing of talents. I believe that the collaboration among students, corporations, and social welfare organizations holds infinite possibilities and diverse approaches, not confined by nationality. LiFUNd aims to explore various collaborative avenues with individuals globally who are in need, in order to contribute toward societal progress and foster a better environment.
Q. 目前你的公司正在尋找什麼? (例如:資金、新市場擴張、人才?) / What would be the 3 things that your company is looking for now? (e.g. Funding, new market expansion, new hires?)
Our utmost necessities right now are the inclusion of more exceptional talents and corporations to jointly cultivate a more vibrant LiFUNd. While funding is undeniably a crucial part as a startup, establishing partnerships with a greater number of influential enterprises and students is the one of the things we’re more than eager to achieve right now.
As a startup, it is unrealistic for us to expect individuals encountering LiFUNd for the first time to instantly understand or even embrace the value we offer. Therefore, a sturdy and compelling inception is what we presently require. As an increasing number of individuals join this community and potential participants witness tangible results, the entire community will operate with enhanced efficiency.
Q. What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?
I firmly believe the best structures for startups include a specific trait - agility.
Our team currently comprises less than five members and boasts an extremely flat organizational structure, which empowers us with speed and efficiency.
Undoubtedly, a hierarchical management structure has its array of advantages and possesses formidable execution capabilities. Within the landscape of a startup, our ultimate objective is to progressively construct and realize the value we aim to offer. However, when we narrow our focus to the day-to-day routine, our top priority is to constantly adjust our strategy, make sure we accomplish the tasks at hand, and ensure the company's sustainable operations.
In light of this, the flat culture within our team grants us essential agility, which is also one of the key factors in fostering harmonious collaboration amongst our members.
Ｑ. 你會如何和其他新創公司的創辦人分享你的經驗和感想，關於成為理想Ideal 社群中的一員？ / What would you tell other startup founders about being part of the Ideal community and your experience here?
首先，我真的認為 Ideal 提供的共環境非常的舒適，同時日常的營運也時常獲得 Ideal 團隊的幫助，但我認為最重要的是，這個空間充滿了機會。
若有人正在看辦公室的，我很推薦大家親自來 The Ideal Venture Studio!
First of all, I genuinely think that Ideal provides an extremely comfortable co-working environment, and our day-to-day operations often receive assistance from the Ideal team. But what I think is most important is that this space is full of opportunities.
All the startups here are more than willing to learn from each other, and even work together. Recently, we've begun having more in-depth discussions with different teams, and this, I believe, is where the true value of a co-working office lies. If teams don't interact with each other, then the office would just become a simple, cold space.
If anyone is looking for office space, I highly recommend that you personally visit The Ideal Venture Studio!