Aaron Tan became an entrepreneur before starting high school. He created his first startup at 13 and, at 21, had already sold two companies. After that, Tan earned his degree in programming and trained as a venture capitalist. Before starting his current company Carro, he added a little bit more to his resume. Tan spent five years with Singtel, Southeast Asia's leading venture fund. Afterward, he went to San Francisco and started Block71. Upon returning home, he began Carro and became the CEO. These are ten things about Aaron Tan, founder of Carro.
10. Representing his country
In 2019, he received the ITMA Future IT Leader award. The ITFMA award stands for IT Financial Management Association. It is an award given to people who work towards improving problems created by poor financial management. According to their website, The Journal of IT Financial Management is the only one that covers topics in this field. Tan has also won the World Bronze Medalist at World Skills International.
The idea for Carro came to him after Linked in Founder Reid Hoffman urged him to at the upcoming Telsa. It was then that Tan saw how the face of the automobile industry was changing. According to Robbreport.com, He commented that he could go back to venture capitalism anytime and decided to take a chance.
8. Don't disrupt
One of the words Tan likes least is disruption, even though what he's doing with his company Carro. For him, his business is simply about bridging a need between a customer and a reliable vehicle. His company Carro does that by offering a wide range of services, including loans, warranties, and general repairs.
7. Imitation and flattery
Kelly Blue Book, CarFax, and other similar resources are not available in Asia. Tan helped develop a similar Kelly Blue Book concept. During an interview with Aaron Roth, he asked him if his ideas were duplicates of United States companies like Carvana. Additionally, he was asked if his idea for bringing Kelly Blue Book was cloning an already used idea? He responded that he felt these were building blocks to revolutionizing the industry.
6. Go big or go home
Tan learned a life lesson while working as a venture capitalist, don't do anything halfway. So as he was thinking about his next business move and what company he wanted to start, he opted for the automobile industry because he saw the most room and growth potential. He has always been focused on learning and expanding his knowledge. He started building websites at 13, how he learned many of the skills that helped propel him to success at such a young age. He recognized that people were starting to look at websites, so he learned programming and built websites, making almost $10000 before graduating high school.
5. Going global
According to endeavorindonesia.org, in January 2021, Aaron Tan was named an Endeavor Entrepreneur at the 11th Virtual International Selection Panel. He was one of only ten entrepreneurs in 6 companies. Endeavor's panel is selected using things like the potential to use Endevaors resources such as their mentorship program to grow their businesses to new levels.
4. Building on ideas
When Tan initially thought about Carro, he wanted online classifieds for people to buy a car online. Then, however, he noticed additional verticals that would make his company more successful. Although many other companies like Carousell have emerged, Tan believes his company is different because it has every element of buying a car from lot to road. He also knows the importance of understanding the market. So as he scales the Carro company, he doesn't look at growth for the sake of growing. Instead, he focuses on areas where he will make the most impact and revenue.
3. Don't settle
Tan started his first business at 13 and sold it when he wasn't old enough to sign the documents legally. When asked about advice he would give young entrepreneurs during an interview with Singapore Management University, he suggested trying out one job that's a startup and a linear path and seeing which one you like more. One of the other things he cautioned young entrepreneurs about is don't sell too soon. He sold one of his earliest companies and realized later that he undervalued it, and after it would have been worth a lot more. Additionally, he reminded them it's never too early to start finding your way.
2. Trade-in collateral
The ability to create a company as big as Carro came from his days as a venture capitalist. While working at his previous companies, he realized the best way to get someone to invest in you and your product is to get them to trust you.
1. Fix a Need
Tan noticed people realized people know next to nothing about their purchasing vehicles and wanted to change that. However, since he was already a seasoned entrepreneur, he felt confident shaking up the three trillion dollar auto industry. In an interview with Yahoo News, he talked about the challenges between concept and making revenue. He had a difficult time breaking into the market since the automobile industry was already well established. However, he believed in his idea and knew that customers needed a platform like his, so he began positioning himself with car dealers before moving his company further.
Entrepreneur success stories happen more often, and the faces are getting younger. Aaron Tan has made mistakes and had tremendous success. Yet, it's his constant quest for knowledge that is the foundation for the success he has achieved. Although he struggled with acceptance by the automobile industry when he started Carro, he kept persisting and scaled it to unicorn status. Already a CEO and former venture capitalist at 31, Tan's constant drive proves that hard work is more important than age. Moreover, his success is an example of what people can achieve even if someone says they're too young.
Written by Allen Lee
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