The decisions we make can have a ripple effect throughout our lives and careers. Bond CEO and Co-founder, Roy Ng, is incredibly glad he decided to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he double majored in Business at the Haas School of Business as well as Political Science.
He recently appeared on Berkely's Haas Podcast with Christine Tao, CEO of Sounding Board, hosted by Sean Li.
From building company culture , to discussing how Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders can navigate the fundraising world, to levelling the playing field of finance, Roy, Sean, and Christine covered it all. Here are a few of our favorite moments from the podcast, which you can listen to here.
Finding your footing in a new country
Before he made it to Berkeley, Roy was raised in Hong Kong, moving to Southern California at age ten. He navigated a subtle British affect in his accent, his adolescence in America, and making it to Haas.
"I spent the first decade of my life in Hong Kong. I went to elementary school there. My parents decided to come to the U.S. So my mom and I first came to the States.
We have few relatives here, starting to build a life here. I still remember going to middle school and I spoke with a little bit of an English accent. Back then, Hong Kong was still part of the British colony.
This was, I think, fifth grade — a lot of opinions about people who are different from them. I tried really hard to fit in; football was soccer and all sorts of nomenclature that you had to kind of get adjusted to. I think when you’re young, you’re also able to kind of assimilate fairly quickly."
Leveling the playing field
In the simplest terms, Bond is a financial platform. But, it's a bridge, too. The flexibility of Bond's platform means that banks, brands, and developers can mold financial products to fit underserved communities and expand the reach of those products to serve more people.
"One of the things I'm passionate about, and continue to be passionate about, is levelling the playing field for anyone, whether they're immigrants or people who might not be in the same situation you are. Throughout my journey, I've always thought about how I can give back."
"I founded Bond also because I want to level the playing field. For the people who are well banked, we probably get mailers for new credit cards every single day. But, for a big portion of Americans, and for a big portion of the world, they're not adequately addressed by the financial system itself. So, building Bond was, for me, a way to provide the building blocks for innovators to better address segments of the community that might not have been addressed well by the current financial systems"
From zero to something
As founders, Roy and Christine know how it feels to build something from the ground up. In a serendipitous encounter, both Roy and Christine were working on launching their respective companies when they met at a coffee shop years ago.
"I still remember meeting up with you, Christine, back at that coffee shop and Bond was an idea. Sounding Board was an idea. We were really just ideating, frankly. How far have we come, right? I mean, we both now raised our Series A and we’re looking at potentially even using Sounding Board for our team. And so, for me as a first-time founder, I think, there’s really a lot of satisfaction in building something from nothing. We’ve all been executives before and, you know, helping something that’s already scaled out, refine and grow is one thing. But really birthing something, frankly, from zero to something is hard but extraordinarily rewarding."
Building culture into a company
As Bond scales, Roy sees his role as a leader as something that extends beyond quarterly reports, or product metrics. It's a CEO's job to create a sense of community within their company and to act as a beacon for the community outside their company.
Roy sees more and more AAPI founders launching successful companies and paving the way for others.
"I moved here when I was ten, looking to fit into the American culture. As the leader and founder yourself, you may or may not be building the right experience for your own team because maybe you’re not American enough or whatever, right? And that’s always in the back of my mind. It seems a little silly given I’ve been here for so long but, there’s always kind of that culture piece that you want to make sure that you’re super attuned to.
And being able to see folks like Eric Yuan at Zoom not only build a successful company but earn the recognition as one of the best CEOs in the industry — he’s an immigrant himself. As he’s building the company, he’s been able to build a phenomenal culture, not just a very successful company. People like that I really look up to because if you were building a company in a different country, it would be very different. And so culture is very specific to the country you’re in and the cultures that you’re dealing with.
For me, it was very validating to see founders who also have a similar immigrant experience being able to build not just successful but culturally superb companies."
If joining a successful and culturally superb company sounds like something you might be interested in, check out our careers page and let’s chat!