The person I would most like to have dinner with is: My older self My favorite activity is: Watching mukbang clips on youtube
Empowering organizations with effective and impactful learning capabilities
TRADING IT ALL IN FOR SOMETHING MEANINGFUL. When Gustavo Liu decided to quit his job as one of Singapore’s top private bankers to become an entrepreneur, his boss dismissed it as nothing more than him needing a break from a cut-throat industry. “She said to me, whatever ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ journey you need, go and do it for six months, your clients will wait for you.” Little did Gustavo know the ensuing journey would be one of self-discovery and a search for balance that draws parallels with the popular memoir.
In some ways, Gustavo’s path to entrepreneurship was inevitable. Born in Taiwan, his family emigrated to Latin America when he was a child. His parents turned the remaining $1,500 in their pocket into a successful business that afforded Gustavo and his sister some of the best educational opportunities, first in the UK as a teenager and then New York, where he got his degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. While most kids look to music and film stars as role models, for Gustavo it had always been his parents.
“I realize now that my parents were my first investors. They were the people that believed in me and invested in me with unconditional love. If I had to onboard anybody on my vision, it was them. Without their support, I wouldn't have been able to do it.”
Where Gustavo quickly rose up through the private banking world, his route through entrepreneurship has proven far more uneven and arduous. Inspired by the wealthy clients he’d worked for, he was motivated to start a business that would affect significant change in the world, particularly the issues faced in Asia. Without a fully-formed idea, he packed his life into one suitcase and backpack and bought a one-way ticket to Irvine, California.
“At that moment I broke down in tears because there was just so much fear of what it was like to leave something that I'd built for 12 years. But one thing I learned from my years in the banking industry was how to hustle. I knew how to connect with people, I learned fast, and quickly adapted to different environments.”
REFOCUSING THE MISSION. In his first year, Gustavo opened and closed on around eight projects that ranged from bartering and trading apps to retail and AI. He’d been rejected by 36 different accelerators and incubators, and panic was beginning to set in. Revisiting his original objective, he turned to his experience in private banking to advise founders with budgeting and financing their startup - and help them establish a footprint in Asia.
The idea evolved into Rescale Lab, which aims to democratize entrepreneurship by empowering burgeoning startups and founders with affordable access to quality resources. “I thought, if we had a structural methodology of guiding, that could be a business that would fast-track young founders through the journey, rather than taking a year-and-a-half like I did.” Now, the company works with Singapore’s biggest institutions and has created a management platform to empower organizations to deliver applied and practical learning programs at scale.
When Gustavo was establishing Rescale Lab, he was adamant to foster a culture of inclusivity after years of experiencing the polar opposite in banking, where he was often singled out for being gay. Now working closely with the education sector in Asia he’s experienced first-hand how much work needs to be done to overhaul perceptions of the LGBTQIA+ community. “People might think Asia is very forward-looking because they are at the forefront of building future leaders, but there’s a lot of false statistics going around and conservative traditions upheld that shows how much more progression we need to make.”