In the ever-evolving world of technology and entrepreneurship, we at ‘Bright Founders Talk’ had the privilege to converse with Kester Goh, Co-Founder of Magnax, a trailblazing company making waves in the sector of axial flux technology.
As Kester unraveled the story behind Magnax, he touched upon the company’s initial journey in wind turbine generators and its pivot to the automotive industry. However, it was not just about Magnax’s technological advancements; we got a deep dive into the life and thought processes of Kester himself. From his early days with a law degree to venturing into the start-up ecosystem, his unique perspective shaped by both sides of the entrepreneurial table lends insights every budding entrepreneur should heed.
With a sharp focus on making the journey successful rather than obsessing over outcomes, Kester Goh stands as a testament to evolving with time, taking risks, and staying persistent. Join us as we delve deeper into this enlightening conversation.
Kester: The Lawyer-Turned-Technologist Transforming Mobility
It’s not every day you come across a tale as multifaceted as Kester’s. As co-founder at Magnax, Kester painted a vivid picture of his ventures. From the first idea of harnessing wind energy through a massive 1.6-meter diameter generator to pivoting towards the faster-paced automotive industry, the journey of their main holding company, Magnetics, has been a rollercoaster. And through it all, the underpinning technology remained consistent, morphing from a power-generating tool to one of kinetic propulsion.
Peeling back the layers, we find a law graduate amidst the innovation. But Kester’s legal background was far from typical litigation; he dwelled in transactional work, engaging with tech startups and VCs. This immersion into the start-up world was a pivot from courtroom drama to the thrill of entrepreneurial roller coasters. His legal acumen provided an edge, allowing him to see both sides of the transactional table – understanding the heartbeat of VCs and the pulse of startups.
Entrepreneurial spirit, according to Kester, is more than a title; it’s an embodiment. It’s about embracing risks, standing tall amidst challenges, and forging ahead. But above all, it’s about the journey. In his words, “Just focus on the ones you do and try to do your best there and try to enjoy the journey.” It’s a testament to not only his wisdom accumulated over years but also a mantra for upcoming entrepreneurs: embrace the ride, cherish every moment, and always aim for the stars.
Balancing Hard Work: Insights with Kester Goh
Kester sat comfortably, a hint of nostalgia lining his features as he delved into the elements of luck and hard work. “The harder you work, the luckier you seem to become,” he began, reflecting upon a saying he’d come across. “But, you have to be smart enough to know that you got lucky.” His words hang in the air, suggesting the intricate dance between determination and serendipity. It isn’t just about the grind; it’s about knowing when the universe gives you a nudge and seizing the right moments.
His journey, like many entrepreneurs, has been filled with moments of introspection. Recognizing that not every endeavor will strike gold, he emphasized the need to stay sharp and maintain a balanced perspective. “It’s all about balance. Work hard, but not so hard that you’re blinded to opportunities or red flags,” Kester shared. His narrative took a reflective turn as he shared about the challenges of navigating the startup world, notably the importance of understanding one’s chosen industry. The stakes? Knowing when to forge ahead or when to pivot or even abandon ship. It’s a brave decision, but as he quipped, sometimes, “after six or nine months, you say no.”
Yet, beneath this measured approach lies a passionate spirit that simply doesn’t mesh with the confines of corporate norms. Kester’s journey into entrepreneurship stemmed from a yearning for a world unburdened by stifling processes and protocols. “I often say, I feel grateful to have discovered the tech startup world. Otherwise, I’d be lost in a corporate jungle, bogged down by rules,” he chuckled. But don’t mistake his affable demeanor. This is a man whose heart beats fervently for his brainchild, a venture he co-founded with two like-minded individuals. Together, they complement each other, a trio united in purpose, each bringing to the table a unique set of skills. In Kester’s world, it’s not just about being the smartest or the luckiest – it’s about the right partnerships, the right mindset, and of course, a dash of good old luck.
Navigating Co-founder Dynamics & Revolutionizing E-Mobility: A Candid Chat with Kester
With a chuckle and an affable ease, Kester candidly shared the nuances of co-founding relationships. Drawing parallels to a “second marriage”, he opened up about the essential yet often overlooked ingredient to a harmonious partnership: communication. “We’ve had our issues, and sometimes assumptions overshadow the truths. You think you know what’s going on in their head, but in reality, each mind is its own universe,” he mused. The solution? Regular, no-frills founder meetings that, sometimes, didn’t need an agenda.
Tracing back the origins of their tech journey, Kester recounted the serendipitous meeting of Peter and Dan by the school gates, and how their individual histories converged to create a product for wind turbines. But, as with many startups, they soon realized the market had other plans for them. “Initially, the E-mobility market showed more interest than wind turbines. That pivot was an eye-opener,” Kester reflected. He emphasized the critical nature of interacting with the market, even if a product isn’t polished to perfection, highlighting the importance of a proactive entrepreneurial spirit.
The discussion soon shifted to ‘Axyal’, the pioneering venture centered on electric and hybrid aircraft technology. As Kester spoke of the thousands of leads and the diversity of applications for their technology, the narrative of one persistent client from the Air Mobility industry emerged. This company’s relentless belief in Axyal’s potential gave birth to a partnership which wasn’t just about supplying a product, but embarking on a collaborative journey. With a gleam in his eyes, Kester ended with a vision for a future where kerosene burners become obsolete, replaced by the quiet hum of electric motors powering the skies.
Redefining Mobility: Kester on Axial Flux Motors and Navigating the Funding Waters
Diving into the thick of urban traffic jams, Kester spotlights a significant market need: a cleaner, more efficient mobility solution. A mere few miles can seem an eternity amidst the congestion of big cities. “There is a real opportunity here,” he asserts, pinpointing a market void, where demands for better solutions meet the challenges of current expensive and clunky offerings.
Kester provides an intriguing rundown of their pioneering axial flux motor technology, while candidly admitting he’s no techie. Most of us are accustomed to radial flux motors, but axial flux motors, having been around since Faraday’s days, offer some distinct advantages. Their major hurdle was cooling. “If you can’t cool the motor, you can’t achieve the efficiency in electromagnetic simulations,” he notes. Kester’s team, however, has seemingly cracked the code. Their innovative cooling system, combined with cost-effective manufacturing methods, not only gives them an edge but also positions them strongly in the market. The result? Lighter motors translating to longer battery ranges and reduced costs.
Predicting the future of flying Ubers or similar innovations, Kester likens the journey to the Gartner Hype Cycle, suggesting that while the sector might witness some downturns, the eventual trajectory is upwards. Drawing on his rich experience in startup fundraising, he offers a gem to budding entrepreneurs. Stressing the importance of preemptive funding, he reminisces about an old venture that only survived due to a last-minute funding influx. The takeaway? Sometimes, raising a tad more than needed can make all the difference.