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Episode #13: How to leverage the entrepreneurial spirit to overcome adversity – with Catalyst’s Edward Chiu

Let’s call a spade a spade: The economy is rough. That’s clear to anyone working in the business world, from management to marketing to sales to customer success.

But the recent downturn has only crystallized how vital CS is to Catalyst Co-Founder and CEO Edward Chiu. Companies can’t afford to look at CS as an afterthought; CS is now firmly at the “head of the table” and helping drive the “most important missions,” Chiu told Update AI’s Josh Schachter on the latest episode of “[Un]churned.”

“[Customer success] is the only thing that can truly move the needle [right now],” Chiu said. “Sales are outside of everyone’s control, nobody knows where the market’s going, and nobody knows how the economy is going to trend. What you have control over is your customers’ adoption and still maintaining those champions – and in order to sell, you’re going to need those champions.”

Many of the brightest minds in the VC world agree with Edward, too. Catalyst just announced it raised $20 million in its Series B funding round, which also doubled the company’s $125 million valuation in the process. (Overall, Catalyst has raised $65 million to date.)

In a nutshell, Catalyst aims to “Help companies upsell and retain customers with precision,” Edward said.

He also told Josh that he believes what sets its CS platform apart is that it was actually built by someone with a CS leadership background – giving Catalyst a better understanding of what CSMs need in their day-to-day roles. As Edward explained, he knows what it’s like to be woken up at 3:00 a.m. to deal with customer complaints.



And if you haven’t seen it already, you can check out the pitch deck that Catalyst used to close its latest round in Business Insider, which recently featured the NYC-based startup. Josh, in particular, loved Catalyst’s slide that stated: “Unlike our competitors, Catalyst’s users login almost every single day, and sometimes on the weekend.”

Edward and Josh go more into detail on how Catalyst has made that a reality – as well as the reason data is so critical to CSMs – on “Unchurned,” so don’t miss the full episode. But what stood out the most from their conversation was Edward’s entrepreneurial spirit and how he leveraged it during the most trying period of his life – here’s what happened.


Professional success – and personal adversity

Edward’s meddle was truly tested starting in February 2020.

From a professional standpoint, things couldn’t have looked better. Catalyst had just raised its Series A funding round and its team was growing fast. It was a major accomplishment for Edward, and one that he was thrilled to enjoy alongside his brother, Kevin, who was also the startup’s co-founder and chief operating officer.

Of course, with the raise came incredible expectations and stress. But Edward was up to the challenge – in large part because he knew Catalyst had listened to CSMs and built a platform for them. What he and Kevin heard was that it was difficult to get, ingest and visualize data that helped CSMs address the needs of their customers. Addressing that pain point was critical to Catalyst’s early – and continued – success.

“At the end of the day, CS is no longer just relationship building – it’s all about how you operate based on the data sets of your customers [and] the trends of your customers,” Kevin explained.

Things quickly turned south, though. Leading a company is hard enough when everything is going great in a co-founder’s personal life, but that wasn’t the case here. Almost immediately after the Series A was raised, Kevin was hit by COVID-19.

At first, the brothers didn’t think much of it. Again, this was February 2020, about a month before the first wave of lockdowns took place. There was no news about Americans being infected at the time. It soon became clear, though, that this was worse than a normal cold.

Kevin, who suffers from mild asthma, was “coughing his lungs out,” Edward said, and was in immense pain. At one point, Edward had to break into Kevin’s room and carry him out of his bed because it was clear he was dealing with something severe.

Kevin was taken to the hospital and, a few weeks later, put on a ventilator. The situation was dire.

With his brother (and co-founder) clinging to life, Edward did his best to juggle his professional demands with his personal desire to do anything to help his brother. But it was “Hard to keep it together, to be honest,” Edward told Josh.


“Being an entrepreneur is just not giving up”

Edward’s innate entrepreneurial spirit kicked in at this point.

First, he left no stone unturned in trying to help his brother get better. This meant a daily stream of calls to Kevin’s doctors in which he asked a number of questions, including what his daily diet was. Any pieces of information he could gather were welcomed – even if he couldn’t really do much with it. Edward’s consistent questions and check-ins even led some of the doctors to wonder if he was a doctor calling from a different hospital to get a better understanding of Kevin’s situation.

At one point, Edward said he sent a “strategic” number of masks and, of course, pizza, to his brother’s doctors as both a “thank you” and a way to keep him in the loop.

“As an entrepreneur, you take things into your own hands,” Edward said. “You’re procuring whatever is necessary to save him.”

Meanwhile, Edward still had to lead Catalyst. Packing it in was not an option, he said. This was a company he had built with his brother, and it was at a critical point in its growth. And beyond the recent funding, Edward said he took seriously the commitment he had to his team – to be the leader they needed in a time of hardship.

“You just do it,” Edward told Josh, when asked how he led Catalyst while dealing with the pain of his brother’s illness. “When you have so many people who have committed their lives and careers to the company… you have to be rock solid. Be the rock for everyone.”

That meant continuing to go on sales calls, continuing to hold company all-hands, and continuing to handle his CEO responsibilities. Keeping the faith and staying the course in the face of adversity was critical, Edward said, for both himself and everyone at Catalyst.

“Being an entrepreneur is just not giving up, even when you’re feeling at your lowest point and you have no way out,” Edward said. “I think you actually gain more entrepreneurial skills when you’re pinned against the wall.”

Fortunately, a miracle happened: After fighting for weeks, Kevin started to recover – something the doctors hadn’t anticipated when he was put on the ventilator.

Fast forward to today, and Kevin is back in the saddle leading Catalyst alongside his brother – just as they had planned. Edward is now able to look back at those harrowing weeks and see that the entrepreneurial spirit they both share – that instinctive nature to “go down swinging,” as Edward said – helped keep his company, and more importantly, his brother, alive.

“Intuitive user experience matters these days. Gone are the days when people used to want legacy tools that would take 6 months to a year to deploy and many admins to build things up. Everyone appreciates waking up to the view they have configured for themselves. When you have a tool that works the way you want it to you are obviously excited to log in and that’s always been our foundation." - Edward Chiu

Listening to Unchurned will lower your churn and increase your conversions.

Josh 0:06
everybody I’m Josh Schachter, founder and CEO of UpdateAI and host of [Un]churned. Joining me today is Edward Chiu, the co founder and CEO of Catalyst. Catalyst is one of the Customer Success platforms that is taking the CSS world by storm. They were incorporated in 2017 really got going in 2020, and have grown from 36 to 91 employees in just the last two years. They’re building out a vibrant community of customer success in New York City where they’re headquartered. Along with other parts of the world, they just announced the next class of their of their mentorship coaching program, they just raised their B Series B round or just announced it at least and have some really cool content around that. And I go on and on Edwards, been, you know, has become a true beacon of customer success leadership in the world today. So Edward, thank you so much for being on the show.

Edward Chiu 0:58
Josh, thank you. And I’ve never been described as a beacon. But that’s, that’s a nice word. Yeah, I

Josh 1:05
don’t know where that came to be. It’s a little odd, but it’s the word of the KGB at the bow. It’s a nice shiny object. Yeah. Cool. All right. So so we’re called unsure and we want to go raw here. We want to get to know you. And then we’ll get into some of the questions about catalysts about customer success about SAS. So just to warm up things here for a bit, where were you born? And where do you live now.

Edward Chiu 1:26
I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, I moved to the US, not really speaking a word of English. And my parents moved me to Palm Springs. And truthfully, that was like, the roughest place you could move any Asian family to I think it was only Asian person in town and getting made fun of every day, as a third grader, instantly removed all accent and improve my English speaking capabilities. You know, kids are cruel, especially at a young age. And now I am in New York City.

Josh 2:04
I spent COVID in Palm Springs. And I can imagine it was a new world coming from Taipei. So you were about eight years old, then I guess third grade? Yeah.

Edward Chiu 2:15
Yeah. It’s been a long time. So I’m not good with age age groups. But yeah, it was it was around eight, eight years old.

Josh 2:25
Do you think having come from from Taiwan over to the US has impacted the way you think about entrepreneurship and the journey of how you got to launching the company?

Edward Chiu 2:37
Oh, absolutely. Because Taiwan is not really known for entrepreneurship, most of the folks there that come back, and they just work in big companies, big hardware manufacturing companies. And that’s the biggest thing in Taipei is that most people, they go to school, they study from 9am to midnight, and then they go to go to work for a big company. I mean, as you see everything, probably your hat is made in Taipei, Taiwan. And that’s, that’s where people go.

Josh 3:09
Made in Vietnam, but that’s okay. It’s competitive the competitive region.

Edward Chiu 3:15
And yeah, what’s something

Josh 3:17
that that people might not expect to hear about you? Um,

Edward Chiu 3:25
I think, what’s the biggest thing I mean, I’ve shared this on a few few other podcasts. But I think we may have different audiences here. But when I was in Taipei, Taiwan. I was supposed to be in commercials and movies. My parents submitted me to this game show it’s very popular game show and I ended up winning the game show and they asked me to do commercials and shows and stuff. And my mom said that I’m not he’s, he’s moving to the US and he’s gonna go learn English and do that life instead. So pardon me blames her because I could have been, you know, a celebrity and traveling the world doing shows probably comes with its own set of challenges. But that’s something that’s something in my in my past life. To be fair, I’m a terrible singer. So I’m not sure there would have had to do a lot of lot of voiceovers if I were to sing songs.

Josh 4:22
Was this like a like kids say the darndest things type of games. I mean, you were like five, six or seven, right? Like what what was the nature of the show?

Edward Chiu 4:30
There is a show every Sunday that’s called looking like a superstar. So they submitted my photo of a celebrity that I look like, I guess, out of 1000s of applications, they thought I really looked like him. So you go into the show, and then you and 10 other contestants, you sing or act out whatever special skills and talent a celebrity has. And mine in particular was a very popular pop artist and singer and I sang his song and I ended up when In first place, and yeah, it was a pretty, pretty interesting time of my life. That’s cool. I went to like a karaoke bar every single day for like, a month just learning his songs. It was like bootcamp training. That was no fun for a kid my age. It was millions and millions of people watching Aaron Kwok and what was English name?

Josh 5:28
What’s the song?

Edward Chiu 5:30
Oh, man, I can’t even tell you the name anymore. It’s been it’s been so long. And my team always brings up this video and they want me to sing it. And that’s just there’s just no chance. I’m trying to get away from that as much as possible. I’m typically a pretty shy and secluded person. So that was a time period that I’m trying to forget.

Josh 5:50
Okay, I was going to try to pull you in there. The next question was going to be how does it go again, but Okay,

Edward Chiu 5:55
yeah. Not, not happening.

Josh 5:59
Okay. All right. So you guys just raised around? And I’d say just but but how many months ago is this? When did you raise your series? B?

Edward Chiu 6:07
Yeah, it was a couple months ago. But we just announced recently as you as you saw last week, and yeah, it’s really great for the business were excited. And every single company right now is so deeply focused on retention, mainly because you know, sales is slowing down for a bunch of businesses. Markets are tanking 700 points a day, it seems like which is terrible for most of us that do trading on Robin Hood’s and are etc. But for us like, luckily for us, that is a business that we’re in we help companies to your point upsell and retain customers with precision. And right now that’s top of mind for every CEO, every C level exec To be honest, and we’re excited by and the investor community was obviously excited excited about it. You saw from an article we had customers invest, we had thought leaders in the community invest. So it was a it was a party room. Everyone was was involved. And it was great to have that level of support from the community.

Josh 7:07
Yeah, yeah. And so you’ve been very transparent with information, you’ve at this point, you’ve it was a $20 million round, right? So you’ve raised over 65 million to date, you doubled your valuation from the previous round to 246 million. And like you said, it’s a party round, which for those that may not know that, you know, generally that this just folks are coming together, there’s not necessarily a lead investor. But but you’ve got lots of stakeholders, it was their lead investor, and we

Edward Chiu 7:33
we had a lead investor stepstone, they are actually an LP of a bunch of our existing investors. So they knew our business really well already as as an LP given that they get updates from our investors, and they wanted to come in and around during the time where we didn’t really need the money. But I think for us like to have an opportunity to have all these different people invest in our business, is a good show, and signal to the community that we just have tremendous levels of excitement from folks in DCs industry.

Josh 8:09
Did they come to you and convince you to open up a new round? Or was it more of the type thing? Was it in the back of your mind?

Edward Chiu 8:15
It was it was always, I mean, as a CEO, you’re always fundraising, right? Like, especially in a down market, like you, you always want to be prepared and be flush with cash, even if you don’t need it. And I think we’ve been engaging and having conversation. So it wasn’t like they had to convince us I think there was a lot of mutual love between the two groups. We wanted an opportunity to bring in we’ve had a bunch of customers asked if they can invest. We’ve had thought leaders ping me all the time on LinkedIn saying they would love to invest. So it just came together pretty organically. And it was such a great opportunity because everyone I reached out to they were couldn’t be more excited to to participate. And we are very fortunate to have that opportunity, especially when funding is hard right now, you know, you hear from a lot of CEOs that they’re getting term sheets pulled valuations have drastically changed and we’re very blessed that that it worked out for us.

Josh 9:14
What I love about the round is that you not only continue to have preeminent investor institutional money coming to catalyst. I mean, to have Excel, you know, as a major shareholder is absolutely incredible. And then the other investors as well, other institutions as well. But you’ve also have individuals who can really add value who are true leaders in go to market and commercialization for SAS. So I can only imagine that’s that’s very strategic and very helpful for you as you approach and grow your market.

Edward Chiu 9:44
Yeah, I mean, we have CS ears from from Miro, Slack and other major companies who have been in the industry for a long time they see the existing tooling space on the market and you know, they saw catalysts and they’ve heard and cry notable things throughout the community, as you mentioned, we invest heavily into the customer success community. So I think by, by now, most people have never heard of a catalyst or are in some some of our community programs coaching corner is a big one. And I think people want to not only invest in the best platform on the market, they want to invest in something that they feel like is going to uplift the community and create more opportunities for the community and evangelize for the community. And I think that’s something that most people believe catalyst is doing a very good job of right now. So kudos to to our marketing team for for creating that ecosystem.

Josh 10:44
In your deck that you shared through the Business Insider article, there’s a slide that I want to take us to, it’s a little hard to read. It’s, it’s a fine line graph. You know, this the chart that I’m talking about here, you know, I’m

Edward Chiu 10:56
going I do I do? I do? Yeah.

Josh 10:58
Let’s see if you can, let’s see if you can guess because we haven’t discussed this before. What’s the slide that I’m referring to

Edward Chiu 11:03
the multiple users and multiple adoption across compared to other platforms and the types of stakeholders using catalyst? That was a graph that all right.

Josh 11:14
That’s the one that landed 20 million.

Edward Chiu 11:17
Yeah, that’s exactly it. So I’m glad out of all the slides, you picked that one, because that was that was that was the golden slide, you kind of tuck it in the back always.

Josh 11:27
That’s the money slide right there. Right. So unlike these I’m reading from from the deck that went straight to the boardroom table that he sees, right? Unlike our competitors, catalyst, users log in almost every single day. And sometimes on the weekend, there’s three operative parts of that each one, unlike our competitors, right, I love that little dig right there. And logging in almost every single day and on the weekends. So let’s break this, I’m sure you’ve got this imprinted in the back of your mind, you can visualize this, I’m talking about Break,

Edward Chiu 11:57
break it down. We are a CES platform in the community that is built by a CES leader. That is the unique differentiator of catalysts, like I previously built and led a customer success organization. So when you log into catalyst, it looks and feels like it’s built by somebody who deeply understands your pain points. And I think the biggest thing is, this wasn’t some idea that I came up with over the weekend and decided, hey, let’s do customer success. I lived and breathed customer success. I did all the quarterly business reviews, I’ve woken up at 3am to deal with customer complaints and beg product to build features for us. So I think the biggest thing is, this is a real tool that is built by some folks and a team that understands ces very well. So when that’s the case, and we have such focus on how do we make a CSMs job, and lives and workflow easier. That’s why we see such high levels of adoption. That is why it’s the first thing that you look at when you wake up in the day. And the last thing you do before you log out of your day as a CES professional. We also make it very easy for you to customize. I think that’s the fundamental thing is catalyst is easy to deploy, easy to build, easy to configure. And you noticed better than anyone especially you have your own software companies, intuitive user experience matters these days, gone are the days where people want legacy tools that take six months to a year to deploy a lot of admins to build things out. And that’s just not our use case. And everyone can have a view that they love, everyone can wake up to the view that they configured for themselves. And when you have a tool that works the way that you want it to, you are obviously excited to log in. And that’s always been our foundation. Okay,

Josh 13:51
so I heard in your response there fluff fluff fluff PR agency, jargon about about built by a CES leader, you know, just just wipe, lay some dust off my shoulders, but then you got into it that you know, easier to to deploy. And to configure. Maybe you said gold as well. So talking more about that, like how are you guys easier to deploy configured? Does that mean you have a better onboarding process? And then what I actually really interested in knowing is how did you determine that that was going to be your angle into a space that already had incumbency? Already again, so you’ve already a client success and others?

Edward Chiu 14:32
Yeah, where’d you where’d you get that from? Well, I think the part of the story that’s super important is I evaluated all these tools when I was at CES later, and my peer groups around me other VPs and other directors told me Edward don’t buy the tool that I’m using. It cost me $100,000 a year or more. What was

Josh 14:53
the what was the tool? I can you can’t say it but I can ask it. You

Edward Chiu 14:57
I mean, you know there’s tools like games I hate to tangle all the all the players that you’ve mentioned. And look, they’ve been around for a long time, we have the utmost respect for the community that they’ve built. But at the end of the day, that was the feedback that I was given. And I wasn’t about to ask my CEO for 100 grand, and require six months to deploy, especially when timing is everything, you know, I can’t have two quarters, go back with all productivity. So we built our own tool, my team, and I built our own tool. And that was the foundation. So we got a chance to see what’s under the hood, we got a chance to see what does it mean to connect your data stack to Salesforce and an internal tool or a data lake? What does it mean to extract all those complicated data into a singular view so that you can look across the board. So because we basically built the Legos ourselves, we knew what it was like to create a better experience for the end user. So to your point, onboarding on legacy platforms takes six months to a year we get our average deployment is somewhere between 30 to 45 days with some deployments in two week period. That is unheard of our connectors to data lakes like snowflake, redshift, BigQuery is such a great integration, you immediately see the data that you did not have access to before that you would have to beg engineering for it. So one click integration. So I think for us, like those were a lot of the core focuses where I saw the existing tools in the market, I said, look, the feedback is it’s hard to get data hard to ingest the data hard to visualize the data. At the end of the day, CES is no longer just relationship building. It’s all about how do you operate based on the data sets of your customers, that trend of your customer. So that’s why we invested so much on the data piece. And truthfully, like, that’s where we really shine.

Josh 16:51
You talked about growing up in Taiwan, and the traditional culture of education going to school from 9am to midnight, or studying through midnight. So

Edward Chiu 17:01
how do you jump from catalyst back to Taiwan? This is a great, great segway and you’re keeping me on my toes. I’m like trying to have the context switch and your bring back to my childhood days now to my operating days as CEO, but but let’s Let’s keep it going. I like it. I’ve never done one like this. So

Josh 17:18
I’ve just been watching a lot on you know, a lot of MSNBC hardball, right. So yeah, so but I would point to here, it’s a compliment. I’m going to make an assumption that I worked in Southeast Asia, by the way, I built a startup out there a few years ago, and I know that there’s a really industrious, hard working culture. And that’s the point I’m trying to make is that long hours of school, long hours, even if it is kind of the corporate person that’s, that’s working out there. You said a little bit less entrepreneurial. It’s hard, industrious work. And I know that you took that mentality, that attitude towards your first days, a catalyst. And now I’ve lost my point getting into this whole this whole banter with Oh, that’s right. So how did you so long nights and days and you’ve described them before like playing video games, with your co founders, with your brother, a play and all that kind of stuff? Just like really kind of living sleeping out of the office type of thing? I don’t know if the ramen noodles involved, maybe. But But how did you know when you first had something and embedded within that, like, tell us about your first real customer that you brought on board?

Edward Chiu 18:21
Yeah, um, we reached out to a bunch of people that we knew in the community that loved customer success. And there were smaller companies, you’re not going to come out with a brand new tool and you’re building it in a garage. For our case, it was like a four person we work room, and then convinced large enterprises to take that risk on you. So you’re obviously you’re going to friends and family people and to see Espace willing to take the chance. And we knew we had something when, honestly a handful of our existence, our customers said, Hey, this is not as full featured as what we see on the tool. And for us, we’re like no shit. We have one engineering three of us in a room that aren’t building anything. So great. Of course, we don’t have as many features yet. But the point is, they said, my team actually is logging in and using this tool, and I now have visibility I now have alignment. And more importantly, now everybody on my team is doing the same thing. Consistency matters and customer success because if you have one CSM, taking note and Evernote and another CSM taking notes on Apple notes and another CSM taking meeting notes in a notebook, when a CEO says, you know, give me all the trended data report of all the past quarterly business reviews over the past quarter. How are you going to aggregate all that data? How are you going to know what your customers want? What’s the customers hate about your platform? What do customers want to see improve? So we just had a very, very tight hold early on on the actual All workflows have a CSM. And that’s what we wanted to know, which is the best tool and the best user experience for the actual people that do the hard work, which at the end of the day are the CSMs.

Josh 20:11
Did you charge for that first product to the first customer?

Edward Chiu 20:15
We did, but not much. It was like a couple $1,000 $5,000 for unlimited seats. And you know, that’s, that’s kind of what you have to do. You take what you can get. But as time goes on you, you feel more confidence and you increase pricing. And we also, you know, didn’t really know, this was my first company. It’s not like I had previous context and setting pricing for a b2b SaaS company. So you kind of learning on the fly. And I think that’s the fun part about building a startup is, you know, you’re kind of charging what you want. And that’s, that’s, that’s an experience that many people don’t get to say, by the time you join a company. Pricing is already set here. We were just making up pricing as as we go.

Josh 20:59
Yeah, $5,000 I’ll take it. Alright, how about this for segways? Let’s talk about COVID. Let’s do it. It’s been documented. You’ve talked about this, you’ve shared this story before. It’s an intimate one. And I, you know, you’re you’re you’re very open, which I really respect in your leadership. Your brother Kevin, co founder of catalyst, Chief Operating Officer of catalyst with you from the beginning, beyond just the the business had code, and he has mild asthma. And he had COVID. Really bad.

Edward Chiu 21:44
For those that haven’t patient number one, basically. Patient number one, so February and 21. It was earlier than that.

Josh 21:53
I didn’t realize that. And that was in New York City, right.

Edward Chiu 21:56
That was crazy. New York City.

Josh 22:00
Crazy New York City. So for those that haven’t heard the story yet, give us a little context. And because there is something I want people to understand about, actually that you that comes out of the story, but but tell us about Kevin’s journey with COVID.

Edward Chiu 22:14
Yeah, I mean, it was it was fast. He said he had a sore throat and he asked if he could come over and you know, sore throats like not anything crazy. So I was like, Fine, come over and see. See my daughter and she was a baby still. And a week later, he was on his on his bed coughing his lung Zeldin and having trouble breathing. And I broke into his his room and he look very ill and I call the ambulance, they came to pick them up. And that was a, you know, last time I saw him before he left the hospital and I got a phone call from him. And the doctors couple of weeks later, and they’re like, Hey, we got to put them on the ventilator. Otherwise, he’s done. But usually, when you’re put on the ventilator, you’re basically done at that point anyways, like the recovery rate and survival rate of a ventilator is Sunday, none. So yeah, we ended up having a miracle at the end. But those that month period where I was going to all hands with the company, I was going on sales calls, I was going on engineering meetings, it was just, it was hard to keep it together, to be honest. And even during all hands, I mean, people working at the company will tell you like I teared up many times, because people are asking me, Hey, how’s Kevin, and you don’t really have a good response? Other than like, hey, co founders not doing well? And what are you going to do, you can have to look your team and I’m balanced, like, the utmost confidence that everything that we’re doing is still gonna go well. And then the other part is like, trying to just be human. And at the end of day, I am human. So I’m not gonna front on like, I’m feeling so happy when I just got off a call and nothing’s changed with his status.

Josh 24:07
I mean, forget the, you know, the business part of it, your co founder, and this is your brother, your brother is going to die. Like, how do you? How did you ever consider stepping aside from the business? Like how do you cope in the day? How do you keep focused in running the business during that time?

Edward Chiu 24:28
Yeah, you, you just do it when you have so many people who have committed their careers and lives to the company. I know that’s what Kevin would have wanted is that you have to be just rock solid there in this time period and beat a rock for everyone, like the impact that I was feeling. You know, 50 other people were also feeling it at the time and you you really just have to be strong for everybody. That sucks because I had to be strong for my family to be strong for to come And then you don’t really have time to be thinking about yourself. And I was I was tired, I was exhausted. And, you know, when you are CEO of a company, and you have so many people’s lives and people who’ve committed their careers to to catalysts, you know, Kevin, I knew he would want me to be strong for the people at this company. And it was, it was tough like, trying to keep a straight face, trying to push on trying to do the best of my abilities to help close deals, run marketing campaigns, figuring out what we’re going to do on engineering, and it was a very, very stressful time period, I also had a newborn baby at the time, and you’re kind of locked in a small apartment where it would know where to go, I would say, the total amount of stress level was like 300%. And you just got to do it. There’s no nothing, no choice that you can, you can have other than just being there for everyone. And I think at the end of the day, that’s what the CEOs job for. That’s what you sign up for. That is why it’s the hardest job, everyone’s problem is your problem. And you are the leader, and you have to, you have to act like it. Even when you are yourself running out of energy, you are yourself running out of faith, you are crying every single night. But at the end of the day, you just you can’t show all of that because at that point in time, the company would have crumbled if I stepped aside.

Josh 26:33
And by the way, you’re missing your COO, presumably your right hand, man, your co founder. So there’s there’s that too?

Edward Chiu 26:41
Yeah. And like I said, he he would have wanted me to keep keep going as well. And, you know, we this was our dream to launch a company together, I wanted to be as optimistic. I always just thought to myself, he’s gonna get better, he’s gonna get better no matter what. And you just have to have blind faith. And in order to keep the company going, you have to balance that right. And yeah, an option was I could have stepped aside, but then what both me and my co founder out, that’s basically the company, you know. So we were also in a very pivotal time, we had just raised a massive round from Spark at the time, literally the same month as him being on the ventilator. So there’s a lot of expectations that are just crushing. And you, I just had to do it

Josh 27:29
was this he was on set in the same month he was on the ventilator, you just finished closing your round? I mean, what was like? What was the overlap and time here? Was we talking about like a matter of a couple of days here or there, and you may not have raised that round?

Edward Chiu 27:43
Exactly, yeah. It was literally the same same time period. It was It was nuts. Money in the Bank boom ventilator just like that.

Josh 27:54
Wow. That’s actually not the part of the story I want to focus on, you know, is kind of the bottom of that abyss. And I’m so glad that that he’s rebounded and everything is okay. And worked out the way that it did. I’d like for you to share how you how he got from that low point being on the ventilator, not knowing whether he was going to live or not to ultimately being able to walk out of that hospital or likely he was rolled out on a wheelchair, but being able to get out of that hospital. What did you do to help in your brother’s recuperation from COVID?

Edward Chiu 28:33
Yeah, well, first of all, we bought mass for the hospital, we bought pizza for the hospital just so I could have access to the doctor. So that was that was kind of a strategic move that you just kind of have to do because the doctors at some point are gonna get sick of me calling I knew I was going to call every day. I did call every single day and I created a log I still have this log on my iPhone notepad, which is I’m asking about his oxygen level. I’m asking him about his his breathing level, I’m asking about his his nutrition like what what are they feeding him? I’m asking about so many things. At one point in time, they thought I was another doctor from another hospital calling. They were like getting confused on who this person was that was calling every day and you have different rotational nurses. They’re just like expecting, and I got the jargon down so well, because I’m calling about the same thing every single day. And we also got one of my employees and at the company, we got the treatment plan from China. And we sent it to the doctors and the doctors here were like, Oh my God, how did you get this? Because at that point in time, China was a month or two ahead of us here. So a lot of the things treatment plans they’ve already tried that out so it was a daily process. It was like go to my meetings, go to sales calls, handle all hands, work on decks, investor updates, call the hospital Repeat it was every motion every single day?