Rebel with a cause is a good description of Sathish Rames. Long before he became founding executive director of Cradle Wealth, the 28-year-old knew that he would forge his own path in life. As a boy, Sathish had issues conforming to the authority of his parents and teachers. Still, his independent streak served him well. By the time he was in university, Sathish started and built Cradle Wealth through his networking efforts.
Networking is his business
Today, Sathish had expanded his business globally, and he’s keen to make a difference to those in less fortunate circumstances. Taking time out from his hectic schedule, he shares about his journey and aspirations for the world at District 10 Bar in UE Square.
Q: Networking is the key to your success. Can you tell us about the challenges and rewards of networking in your earlier days?
A: The first major challenge that I had to overcome was my introverted character. As I was determined to succeed, I forced myself to go out and meet people every single day. I started my journey in March 2014 with nothing but a smile on my face. After six months, I gained traction, and formed Cradle Wealth to match buyers and sellers. My network grew, and I had appointments every hour within one year.
I had to drop my studies at SIM-RMIT to focus on my business in September 2015. It was not a significant trade-off, because the networking contacts had more relevant materials for me to learn from. Besides, the syllabus didn’t have direct application to my growing business. Technology has made learning a lot more dynamic and responsive to the changing business environment.
Q: That was quite the accomplishment in just one year. Congratulations! How did your business progress over the second and third years?
A: As my network grew in density, I saw exponential growth through new opportunities and possibilities. There were cases where, even when I can’t help a batch of network contacts, they can be helped by another batch of network contacts. So I matched people who would otherwise never met. After each successful deal, I earned not just their referral fees but also their good will; which was priceless!
They were so happy they then referred me to their contacts overseas in places such as Malaysia, Dubai, Australia, and the United States. I networked with their contacts and their overseas referrals, enabling me access to broker deals internationally. I had my fair share of disappointments but overall it worked out, and the money kept flowing in. I have no regrets venturing out of my comfort zone.
Ingredients for success
Q: Who are the key people behind your current success?
A: As the business grew both in size and volume, I roped in my brother, Karthik Rames, who single-handedly built the branding and marketing strategy for Cradle Wealth.
I also owed it to my North View Secondary School friends, Kabilan Kalai and Haresh Vengadachalam, and close friend Sindhu Naidu, who were there for me throughout the good and bad times.
Mohammed Ishak Mikhail, Prithip Kannan, Azri Jamaludeen, and Mageswaran Devdas were among my first strategic partners. They helped me to expand my business by opening up their valuable contacts.
We were close enough for all of them to speak their mind. Their feedback was crucial to the success of Cradle Wealth. Without the patient support of these people, I will not be where I am today.
Q: It’s tough to network in a foreign country where circumstances are unfamiliar. What’s your secret to succeeding in this tough area?
A: I could say that it is my pleasant and confident personality, but the true secret lies in my Singapore passport. I only understood the true value of being Singaporean when I ventured overseas. When business people abroad realise that I am Singaporean, I gain an instant respect and trust. These enabled me to complete lucrative deals quickly and consistently. I am very grateful for that.
If I were born in another country, it might take nine years instead of three to reach where I am today. Our strategic location and robust legal framework play a significant role too. For instance, I can readily arrange for business people from Dubai and Malaysia to fly over to Singapore because they are comfortable to sign the deal here. I am truly lucky to be born in a paradise called Singapore.
Caring for the elderly in Singapore and the young In India
Within the span of three years, Sathish made his fortune through his skillful and persistent networking efforts. I asked him about his views on money and philanthropy.
Q: Now that you have earned your wealth after three years, what are your views on money?
A: I came from a humble background, and my parents formed my views on money. They taught me principles such as, "Give because it's your duty and not because you expect praises or recognition.” They encourage my entrepreneurship to create self-sustaining communities and improve the lives of fellow human beings. For every dollar earned, I was inspired to set aside at least 3 cents for those who are in need. I feel that this should be the motivating factor for current and future entrepreneurs.
My father taught me that money is worthless if it can’t help people in need. One can have all the luxury items to make life happier, but these things are temporary arrangements. My true source of happiness comes from giving. The thrill of deal-making and the ability to make a difference to the less fortunate through my expertise gets me out of bed every morning.
For me, businesses are merely organisations formed to solve society’s problems. There is a large segment of under-privileged people which needs our help. Money can create new opportunities for them. Cradle Wealth has pledged to give substantial after-tax profits earned from the previous financial year on a monthly basis to charities since 2015.
Q: What are the charities which you are helping to make a difference?
A: In Singapore, we work in close collaboration with the Heart to Heart Service, which was founded by Sister Teresa Hsu to look after the elderly. She was lovingly known as the Mother Teresa of Singapore and was awarded the Public Service Star in 2009.
She died in December 2011 at the age of 113, but in my heart, she is still my heroine. We have been giving rations to the low-income elderly folks staying in selected one room flats regularly for the past three years.
In South India, we adopted 10 homes which supported over 400 underprivileged children. They include New Life Home, Jesus Love of Ministries Children Home, Nambiggai Illam, The Dawn, Anbu Illam and Colourful among others. Some are orphans, and others need caring for because their parents were suffering from Aids.We pay small allowances to the 60 volunteers and cover the expenses of these homes.
These volunteers have totally dedicated themselves to the lives of these children, putting more attention towards them than even their personal welfare. Their selfless service is divine to me. We will also be providing scholarships to these children. They have intellectual potential that would put us to shame, but they are currently under-developed.
These children carry the hope of solving complex global issues such as climate change, maybe even diseases such as cancer. We are trying to replicate the aid model from India and apply it to under-privileged areas all around the world. Special thanks to my uncle in India who coordinated the efforts to make all these happen.
Forging new frontiers in the Middle East
Besides making a difference to the elderly in Singapore and children in India, Sathish has a passion for offering education opportunities to women in the Middle East.
Q: What drove your passion to create opportunities through education for women in the Middle East and how do you intend to do so?
A: I believe that the world would be a better place when men and women understand their respective roles and can stand on equal footing. As Brigham Young would say, “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” Women have equal rights in most other regions, and those opportunities should be extended to the women in the Middle East. I would like to make life better across generations in that region by empowering every woman through education.
We will also heal the souls of women in the Middle East and help them to have a more positive outlook on life. Only then, we will have lasting peace there. People laugh when I share my vision with them, but I am not bothered by it. Remember, people laughed when Galileo revealed that the world was round.
While this may seem like a fantasy today, I am committed to realising it like how Steve Jobs changed the world by unveiling the world’s first touchscreen smartphone in 2007. His bold call to action inspired me: "Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
I intend to send these women overseas for their education. When they complete their studies, they are then encouraged to return to their countries of origin, and be the agents of change there.
Q: How is the progress on that front?
A: We are currently looking for partners who can help us to establish a presence in the Middle East to make this vision a reality. We are looking to work with purposeful Middle Eastern charities passionate about making a difference to the lives of women. I believe that every generation should surpass their predecessors, not only regarding financial success, but also in shaping a better world.
Leaving a legacy
With his business in fine health, Sathish is now focused on building a legacy. Reflecting on the importance of self-awareness, he shared with me the importance of having true insight about what you have to offer others; especially in networking.
Acutely aware of his own mortality, Sathish plans to leave behind his lasting legacy of making the world a better place through his humanitarian efforts. Alone, there is a limit to what he can accomplish. Therefore, he welcomes like-minded individuals and corporations to connect with him and join his true mission to heal the world.
Article written by Ong Kai Kiat
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