A Conversation In Progress: Startup Founders On Their Biggest Wins In Business And Hopes For The Future

By Chong Seow Wei

Four serial entrepreneurs exchange notes on starting a new business and how they’ve grown professionally at the third instalment of the Blue Vault Dinners with Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Tatler Asia
Cover  The third instalment of the Blue Vault Dinner series featured four entrepreneurs engaging in a candid conversation about entrepreneurship and leadership over a Johnnie Walker Blue Label-infused four-course dinner at Vue

Gen.T+

Tatler Singapore turns 40 this year. And in celebration of this milestone, it has partnered with Johnnie Walker Blue Label to host a series of exclusive dinners at selected restaurants across Singapore. 

The Blue Vault Dinners are exquisite dining experiences that blend good food with a rare whisky known for its depth of flavour and sincere conversations about various aspects of work, life and the world.

A different theme is explored at each dinner—and for the third instalment, which took place at modern European restaurant Vue and was hosted by Tatler’s sister brand Gen.T, the concept of progress took centre stage.

Above  Watch serial entrepreneurs Grace Sai, Benjamin Swan, Ivan Yeo and David Chen talk about starting a new venture, how they've grown as leaders and what they hope for the future

When great minds gather

Joining the dinner were four startup founders and Gen.T Leaders of Tomorrow, who came armed with their own stories of starting a new venture in the last 18 months and lessons in leadership. 

The entrepreneurs—Grace Sai of climate-tech startup Unravel Carbon, David Chen of agri-fintech company AgriG8, Benjamin Swan of agritech startup Beco Ventures, and Ivan Yeo of Web3 startup Avium—engaged in a candid conversation about everything from their professional motivations and aspirations to their past mistakes as leaders and their hope for the future.

Read more: The Depth Of Conversation Takes Centre Stage at The First Blue Vault Dinner With Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Yeo, for example, revealed the life-changing moment that led him to step back from his role as CEO at Evos Esports, the e-sports empire he co-founded, and start Avium. “I was in a wheelchair for the whole of 2020, so [I] had no choice, took a step back to focus on my health,” he shared. “Initially, I thought my career as an entrepreneur was over, but [I] chanced upon this whole Web3 [space] and it made me realise how impactful it can be for people.”

On the topic of essential qualities of an entrepreneur, Sai made the comparison to professional athletes. “You have to be in tip-top condition to perform every day,” she says. Similarly, Swan described having the tenacity to follow through with one’s vision as an important quality an entrepreneur can have.

As dinner drew to a close, each of the four guests shared their goals for the future. Chen's goal centred around the next generation: “[I] want them to be able to achieve what we couldn’t achieve today, but at the same time, enjoy what we could enjoy today”.

Finer as four

As the four guests engaged in a deep conversation, they also relished a Johnnie Walker Blue Label-infused four-course meal specially prepared by Vue for the Blue Vault Dinner.

Highlights included whisky-glazed stuffed squid and Kokuou Wagyu beef served with whisky mullet roe butter sauce. And if that wasn’t enough, Johnnie Walker Blue Label was also served as a pairing, matching each dish perfectly with its smooth, smoky notes and rich flavour.


Drink Responsibly. DrinkIQ.com

The Blue Vault Dinners feature specially customised menus elevated by the exquisite Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The third and final instalment of this series takes place at Vue from August 10 to 23. Contact +65 8879 0923 to make a reservation and please inform the restaurant in advance of any dietary restrictions. See past editions of the Blue Vault Dinner series here.

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