An Interview with
Dr Tommy Tan
CEESUITE & TC Capital
CEO & Founder
The mission of our new mobile app CEESUITE is to arm business leaders with state of the art tools and advice when they make the decisions that will determine the success of their company. It was founded in 2018 and it is the collaboration of experienced CEO’s, management consultants, senior investment bankers, academics, data scientists and developers. Four years of continuing research into machine learning and Big Data went into automating the best practices of consultants like the benchmarking performance and investment bankers like financial modelling and valuation. The last year has also been building the mobile app to deliver the analysis to business leaders in a brand new UI/UX so they can digest the analysis without wasting their time.
23 February 2021
Tell us about your background, and how you came to found your company?
Investment banker for the past 33 years (Morgan Stanley & Merrill) and before an academic teaching game theory and economics at the University of Chicago. Throughout my banking career I have been frustrated by the practice of the industry and have been adopting technology to solve my pain-points - particularly in the art of valuing companies. Four years ago I wanted to understand machine learning and whether it can be saddled into state of the art tools that can digest Big Data to augment my analysis when I advise my clients in complex M&A deals. CEESUITE is the result of pulling everything I know with the technology and network effects available today into a mobile app that is available to all users 24/7.
What is most important to you and your organization – mission, vision, or core values? Why?
One word - Integrity
To practice that in a very complex world of giving financial advice, I use and ask my colleagues to apply two simple, easy to remember principles which can be applied everywhere:
Give advice that we’d give ourselves
Treat others the way we want to be treated
Can you explain briefly how your service(s)/product(s) works?
Basic purpose of CEESUITE is let a CEO have all the facts, insights and good advice that he or she needs when making decisions. Nothing can replace the experience and judgement of a CEO that is honed over decades. Nothing can replace a good advisor with integrity and creativity. However, extracting patterns and insights from Big Data at a scale that is not humanly possible, even with a spreadsheet, can arm experience with facts to improve the quality of decisions. In the mobile CEESUITE app, we deploy AI & Big Data, human experts and crowd-sourced intelligence to help C-Level executives. We apply all three types of intelligence available today because each one of them have their limitations so want to have all three working for you. I think this is a unique approach and comes from understanding what each type of intelligence can do. Honestly I think AI can do 80% of what bankers can do except it can do it better, faster and at a huge scale so it already does the 80% better than any banker. However the remaining 20% needs judgment, creativity and experience so we want to make sure human experts and crowd sourced intelligence are always available to fill in the gaps.
How has the industry been changing in recent years?
Finance has been disrupted in many different directions by technology - from algorithmic trading to credit scoring. The high margin products have all come under attack with large banks having difficulty innovating as their core banking platforms are antiques compared to the legacy-free cloud based startups. However, the traditional advisory part of banking - investment banking advising on IPO’s and mergers - is still very old school and not yet disrupted. It is coming and what AI can do - 80% - it already does it better. Our proprietary machine learning valuation model has actually taught me to look at things differently from the methods that we still teach analysts. As Machine Learning and natural language processing improve in the next few years, so too will be the scale of disruption.
What makes you different from what’s currently available in the market?
We deploy all three types of intelligence that I know of and not just the obvious one. In addition we believe that almost every aspect of giving advice and executing for clients can be improved and we have a product road map out to version 3 from the current version 1 that will introduce new ways of doing things that I hope will relieve the painpoints of business leaders. We also look at the world purely from the point of view of supporting the business leader. So we do not follow our users with cookies and sell their behaviour or data to third parties - Treat others the way we want to be treated!
What does the future hold for your company?
We are just launching a new version 1 at a much lower price point in response to the challenges we all face with Covid. The members here are very natural users of CEESUITE so I hope to introduce it here and to get your feedback and suggestions for improvement as well as new features. We want to roll out a new feature every month and that will be driven by what our users want. We also built CEESUITE as a platform to collaborate as we do not have a monopoly on wisdom or experience. We want to pair strong data science and tech capabilities with the vast experience of C-Suite executives to create now products, to help you monetise your expertis. Every business leader, many retired ones too, have a wealth of expertise that we hope to be able to facilitate into new tools for everyone.