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14. Cache, Mangosteens, and Startup Challenges – The Backstory of Bambu

14. Cache, Mangosteens, and Startup Challenges – The Backstory of Bambu

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Key takeaways

  • Do not dwell on the decisions you make
  • The most challenging part is the first step

Join Ned and Dani this week as they take a trip down memory lane, sharing the backstory of Bambu as well as some of the highlights so far.

Firstly, why the name Bambu? Ned tells us that Bambu is the third name of the company. In 2016, the company was first named Cache. The name had strong links to fintech as Cache was a place to store information, and it sounds like cash – a reference to finance. However, Ned did not particularly resonate with this name and disliked that the term was associated with weaponry. The second name given to the company was Mangosteen. The rationale behind the name was that finance could be likened to a Mangosteen: confusing and complex to get into but amazing once you get in. The issue was that Mangosteens are mainly prevalent in Southeast Asia, and the name does not hold much meaning in other regions of the world. For a company with global aspirations, it did not sit well. Finally, we come to the name Bambu. The name was inspired by other corporations like Acorns and Nutmeg who have a plant theme to their identity. When considering what could be the equivalent in Asia, Bamboo was the obvious choice. Not only does bamboo grow quickly, but it is also sturdy and trustable as a building material. While Bambu was chosen as the name, the company still pays homage to its previous identities. For instance, the company’s colour is purple, a tribute to Mangosteen, and Bambu’s chatbot is named Cache.

Next, Ned shares that the biggest challenge he ever faced was taking that first step. The first decision made is the easiest but also the most difficult. Because there is no influence from previous choices, the freedom of making the first choice can ironically be stifling. Ned suggests that while it is difficult to take the first step, the key is not to dwell on the decisions you make. Being willing and having the courage to build upon that first decision is critical. 

Finally, when sharing memorable moments, Ned highlights Fintech 2017. He recounts operating a little pop-up booth and handing out leaflets before pitching on stage. During the pitch, he spoke about how the company was not started one year ago, but 45 years ago when one man began thinking about artificial intelligence and changing the world. That man was Ned’s father, who was present in the audience. Comically, his father stood up and began lecturing to the audience at length. The experience was made sweeter when they won first place at the event. For Dani, she speaks fondly of Bambu day, a celebration to commemorate Bambu turning 3. As Dani had only recently joined the company, going on scavenger hunts and participating in the Bambu Olympics allowed her to know her colleagues better, making for a memorable experience and a warm memory.

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