Money and me: Dubai creator of quiz app likes to take calculated risks

Kishore Chand is the co-founder of Concept Diary – the company behind the UAE competitions app Cwikwin. The 38-year-old is originally from India and has lived in Dubai for the past eight years.

Describe your financial journey so far.

I started working while I was still graduating and then completed my master’s in marketing management. I came to the UAE in 2007 as I wanted international market experience. Over the past eight years, I have pursued a steady job with a leading telecoms operator, through which I could even accommodate a moderate financial loss due to real estate price corrections – I’d invested in an off-plan commercial project in JLT in Dubai. In 2014, I decided to chase something on my bucket list to create an online start-up, which is how Cwikwin happened. I invested literally all my savings, with some friends extending loans to keep the dream alive. The revenues are ringing in now and we are expanding to other markets in the coming months. We will become a prominent player in the mobile marketing space.

Are you a spender or saver?

I would say I am balanced. Savings are part of my planned expenses. As a start-up entrepreneur, you work on very tight budgets, I maximise the value from our expenses and keep business costs low. However, in terms of technology I go all out to buy the best as that defines the user experience of our website and mobile app. In the long term, I feel as more of my life will pass, my tendency and need to save will actually reduce as the minimum security will be in place – maybe then I could call myself a spendthrift.

What is your philosophy towards money?

Money should earn more money and for me it can buy happiness. Spend your money on things that give you joy, not to impress other people. I do take calculated risks as without risk you are limiting yourself to a lower reward. However, I don’t hold debts for too long and pay them off as soon as I can. Financial peace of mind is very important, as is cover for life and for medical expenses.

Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?

I wouldn’t call them mistakes, but there are risks that didn’t pay off. One was the JLT commercial units I invested in, something I consider a matter of wrong timing. The other is my investment in gold; I invested during the peak in 2012 and it has been slipping down ever since. I haven’t booked the losses yet but the recovery back to the peak price could take a while. We win some, we lose some. With financial decisions, it is mostly the right or wrong timings that define whether an asset will yield or drain.

If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?

I would keep aside 20 per cent for personal investments, contribute towards charitable causes and support at least two early-stage start-ups. I started giving back to society at 31 when I sponsored my first child through World Vision’s Child Sponsorship programme. It provides grass-roots based development and relief to children from India. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I’d also love to invest in digital start-ups — especially if they are UAE-based so that I can be closely involved.

What has been your best investment?

I have some real estate investments in India which have paid off very well. Now I am hopeful Cwikwin will pay healthy returns in the next two to three years.

Do you plan for the future?

Yes, I do. Don’t laugh, but I have a 20-year planner broken into quadrants of five years each. I created this sheet six years ago and it contains my financial, career, personal and family goals. It helps me to stay focused and gives me a sense of achievement when I am on track.

What do you enjoy spending money on?

On my family. I am also fond of using the latest gadgets.

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