March 10

Chris South, Founder and CEO, Roi-AI with TechKeys APAC

I’m the CEO of startup tech company Roi-AI and Managing Director at Prominence, a marketing agency I founded in 2014 that caters exclusively for recruitment agencies. Several years ago, I made the decision to stop being an employee and set up what is now a successful subscription-based business that employs 20+ people across four international offices. Over the last two years, I have embarked on a new project to launch a technology company developing an automation product specifically for the recruitment sector – the company is called Roi-AI. The progress of this project is being shared live through a video/podcast series, The Five Million Dollar Project. 

What excites you most about your industry? 

I love doing things that haven’t been done, and in the case of Roi-AI, I’m defining a niche market and using technology in creative ways to problem solve. The recruitment & HR technology industry contains many little automatable problems. It’s a thrill making something unproven, maintaining the vision that people will want it, and knowing it will add value to peoples’ businesses. 

What is the biggest misconception about your industry that you would want to address? 

That technology will replace the human side of recruitment. If anything, technology provides us with more time and data which will enable recruiters to do a better job. 

What would you say to anyone who wants to be part of your industry? 

Anyone can have a good idea, making it a reality is the tricky part. Spend lots of time researching and testing your ideas to ensure your big idea is the right one. After that, commit. I passed on several ‘great’ ideas, before going all-in on Roi-AI. 

What would you be pursuing if you didn’t head down the path you are right now? 

I think an addressable market is sustainable alternatives to traditional food products. I’m a marketer at heart and I think there’s space to talk about profitability through sustainability – instead of just focusing on sustainable practice. I would focus my efforts on a product that delivers both sustainability and profitability. 

What's the best piece of advice you ever received? 

If someone tells you that you can’t do it, work harder. Every time someone tells me I can’t do something because it is risky, it pushes me to succeed.

What was the biggest/most painful adjustment you had to make that brought you to whereyou are right now? 

My first big adjustment was going from employee to employer. It culminated in a perfect storm of amazing life changes and decision making. I left my well paid corporate job, started my first business and found out my first baby was on the way all in the same day. It made me reflect and realise that there will be lean times when money and time are at a premium – and that I would need to work harder than ever to make it all work. 

Who inspires you? 

People!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? 

I learned the criticality of personal well-being. For the last two years I have focused a lot of energy on fitness and lifestyle adjustments. I can’t believe the difference this made to my ability to get work done. I’m now more productive across two businesses than I was when working in just one. 

If the reset button was hit and you were given a mobile device and could only install 5 apps, what would they be? 

WhatsApp (or maybe Signal now?!), email, bank, authenticator (it seems you cannot do anything without this these days…), and Spotify. I can’t live (or unplug) without my music and podcasts. 

Favourite destination for relaxation? Why? 

Anywhere I can run off the beaten track. Intense exercise and proximity to nature, and the serenity of it, helps me clear my head. 

You suddenly have 2 hours in your day, what show would you catch? 

Messiah on Netflix! 

Everyone in business should read this book: 

The secret thoughts of successful women. Just two years ago, I would never have imagined my answer would be this book. One of the biggest reasons people don’t start a business is fear of failure, or being exposed as simply ‘not being good enough’. The book addresses these issues head-on and gives people advice on starting a business and building a successful career.

This interview was originally featured on TechKeys APAC


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