Big things do come in small packages. Yes, it’s a cliché but this applies to Kineret Karin, Founder of ImpacTech and KK Consulting. Those are just two of the several companies she started in Singapore. Her fiery head buzzes with ideas and while there is a negative connotation in the Tech industry with the term “serial entrepreneur” due to the number of people who founded multiple companies, failing miserably at them, and using the term to describe themselves, Kineret is not one of them.
Named after the Sea of Galilee, Kineret Karin is an Israeli who’ve made Singapore her base of operation. She traveled the world at a young age due to her father’s work in the academe.
“We lived in England when I was four, went to the US when I was ten, and moved to Canada when I was fifteen,” she revealed during an interview with expatliving.sg.
Despite living in various countries, Kineret Karin’s ties to Israel are strong, visiting the country multiple times in a year. At the time of my interview, she was planning to go back to attend a wedding. She served three years in the army instead of the required two years and spent the last year volunteering at a kibbutz growing vegetables and teaching Hebrew to Russian kids.
Similar to the many expat spouse stories, her husband’s job in Hewlett Packard brought them to Singapore. Teva Pharmaceuticals enabled her to continue working in Singapore after a transfer from their head office in Israel. However, she found herself getting bored with her job and she wanted to do something.
“I think I was born with it,” she said about her entrepreneurial spirit. “When I want to do something, I just do it.”
Kineret Karin noticed the lack of food delivery in Singapore ten years ago, a fact that surprised her given Singapore’s high tech industry even then.
“I thought the hotel just forgot to give us the food list,” she remembered. “I went to the reception and asked them, and they said, no, there was no food delivery here.”
That experience planted a seed and became Singapore Dine, a food delivery service. Yoav Elgrichi, her gym partner became her business partner after her constant 6 AM whinging. He told her what to do not expecting her to follow through. Three weeks later when she presented to him all that she’d done, he realized she was serious and their business partnership formed. Her husband, on the other hand, was resistant to the idea at first.
“He said, you need to get 25 restaurants before you can start.” Armed with this instruction, Kineret put on her best outfit, wore her walking shoes, and talked to restaurant owners and managers.
She got a lot of knockbacks from Chinese, Thai, and Japanese restaurant managers and owners. One because she didn’t speak the language and two because she was a woman. Undaunted, she kept going and found her first restaurant, an Indian restaurant.
“Indians are always thinking about opportunities,” she said. She also learned to ask for the western managers or owners. “It’s easier to talk to them,” she added.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for Singapore Dine. There were a lot of times she had to appear to the Ministry of Manpower for cases filed against her by disgruntled employees, but she always won. She also had to deliver the food at times when employees didn’t show up for work.
“Once, we had a driver. The client called and the food wasn’t delivered. It turned out, he was hungry so he ate the order.”
When Food Panda came to Singapore, Kineret was initially apprehensive, especially when Food Panda’s marketing went full blast. Surprisingly, her business didn’t suffer. Food Panda, on the other hand, struggled. Eventually, Rocket Internet’s food delivery business approached Singapore Dine and a partnership ensued. A year-and-a-half later, she sold the business to Food Panda.
It wasn’t the only business she sold in Singapore. Kineret Karin also founded and sold Watchme88, a matchmaking app for apple watch and the iPhone. Not even two years later, Champagne SG acquired the business.
It wasn’t all successes. “I had failures, too,” she said.
She cautioned those who want to start their own business to continue working to have funds. Kineret was candid enough to admit that she had to go back to work when she first started her businesses. She was honest with her boss that she had a side business and was given the green light if her job didn’t suffer.
Working on her business and giving her all in her job was a no-brainer. She used to work three jobs in Israel.
“In Israel, everybody works hard,” she told me.
It’s a trait Kineret Karin clearly displays running two companies at the moment, KK Consulting – consulting company and ImpacTech – an accelerator and educational program for startups. From Singapore, ImpacTech, expanded to Thailand and soon, in Japan.