Co-Founder, Skillsme / Founder & CEO, Cryptrain
Graduate Diploma in Business
Bachelor of Business in Accounting and Finance
As the founder of two successful start-ups he wears many hats, says business alumnus Bernard Leong who is one of the co-founders of Skillsme as well as the founder and CEO of Cryptrain.
“Skillsme is an AI tool that validates developers’ technical competency using existing data to make the hiring of developers more efficient. Cryptrain is a tech-powered talent agency that works in the web 3.0 space to reduce the risk of making the wrong dev hires. We do this through AI-based candidate assessment through our Skillsme technology and expertise in the web 3.0 space.
“My work involves enhancing and improving our core AI technology, increasing our worldwide talent pool, sales, attracting new clients from many parts of the world, motivating employees, marketing strategies and looking for partnerships to bring us to the next level. The list goes on!”
He is proud of what he has achieved in his career as an entrepreneur so far.
“The achievements I’m most proud of so far include our pre-seed raise at a NZ $1,000,000 valuation and being able to sign contracts worth US $500,000 in annual recurring revenue at a Bitcoin conference.”
Finding his path
Bernard was always destined to have a career in business one day.
“Both my parents are accountants, with my dad being a qualified chartered accountant (CA). My earliest memory was spending time with dad, helping him to add up numbers and reconcile items. You can say I was involved in accountancy from an early age.”
Despite this early introduction to accounting, it soon became clear that his future was in a very different area of business.
“While I was studying at AUT, I read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. The book opened me up to the world of investing, and looking for opportunities to earn passive income and starting projects. This book was the driving motivation for me to take risks and be innovative.”
An enjoyable university experience
He still has fond memories of his time at AUT, says Bernard who graduated with a Bachelor of Business and a Graduate Diploma in Business in 2011.
“The point of difference for AUT is that it’s more interactive and practical compared to other universities in New Zealand. I like the idea of having a smaller class size and being able to directly reach the lecturer with ease. AUT emphasis on gaining real job experiences through the workplace experience in the final year of the Bachelor of Business also gave me insights into the business world even before graduating. I also loved meeting lifelong friends and my wife at AUT, and gaining experiences in the financial auditing field.”
But graduating wasn’t the end of Bernard’s connection with AUT. He returned in 2020 to participate in AUT’s CO.STARTERS entrepreneurship programme.
“The CO.STARTERS programme allowed me to build on knowledge I already had, and to learn new skills and network with organisations. In fact, I met our current legal representatives through CO.STARTERS. The programme was a great way to learn to pitch ideas with confidence, and I enjoyed meeting likeminded entrepreneurs and bouncing ideas off each other.”