Member Interview : Cynthia Siantar, Co-founder of Call Levels


Call Levels is a technology provider offering highly reliable financial markets monitoring and real-time alerts, removing the pain of watching the markets from investors. We inform them when opportunities arise in a timely manner across multiple channels, allowing them to enjoy round-the-clock monitoring and real-time alerts anytime, anywhere! On the institutional level, Call Levels offer open API monitoring solutions that can easily be integrated with any third-party platforms used by financial institutions. These solutions are omni-channel and span across Chatbots, Websites, Apps and Microsoft Excel.


Share your journey to get to where you are…

Prior to my entrepreneurial journey, I was working in Investment Consulting at Mercer before moving on to Investment Banking at HSBC. Even though I enjoyed the deals I was working on, there was a constant nagging at the back of my head to do something different, something impactful that will be meaningful for society. So, I decided to take a leap of faith by leaving my investment banking career to embark on my first startup venture, BlastOut (a geo-located social media app). However, BlastOut did not quite work out due to a number of factors. Its demise taught me one thing that’s important to keep in mind – if it’s not working, be honest with yourself and move on to something else! My co-founder, Daniel and I then decided to focus our efforts back on Finance and we started Call Levels.  We realized that the one thing that all financial market participants needed but never had a good solution to was a reliable price monitoring & alerts across an extensive range of asset classes in real-time. Fast forward two years, Call Levels now has 210,000 users globally and has gained several international recognitions such as being awarded Most Promising Fintech Startup by Asian Private Banker Awards 2016 in the Technology Sector and being featured on both Google Play and Apple iTunes Stores.

It has never been easy and smooth-sailing as you expect it to be.  I had to deal with rejections 99% of the time but that didnt make me give up. In fact, I worked  harder for that 1%. Every day, I never fail to remind myself about the reasons why I chose to embark on this journey, to love it and embrace it.

In addition, Call Levels could never have gone this far without the support and assistance from the people around us, be it investors, friends, fellow industry peers and partners and of course  our awesome team!. They are the ones who have opened up doors of opportunities for us and provided advice when hit with the unknown.  


Who are your peers in Asia

Everyone in the FinTech space are our peers!  


What do you wish you’d have known 3 years ago that you know now

That to get investors to consider your venture, it is important to prove to them that the product is something that consumers would be interested in using, that the right partners can be on-boarded and that the business can be scaled. Focus on getting your product right where you want it for your users, and grow it from there.


How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors

Call Levels distinguishes itself on the simplicity, accessibility and reliability to deliver immediate price alerts to users, consequently enabling them to stay ahead in volatile markets. As we focus our efforts greatly on providing the most accurate and reliable monitoring services, we are the experts in it. 


If you sold your company today, what would you like to gain and want to avoid losing

I would like to gain a better management team who can do a much better job (than me!) at managing the business and people so that they can take it to greater heights. The experience and recognition gained would also allow me to move on to assist other start-ups or aid in the success of my future ventures.

On the other hand, I would want to avoid losing the people that I work with and the fast-paced momentum of constantly striving to make my venture a success.


How would your company maintain the culture of innovation as the business grows bigger

I have always believed in an open culture where founders and employees should be in constant communication, exchanging ideas and sharing feedback openly. At Call Levels, we hold frequent team sessions including hackathons to encourage brainstorming and participation across all teams & functions. By giving employees ownership, it empowers them and creates room for strategic growth. We would also always keep an open ear to what employees have to say about anything and everything related to the business. Providing a platform that gives people a voice helps to create that sense of ownership mentioned earlier.


What kind of person would succeed in the startup space

It is not easy being in the startup space as there are too many uncertainties and detours. For a start, one needs to be courageous and risk-taking. You have to be someone who is not afraid to jump off the entrepreneurial cliff and be afraid to fail.. One must also be able handle immense pressure and not give up, as things would unlikely go the way you expect them to 90% of the time. Which leads to the next point of how the person has to be a problem solver as well because there would be problems surfacing and resurfacing over and over again.  


What advice would you offer to any soon to be startup founder

You may have a good idea but until you keep re-testing everything you do, hit on the right mix of marketing, distribution, product, pricing, technology, your idea is not ready to be launched.

Do not be afraid to make mistakes as this is the only opportunity for you to learn. Don’t ever compete with anyone but yourself as it is so easy to be swept away in the startup world.

You might think the grass is always greener on the other side, but truth be told, all of the founders are going through the same things as you are. Be prepared to sacrifice your time, social life, paycheck and many other elements in life for your startup. Lastly, speak to as many people as possible and gather mentors who have previously succeeded as their advice  can take you a long way.


When it is all over, how would you like to be remembered

Persisting until the eureka moment when the biggest naysayers convert to the greatest fans.  


In one word, describe yourself



In one word, describe LATTICE80





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