Life at Curlec

Remote Internships Part 2: How Research & Analytics Interns Drive Data Driven Decisions At Curlec

Technology is rapidly becoming a driving force in the country’s financial sector. In saying so, the area of FinTech can be quite broad and will continue to expand as technology evolves and the number of financial offerings increases.

Today, we sat down with our Research & Analytics interns, Andrew and Min Qi as they share their insights on how their work drives data driven decisions at Curlec.

Andrew Lee

Andrew, who has recently completed his First Year in BSc Accounting and Finance at The London School of Economics and Political Science decided to join Curlec to learn more about FinTech and experiencing what a work-life culture would be like in a startup company.

Working closely with both Founders, Andrew enjoyed the mentorship he received from Steve and Zac, especially interacting with both founders on a daily basis towards completing his assigned projects.

“There is no limit on your learning curve! Due to the relatively ‘flat’ management structure, one has many opportunities to interact with the founders of the company to learn about their journey and listen to advice on dreaming and aiming high,” he says.

“During my first month with the company, I worked mostly with Steve to complete a comprehensive analysis to identify common trends within the payment ecosystem. Teaching myself the SQL programming language in the span of an afternoon on my first day was an amazing challenge. This opportunity emphasises the start-up nature of the company to me – that you learn on the go!” 

Min Qi Boo

Currently pursuing a BSc in Accounting and Finance at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Min Qi is driven by the growth opportunity and learning experience a startup has to offer by joining Curlec.

Speaking about her experience with the company so far,

“The learning curve is steep since Curlec operates in a fast-paced environment. I am constantly learning on the job. Interning at Curlec has given me a sense of ownership of my role as we are entrusted with responsibilities which adds value to the business. Although we do not expect someone to hold onto our hands to guide us through every step of the way, the team is always willing to shed some light and provide guidance when we face challenges.”

“At Curlec, I was involved in the market research project, working directly with Zac and Steve, the main founders of Curlec. As Curlec is a Direct Debit provider, my research covers the payment landscape in Southeast Asia, identifying key trends in consumer behaviours and preferences in order to gauge Curlec’s potential addressable market. I was also given the opportunity to conduct market analysis and competitor research which forms part of the industry analysis,” she says.

Reflecting on her time at Curlec, she cites it as an intriguing and exciting journey.

“I was constantly placed in a fast paced environment filled with golden learning opportunities and many eye opening experiences, especially while conducting in-depth market research as well as having the chance to understand how cultural habits and lifestyles differ from country to country.”

“In my opinion, Curlec has been and will continue to revolutionise the payment ecosystem in Malaysia, and soon, in ASEAN. As we are moving from a product economy to a subscription economy, companies from various industries are starting to explore a subscription-based business model. The model payment collects on a recurring basis and engages with customers in a long term relationship. In this day and age, this is a major trend that can redefine the business landscape. This is where Curlec comes into the picture as the leading Malaysian FinTech player – providing an accessible Direct Debit service to businesses of all sizes,” she says.

“Working at a start-up can be a challenging experience, but more importantly, it provides you with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience that can accelerate your personal growth. My time at Curlec has been meaningful and valuable. This will forever be an experience that I will reflect back on with fond memories in the years to come.”

Want to work with us? Our team come from a variety of backgrounds and we always welcome diversity – submit your applications today by visiting

Life at Curlec

Remote Internships Part 1: A New Normal For Curlec Interns This 2020

As temporary job displacements reached a record high during the pandemic due to business closures and movement control orders, flexible and remote working arrangements have become a critical enabler to ensure both business and economic continuity.

Now, a few months down the line, as we attempt to adapt to the increasing demands of the new normal and go virtual, these circumstances have opened up new opportunities not only for our existing team, but also university students looking to gain first-hand working exposure as well as try a hand at the current job market, especially in FinTech.

At Curlec, we offer university students and fresh graduates the opportunity to learn industry traits in a robust programme that applies classroom theory to real-world challenges. Thus, understanding the ecosystem and technology that powers our products and services are crucial, and this is heavily infused in our work environment.

Today, we caught up with our new set of interns to shed some light on the working arrangements post Covid-19 and what they have learnt on the job so far.


The Interns Behind Curlec’s Technology

“As a first year Computer Science student at Swansea University, it has been fun working and learning with the team at Curlec. Throughout the duration of the internship, I have learnt to code Javascript, HTML, CSS and PHP to develop plugins which allow businesses to add payment gateways on their website.”

“Currently based and working remotely from Kota Kinabalu, I joined Curlec because I’ve always been curious about how things work in a FinTech startup and also would like to take this opportunity to learn about web development.”

– Lawrence Ngu Ley Chun, Kota Kinabalu


Having had no previous experience in web development prior to joining Curlec, Brandon Ho, an undergraduate student pursuing Computer Science at Imperial College London has always been interested in startups and FinTech.

“I really enjoy working closely with Curlec’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Steve and Subbu. The past couple of weeks have been extremely rewarding, juggling the production of working demos as well as navigating a new framework I just learnt.”

“Although I have been working remotely from Kota Kinabalu, I am really enjoying the experience so far. People often misunderstood that a job in Tech is very easy going, even though it’s not as easy as it seems. Technology is evolving everyday and along with it, we ourselves have to constantly upgrade our toolbox to stay ahead.”

Brandon Ho, Kota Kinabalu


Taking up A-Levels at Kolej Yayasan UEM prior to joining Curlec, Jonathan has assisted on a variety of tasks, including both production and upgrade works on the existing system.

“This internship experience has enabled and motivated me to learn new technical skills in the fastest way possible. Having supportive mentors and teammates, in addition to the flexible timetable, the experience has been a rewarding one so far, especially when the work that you produce is put into actual use.”

– Jonathan Foo Jen Ji, Kota Kinabalu

 “Adaptability, willingness to learn new things as well as being able to make quick decisions are some of the qualities that everyone needs to know about working in the startup scene,” says James, a current undergraduate student from UCL.

“I am currently working on upgrading the system together with the team, and I am glad that I have mentors that are very friendly and helpful who are willing to take the time to teach us the ropes of the job remotely. Here, I am able to work closely with my mentors and peers in an environment where we can easily collaborate and ask questions regarding the work we have done.”

– James Ong Lee Jie , Johor Bahru


An Imperial College fresh grad with a degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering degree, Yee Hong is currently assisting with the cyber security program at Curlec from Penang.

Speaking about his first working experience since graduating, he cites:

“Competition is strong regardless of the company being a corporate or a startup. It is all about finding your niche and standing out from the crowd. I enjoy taking ownership of the projects assigned to me, having to lead them as well as advise the team on what needs to be done.”

– Low Yee Hong, Penang


Taking up IB at International School Kuala Lumpur with ambitions to pursue Software Engineering in the future, Evan came to Curlec with the hopes to get hands-on working experience as well as learn more about how coding works in the real world.

“At the start of my internship, I was looking forward to focusing on back-end coding, so i didn’t expect to be assisting the marketing team with the front-end work as well. It was a good surprise though, and I would never have realised how important front-end coding is without this internship.”

– Loo Hsien Rong Evan, Kuala Lumpur


Stay tuned for Part 2 of the feature as we caught up with our Research & Analytics Interns, Min Qi and Andrew on how their work drives data driven decisions at Curlec.

Life at Curlec

Muaz Anuar: Cracking the Business Development Strategies as New Hires.

From building strategic partnerships, planning business expansions to identifying new markets, Business Development Managers are the cornerstones in any successful organisation that ultimately generates new revenue and contributes to the company growth.

Speaking about his onboarding journey with Curlec, we caught up with Muaz Anuar who had just recently joined the team and jump started his career as a full-fledged Business Development Manager at Curlec.

What Makes Curlec Different?

“Working at Curlec is definitely an eye opening experience for me. With an education background in Software Engineering and previous working experience as a Financial and Investment Consultant, the onboarding journey I had with Curlec really helped to refine my skills to focus more on problem-solving,” says Muaz.

“Unlike any other startups out there, Curlec implements a program that instills a variety of expertise to have you work from the ground up, which definitely stood out compared to any other FinTech startups I’ve encountered.”

Specifically designed for experiential learning, the program involves a full day-to-day involvement in actual projects and work alongside Curlec’s outstanding experts whose perspectives contribute to the understanding of the business, its demands and rewards.

“The orientation is all about setting me up with everything I need – this includes a brief overview of how Curlec was established, where the company is headed, how the product has evolved, getting to know the teams who I will be working closely with, as well as an introduction to the company tools,” he says.

“The first week is probably the time where I have the most ‘ramping up’ to do. Every day is different, and there is definitely a real mix of internal and external interactions between the team, partners that we work with as well as the customers and clients.”

The key here is to utilise the first week on the job to get the lay of the land, learn and listen. Once you have established this, then you can start moving and make an impact.

Monday: Take Notes

The first day is all about getting to know the team and bringing you up to speed regarding the payment industry and the current trends.

“Some of the key things I had the opportunity to learn from the Founders were identifying the brand’s core differentiators, understanding the roadmap of what is ahead, as well as familiarising myself with Curlec’s current product offering. The idea here is, I should be able to foresee where the payment industry is headed as well as how do we fit in the wider payment ecosystem.”

Tuesday: Get Friendly With The Team.

A major part of starting a new job is getting to know the people you are working with – understanding the company structure and what roles each team plays to complete the working ecosystem.

“While it is important to fully understand how each team fits in, and the processes which make the team excel in what they do, this is also a time where I start to build relationships with the people I will be working with, especially if we were to work together in the long run.”

Wednesday: Getting Technical With The Product

Day 3 is all about getting the grips within the technical side of our product and learning how to handle clients from the Customer Success perspective.

“Ultimately, the goal here is to achieve an in-depth understanding of the Curlec system by diving into how our clients and partners manage and administer their day-to-day business transactions with their customers using our dashboard.”

Having relationship-focused client management allows the alignment of both the client’s goals with ours for mutually beneficial outcomes.

“Support shadowing is crucial. Among the many practical things I had to do was to listen in during meetings and calls in order to analyse the type of questions we receive and learn how to answer correctly to better understand and serve our clients.”

Thursday: The Art Of Negotiation

Generally speaking, deciding which leads to pursue and strategies to employ are actually high stakes decisions. While a good strategy, if implemented well, can drive growth and profitability, a faulty strategy can prevent growth, in turn, frustrate valuable clients.

This is where you put your consultative approach to practice and make your first outbound calls and qualifying possible opportunities!

“Becoming a SPINNER is all about adapting the selling process to your customer and delivering personal solutions. This is where relationship selling becomes customer centric, as you grasp the parameters of sales by understanding the type of judgement calls you do and the etiquette for discussing these topics with prospects.”

Friday: Becoming The Business Development Expert

After an intensive week, the last day is all about ironing out anything you might still be unsure of and getting you to pass the final assessment before becoming a full fledged Curlec expert.

“This is where they test your product knowledge and highlight potential client gaps by demonstrating your insights on Curlec. Life in a startup is mostly all hands on deck. There is a big focus on upskilling new joiners to become an expert in all things Direct Debit. So, expect to be thrown into the deep end, but having the right people there to help you build your skills up with you.”

“Now, a few months down the line, I can definitely say I am a certified member of the Business Development team. Curlec has done an excellent job of bringing together theoretical and practical teachings for new hires, and enforces the value of continuous learning. As Curlec continues to grow, we face new challenges everyday and will continue to find more ways on how we can serve more businesses first in Malaysia, then beyond.”

Want to work with us? Our team come from a variety of backgrounds and we always welcome diversity – submit your applications today by visiting

Life at Curlec

Michelle Lim: Building The Best Direct Debit Experience Through Customer Success Management

While this particular job goes by many names across the board, Customer Success is becoming one of the most important transformative aspects of growth for all types of businesses today. We can no longer talk about Customer Success as a separate function within the business, but ultimately, a driving force to the way we do business.

Fully strategised to maximise customer and business sustainability by optimising its efforts, Curlec’s Customer Success team is constantly evolving to find effective ways to manage our clients, as well as making them as successful as possible when using our services.

We sat down with Curlec’s Head of Customer Success, Michelle Lim to discuss her role, as well as how she is helping businesses, big and small to derive value from their partnership with Curlec.

What is Customer Success, and why does it matter?

As its name implies, Customer Success is focused on working proactively in partnership with clients and customers to drive the client experience forward and ensure a successful flourishing partnership in the future.

As the Head of the Customer Success team here at Curlec, I make sure we help our clients get the most out of their experience with us by delivering value throughout every step of the customer journey. And we work closely with our product and development team to do so, that includes designing programs for client onboarding, product training, as well as customer service and support.

My main role here is to help merchants to quickly master our system, and of course, to advise them on how they could leverage our system to reach their goals and untapped potential. We do this by custom designing the client program, encourage high-value feature adoption as well as provide on-going value driven engagement with the clients accordingly.

You have dealt with numerous clients at Curlec, ranging from SMEs, Enterprises and Big Corporations alike. What are some of the distinctive differences you see when handling these cases in terms of Customer Success Management?

The portfolio of clients I have served includes businesses from different industries, may it be Fitness, Professional Services, Financial Services, Property, Education and etc.

And based on my experience, the definition of a payment solution provider for these businesses can be very broad. Different companies will need different requirements and solutions when it comes to billing and collection cycles.

Identifying their payment pain points as well as providing the best solution are parts of what I do on a daily basis. Some will require payments in the forms of weekly or monthly recurring payments, a few would opt for one-off payments, and in some cases, clients will need to include instalment plans as well, which we can assist with to fit their needs accordingly.

However, the engagement goal has always remained the same – to overcome the traditional payment barriers such as expensive cost, error-prone and time consuming processes that are associated ‘push’ payments, and replacing this with what we coined as ‘pull’ payments that will automate these processes so that the merchants can be in control of when they get paid.

What were some of the key challenges along the way?

Well, the way I see it, Direct Debit is still new in the Malaysian market. So the key challenge here is to educate the public on how the system works, and how it can be beneficial to not only big corporates and Enterprises, but also to SMEs.

Historically, the banks only served large corporations for this particular method. And now, with our resources, we are able to help the SME market, who never had the payment option available to them before, to access this particular method.

Our role in Customer Success is all about being proactive, as opposed to reactive. So, looking at it from that perspective, the main challenge that we face is to constantly work to figure out the ongoing efforts so that we can continue to deliver value to our clients and customers, as well as improve their payment processes using Curlec.

How do you measure success in your current role, and how do you keep yourself up to date on the changes in the industry?

As of date, we are now serving a diverse range of businesses in terms of size and industries. This includes more traditional brick and mortar businesses, such as gyms and tuition centres, to technology related businesses such as P2P financing platforms.

I measure success by looking at:

  • The ability to turn these new clients into long time partners
  • The ability to increase our client’s lifetime value
  • The ability to prioritise client issues and improve on their experience so that they fully leverage on our system to process their month-to-month collection

The key idea here is to be constantly learning. Utilising all the channels that are available to us such as industry news, having good connections with experts in the field who will be able to help you grow and advise you on how to improve in your craft.

Want to work with us? Our team come from a variety of backgrounds and we always welcome diversity – submit your applications today by visiting

Life at Curlec

Steve Kucia: Working with Millennials in FinTech

As the first online Direct Debit payment provider in Malaysia, Curlec was founded with the vision to make it as easy as possible for businesses to collect recurring payments. And 2019 has proven to be a big year for Curlec. Not only did the company see tremendous growth, but it has also surpassed the RM100 Million mark in transaction value, just 18 months after launching.

Behind all these successes, the company is deeply rooted with an amazing set of people that work hard to disrupt the payment industry that we all know today, and take its place as one of the leading players when it comes to payments via Direct Debit in Malaysia.

We sat down with Co-Founder and Director, Steve Kucia who shares his insights on what it is like to work with a young team in a dynamic and fast-growing startup.


This feels like, sort of, a golden year for Direct Debit and Curlec in Malaysia. Tell us more about your milestones and the team behind the success.

I think golden year might be an understatement. If you just take the number of active merchants using Direct Debit when Curlec started and compare that to the number of merchants that are effectively using Direct Debit now, we have added 50% to that number, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised by the end of 2020, we would end up more than doubling the number of active merchants using Direct Debit in the country.

As a small team, we are fortunate that at least 5 of our core team members were involved in the original program with MEPS a little bit over 8 years ago. So there is a tremendous body of knowledge around Direct Debit in our small organisation. We have seen the inception of the paper-based system, the introduction of the electronic eMandate, and all the collection processes. We’ve seen it all. And I don’t think anybody can go as far back and come to where we are today with the whole process as we have done.

You don’t just wake up one morning and suddenly know all there is to know about Direct Debit. The combination of experience and enthusiasm in taking this to the wider market is a wonderful recipe for success.

Definitely more than a golden year for us.


The team is made up of mostly young professionals and millennials – is that shaped by the work you do?

We bring new people in; young programmers and salespeople to our team. Many of our programmers joined as graduates and stayed on. And that has been great because as I look at these people now, I’ve seen them grow intellectually and their knowledge on Direct Debit has expanded tremendously over the last 2 to 3 years.

Some people say that technology is a young person’s field. If you read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, it talks about how some people are lucky based on the year that they were born and what surrounded them at the time enabled them to progress in life. I was born around the same period as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and it’s true that most people in technology today are the younger generation.

But my belief is that you cannot necessarily put an old head on young shoulders and expect a young person to operate in a way in which a person who has got 10, 20 or 30 years of experience and successfully run a business.

So many startups start quite quickly and I would guess about 90% of them fail for lots of reasons. But one of the main reasons is because they don’t manage their money quite well. And you can easily see that not just with the startups here but also around the world.

In our case, we are very lucky. My Co-Founder, Zac Liew and I are miles apart in terms of age. He brings energy and enthusiasm to the partnership that is needed in a young startup company like this. And perhaps my contribution is a bit more level headed in building this business and make a profit for the long term.

Steve Kucia, 64, and Co-Founder, Zac Liew, 28.
The office is designed in a very garage style setting. Could you describe what you were trying to achieve when you created this space?

You can look at some startups that go absolutely crazy with lavish offices, with a pool table or ping pong table. For some that might be cool, but I think it somewhat detracts from what we are all here to do, which is to provide service for our customers.

Of course, we want to be comfortable. Physically, we work closely together because we have a lot of people working in a small space. But within our company, we do flexible working hours, we don’t worry about when people take their holidays. There is no admin or forms to fill in, but we have a guide to how many days someone should take in a year (14-15 days), but as long as the job is done, it’s ok.

So in terms of the physical nature in the office, we prefer to be open and have people easily talk to one another in an open environment, and luckily our building has lots of places to go to, be it coffee shops or the hotel lobby when it is necessary.

We do use a lot of co-working spaces (3-4 within the vicinity), office facilities as and when needed. So we subscribe to them. Why buy an expensive and furnished office when you can just go and have a half hour meeting in a nice place and pay a small fee. So I think the environment, whilst scant, serves its purpose.


What are you looking for when you hire a new person to join the team?

Depending on the role and experience the candidate has, the most important thing is the person’s willingness and ability to absorb and learn more.

For example, if you want to be a professional footballer, you would need to train most of your early life. But in this business, it’s not quite like that. Having a degree of expertise in specific fields is good, what’s more important is that you have the desire to learn more about it and become an expert in that field.

The goal for our team is to become experts. Our main tagline is that we’re always learning. The minute that we stop, we are taking a step or two back.

What’s next for Curlec?

First of all, we want to be the leading Direct Debit player in the Malaysian landscape and create that market here. And then extend our services beyond payments and towards subscription management.

The obvious thing is to take this great idea that we have and see what we can do by expanding in surrounding countries in ASEAN such as Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. No one is doing Direct Debit in these countries properly if they are doing it at all.

Over RM100 million has passed through our platform in Malaysia in the last 18-20 months. The market knows that we are a payment platform that is trustworthy, and once our brand has built upon that level of trust, then, people in surrounding countries will start to know about us. Maybe not as the guys who processed RM100 million, but billions.

I expect us to grow and I expect the company and the staff to be admired and recognised outside of the company as the people that know how to guide our customers to better manage their cash flow. We will be the experts that people come to, to ask for advice. So I see that happening in the next couple of years and be more golden as I said.


Want to work with us? Our team come from a variety of backgrounds and we always welcome diversity – submit your applications today by visiting

Life at Curlec

Curlec at SuperCharger Malaysia Demo Day 2018

Modern problems require modern solutions – Zac Liew, CEO and Co-Founder of Curlec, reveals the truth behind the low adoption rate for Direct Debit as a payment method in Malaysia and what we are doing to bring Direct Debit to small and medium sized businesses in the country. He presented this at the SuperCharger Malaysia Demo Day at the annual SCxSC Fintech Conference.

During the 12-week programme, we secured a proof of concept (POC) with a major government-linked company, acquired 52 new businesses and struck up 2 new banking partnerships.

SuperCharger is Asia’s leading FinTech Accelerator and Curlec was selected as one of ten companies from over 200 applicants for this year’s programme.

For more information on the SuperCharger event, take a look at this awesome story on Digital News Asia