Old Scholar profile – Ishan Haque
Life advice from WAS Old Scholar, now one of Australia’s youngest multi-millionaires
By Jaime Newborn
The leading ‘life hack’ from Ishan Haque, one of Australia’s youngest multi-millionaires and former WAS student, has nothing to do with finance.
“Try new things, don’t be confined to one area – and in real life or virtually, meet as many people as you can. Take it all in and learn from it all!” says Isan.
He should know. As a student at Whitsunday Anglican School, the now 22-year-old began building a bridge from Mackay to Silicon Valley (California) – via Twitter.
“I was reaching out to entrepreneurs and investors in the tech and innovation space, constantly” Ishan says.
“I wasn’t reaching out to say ‘hi, hire me’. I was following their discussions on Twitter, trying to contribute something meaningful where I could.
“Basically, making sure my annoying face was on their radar!
“Eventually one of the guys I was reaching out to said ‘we have a proposition for you.’ And as it turned out one of the people I had followed when I was 12 became the person I was working for when I was 20.”
His unconventional approach paid off, but his first gig wasn’t a direct line into the world of finance investing, where he would eventually make his first fortune.
It was to produce a podcast.
“They had this podcast they were looking to make called ‘My First Million’. It was interviewing some
pretty high-profile guests in the space to understand more about how they made their first break.”
The perfect gateway.
“The podcast is one of the big reasons I say, talk to as many people as you can, and be open. As an analogy, just because sports might not be your thing, you can still get involved and learn something from that experience.
“I met so many people generating ideas and building interesting things and it made me want to be like them. They introduced me to a lot of new, innovative industries.”
Stepping foot into Silicon Valley from the other side of the world sounds surreal, but Ishan took to the stimulating environment like a duck to water.
“It is incredibly exciting, a lot of very energetic people trying to solve the world’s hardest problems,” he says.
“There is also a lot of capital flowing and a culture that supports ideas. I never felt any pressure there because it a culture that almost rewards failure, you are really encouraged to try and fail because that is how you learn. It was very eye-opening for me.”
After expanding his network and connections, and working to prove himself, Ishan started investing in small amounts in businesses he saw opportunity in.
Eventually, other entrepreneurs and investors who liked what he was doing invited him to invest their money.
From there he hasn’t looked back. In 2020, Ishan moved to San Francisco to become VP of Investments at investment fund Inevitable Outcomes, Inc. He was involved in leading investments into next-generation technology startups operating in AI, health sciences, consumer and fintech.
During COVID, he returned back to Australia to accelerate U.S. expansion and oversee e-commerce operations for billionaire Brett Blundy and family’s host of retail brands including Curvy, Dusk, Adairs, Dr Martens, Lovisa, Universal, Vans and more.
In mid-2021 after his successful Animoca investment, he founded a new technology company which has received the backing from prominent Silicon Valley angel investors.
Animoca was delisted in March 2020 and Ishan took the opportunity to up his stake in the Hong-Kong based non-fungible token (NFT) company, offering to buy shares at a 60 per cent discount to Animoca’s last traded price.
As NFTs exploded in popularity this year, Animoca announced the $113 million capital raising at $1.10 a share, making Ishan a multimillionaire at the age of 21.
Ishan, who used to sell virtual products in Minecraft as a student in Middle School, said while it was something of a hobby at the time, it was a real business that did teach him lessons he would later apply.
“If I hadn’t dabbled in virtual businesses when I was young and at school, I may not have had the foresight to invest as I did, in companies that deal with virtual worlds and digital property,” Ishan says.
He also adds he hopes this is just the start for him.
“I am very grateful for how things have worked out, but I don’t view it as success yet. I want to bigger and better things and am looking forward to my next project,” he says.
Ishan, who values his family and friends intensely, says he is still in touch with friends from Whitsunday and doesn’t see being based in Brisbane as a negative.
“Brisbane has a lot of innovation happening at the moment in terms of AI and Health Sciences, there are a lot of start-ups doing really well here,” he says.
“There’s no reason it couldn’t become Australia’s Silicon Valley in time!
“I think, especially now, people should worry less about where they need to be, New York, California etc. One thing COVID has shown is you can almost do anything, anywhere.”
Ishan also has a shout-out for one of his favourite school teachers.
“Mr Dave Pritchard! He is definitely a great teacher who I really enjoyed, his maths classes were a lot of fun and he has helped a lot of students. He was extremely good at teaching.”
Want to find out more about Ishan? Follow him at the links below –
Ishan Haque was a student at WAS from 2005 – 2016, entering in Year 1. Following school, he studied Finance and Computer Science at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.