June 12, 2020

Ignite Podcast – Episode 07 – Shannon Kalayanamitr – Gobi Partners – I Felt That My Bootcamp Was Over

Episode Summary

Quote: “Do it and ask for forgiveness later.”

In this episode of the Ignite Podcast, Michael Waitze is joined by Shannon Kalayanamitr, a partner at Gobi Partners, a venture capital and private equity firm dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in emerging markets. They discussed how Shannon went from playing a character of a businesswoman in high school to playing in the real business field, finding her true direction and her very real and raw experiences in the early stages of her career. 

Daydreaming to Reality

“I envisioned flying up across the world doing business, didn’t know what kind of business, with different people from across the world,” said Shannon. It had always been clear in her head that she wanted to have a career in business, and she had never been afraid of the distance between her dreams and reality. 

Knowing that her passion was in business from a very early stage meant she had always been ready for her journey, but she also knew that making these dreams a reality was going to take hard work, perseverance and maybe a few tears. 

In this podcast, Shannon shared how she overcame several obstacles in her life, from the early stages of her finance career to her transition into entrepreneurship and then the tech industry. 

The Waves of Change

In waves of change we find our true direction, and that’s what happened with Shannon. 

In 2004 when the tsunami hit Phuket, Shannon flew down to help, doing everything from rescuing corpses to setting up scholarships and community funds. Shannon experienced managing money, finding partners and more. She explained that it was during this devastating turn of events where she got her real stance on entrepreneurship. 

Finding Your Ship

“I always played the same person in my highschool skits… I’d bring my dad’s suits to wear along with his briefcase. Little did I know that his briefcase would become a laptop,” said Shannon. 

Being late to even setting up an email, Shannon hadn’t expected that this wave of change was also going to lead her down a path into the tech industry. Shannon explained to Michael what she experienced as an older woman going into tech and the intimidation she felt, the struggle to increase Thailand’s internet penetration to create more opportunities, and the dizzying world of tech acronyms. 

Not Always Smooth Sailing

Shannon’s journey wasn’t always easy. When you first start off in a new industry, sometimes you’re afraid to speak up or share what you think, but the truer you can be yourself the more you flourish – in both your personal and professional life. 

After some tough back and forth conversations between her boss, Shannon found herself in a situation she did not wish to be in anymore and made the choice to stop the conflict and move on. Shannon then told Michael about the conversion with her boss that led her to put her foot down and said to herself that “boot camp was over.” 

To learn more about Shannon Kalayanamitr and her experience in banking, entrepreneurship, and tech, listen to this episode of Ignite today. 


Michael has been podcasting with some of the best investors and business builders globally and discussing all things startup with them from an Asian perspective.

Michael I. Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.

Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used successfully to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth.

After more than 20 years in Tokyo, Michael moved to Southeast Asia to get more involved in the Private Equity and Venture Capital business and invest his own capital.

Michael is quite skilled at connecting people and capital to innovative ideas and is a trusted advisor to both investors and founders. Michael has raised capital and advised some of the most famous startups in the region.

Michael is a leader in the digital media space, having pioneered the concept of a podcast network in Asia, while building the biggest and fastest growing listener base in the region. His flagship website, MichaelWaitzePresents.com, has listeners in over 100 countries and is available on virtually every podcast player that supports RSS feeds.




Shannon joined Gobi as a Partner in 2018. She is currently responsible for Gobi’s fundraising activities globally.
She has 18 years of investment banking, entrepreneurial and international business experience, specifically in Corporate and Strategy Development as well as Marketing and Broadcast Media.

Shannon is also the Founder of IKIGAI Group, a consulting company designed to solve 21st Century challenges. Alongside her work for Gobi within the country, she has advised the Thai government, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, and the Digital Economic Promotion Agency (DEPA) on its Thailand 4.0 Strategy.

Shannon was previously the Co-founder and Group Chief Marketing Officer of Orami PTE., a full-range women e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia. Shannon holds a BBA in Finance with a Minor in Marketing from Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand.