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Kiljoy Design

Designing Success: Starting up in Singapore as a Foreign Entrepreneur

How Kiljoy Design opened up its doors in Singapore with no incorporation or accounting knowledge, navigated the pandemic, and got clear on its finances to grow.

Incorporated and operating

within days


during the pandemic

Came back to Osome

after a bad experience


Kiljoy Design

Member since

October 2019

Line of work

Creative brand services

Meet Kiljoy Design


After 23 years, Mathew Searcy was done with agency life. He started out in environmental design, working with interior designers and architects, then moving into the online-offline shopper space and package design. Before heading deeper and deeper into the digital side. 

He wanted to get back to what he believed in: design that could build relationships and solve problems while creating beautiful, visually functional, helpful things. 

So Kiljoy Design was born in 2019, after Mathew decided to go it alone. 

The Challenge: Starting Up in a Foreign Country

But there was a problem — Mathew was originally from the USA. He’d lived in Singapore on and off since 2011, but he didn’t have a clue how to start up a business there. Whereas in the USA he’d call up a friend or family member for help, he didn’t have that network in Singapore to help him navigate the requirements. 

The Solution: Finding that Expert on the Ground

That’s where Osome came in.

Starting a company and managing my accounting was a space I knew nothing about — not even how to begin the process. Osome helped me through that.

Mathew Searcy,Founder

Osome got Kiljoy Design up and running with incorporation and corporate secretary services. And soon, they were off to a flying start

Extra Challenges: When Life Throws More Curveballs 

Then, the pandemic hit in March 2020. 

But according to Mathew, this proved to be an interesting start to the business. He ended up having to spend time learning, and really focusing on the way that things were changing in the digital, consumer, and branding space. As a result, it turned into a lot of consulting work for some of the big companies he used to work for. Helping them restructure teams that weren’t functioning in a certain way.

So now they pay me to come in and fix those teams, which is kind of funny.

Mathew Searcy, Founder

At this point, Kiljoy Design were growing. And fast. 

Initially, they were offering a low-cost service — quick output. quick turnaround. Which produced a huge amount of admin that sometimes prevented them from working at speed and volume. 

While their accounting needs weren’t complex, Mathew didn’t have any experience handling them. He was concerned about form-filling, classification, and documentation. And especially having to pay someone double at the end of the year to fix it if wasn’t right. They didn’t need to hire a CFO or in-house accountant. But they did need help.

Making Changes: How Osome Helped Kiljoy Design Simplify and Grow

Initially, they looked to a competitor. But after a nightmarish five months with limited communication and help, Mathew saw that Osome had added accounting as a service. So he immediately made the switch back. And got the communication, help, and expertise he was looking for at the speed he needed.

It's been honestly just a breath of fresh air being back with Osome. There’s a singular resource and everything is monitored in one place.

Mathew Searcy, Founder

Taking on the day-to-day financial admin, having a central app to oversee everything, and ensuring up-to-date financial information allowed the business to take a breather. This meant that Mathew could instead focus on understanding where the business could grow. Because Osome not only took care of admin for him, but also presented information in easy and understandable ways.  

As a result, they simplified their structure and offering, meaning they could take on bigger longer-term projects that were more profitable. 

They're always willing to help and point me in the right direction or answer my questions. They never make me feel as ignorant as I am in most of the topics that we talk about, which is nice.

Mathew Searcy, Founder

Now Kiljoy Designs is looking to the future. To move beyond the smaller shop stage, become more competitive, and hire staff full-time. Finding their lane to work in, and committing to it.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions — even if you think they’re stupid ones. It’s better to ask than to sit wondering because people are always willing to help you out.

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