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Innovative Asian Entrepreneurs

Joshua Hon, Founder Of Tern Bicycles

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The Asian Entrepreneur speaks with Joshua Hon, Founder and Team captain at Tern Bicycles about his entrepreneurial journey. Tern is an award-winning leader in urban bicycle development and started in 2011. A sister brand, BioLogic, focuses on urban cycling accessories and some of its most popular products include iPhone bike mounts and a top-rated iPhone cycling application that has over 100,000 users.

Joshua Hon - Tern

A fresh start

Prior to starting Tern, Joshua helped turn around and build Dahon into the leading folding bicycle company. Before Dahon, Joshua worked at A&R Partners, a leading Silicon Valley marketing communications firm.

Most of the people behind Tern have been in the bicycle industry for many years and wanted to focus their energies on urban transportation.

Focusing on Non-Riders

There are numerous companies making folding bicycles or bikes designed for urban transport but Tern’s core focus is on non-riders. They are people who take a short drive to the local supermarket or for coffee. Tern’s vision is to get non-riders out of their cars and onto bikes for these journeys.

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The feedback on Tern’s products have been positive. The riders appreciate the balance of function and performance that the bikes deliver. Tern is only three years old but already have distribution in 64 countries.

Most foldable bikes compromise on ride quality. Tern’s bikes are different. The combination of patented technologies and unique features results in a remarkably good ride. Customers often ask “What’s the difference between a Tern and xx brand?”. As a response, Tern recommends riders to take a test ride and they will notice what makes Tern unique.

The people’s bicycle

The Verge is one of Tern’s best selling bicycles. The sleek hydro-formed frame gets a lot of attention. It combines light weight (the lightest version is 9 kg), excellent riding characteristics and a 10 second fold.

2012-TN-photo-Verge-X20-web

One of Joshua’s favorite features is the “Physis handlepost”, which is forged from a solid piece of aluminium (one of the weaknesses of most folding bike are the handle posts). It is incredibly stiff, easy to use and nice to look at. The Physis handle post is a key contributor to the great ride that Tern’s bikes are known for.

Tern’s vision and values

The goal is to make Tern a stable and long-term success by building a strong culture, getting the right people in every position and by creating great products for urban transportation. Tern operates in what they call RIDE values:

Respect – For ourselves, for others, and for the planet
Integrity – Do the right thing; do what we promise
Development – Work continually to develop and improve our products, our company, and ourselves
Excellence – Aim high, then aim higher

More about Joshua Hon:

Working Style: As team captain, Joshua establishes the goals, point the direction of the company, and to facilitate every member of the team to achieve their goals.

Viewpoint: Joshua is interested in exploring a concept he calls “sustainable giving” which involves asking organizations to donate their expertise and efficiencies, for example Tern’s massive economies of scale in manufacturing bicycles, rather than simply money.

The central idea is that in difficult economic times, companies will be much less likely to donate money, but their willingness to donate their expertise and efficiencies should remain the same. Joshua is a great believer in micro financing.  He has personally experienced how difficult it can be to grow a business without adequate financing.

Education: Graduated from Stanford University with a Master of Arts in Organizational Behavior and Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology.

Place of Birth: Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA.

Family: Has two kids and much of his time goes to the family. Joshua and his family focuses on outdoor activities, which includes cycling (of course), hiking, kayaking, and swimming.  Joshua’s passion has always been “Ultimate Frisbee”, a sport he helped bring to Asia.

2012-TN-photo-Verge-X20-fold-web

Inspirational Entrepreneurs: Steve Jobs for his vision and dedication to quality. Tim Cook for his management style and his push on certain issues like clean energy, factory standards and diversity of workplace.

Lives in: Taipei, Taiwan

Favourite books: Lord of the Rings  by J.R.R. Tolkien & Influence by Robert Cialdini.

Lives in: Taipei, Taiwan

Hobbies: Sports and Photography

Website: http://www.ternbicycles.com
Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/ternbicycles
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ternbicycles

Entrepreneurship

Uber’s Future with Grab?

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Following Bloomberg’s report, Grab on Monday announced that it has acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia operations.

This deal is said to be the largest-ever of its kind in Southeast Asia. Grab said it will integrate Uber’s ride sharing and food delivery business in the Southeast Asia region into Grab’s existing platform as it takes over Uber’s operations and assets in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

As part of the acquisition, Uber will take a 27.5% stake in Grab and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab’s board.

Moving forward:

  • Food delivery: Grab will rapidly expand its existing GrabFood businesses in Indonesia and Thailand to two more countries – Singapore and Malaysia – following the integration of the Uber Eats business. GrabFood will be available across all major Southeast Asian countries in the first half of 2018.
  • Transportation: Grab will grow its core transport offering to include more localised transport services and new mobility solutions, in partnership with other transport providers and automakers. Grab will also collaborate with governments and public transport operators to link public transport services and create seamless and integrated multi-modal commuter experiences. The recently announced GrabCycle marketplace for shared bicycles and personal mobility devices, and GrabShuttle Plus for on-demand bus routes are pilots toward this vision.
  • Payments and financial services: Grab will continue to enhance and expand its suite of offerings under Grab Financial, including mobile payments, micro-financing, insurance and other financial services for millions of underserved and unbanked consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses in the region. GrabPay as a mobile wallet will be available across all major Southeast Asian countries by the end of the year.

To minimise disruption, Grab and Uber are working together to promptly migrate Uber drivers and riders, Uber Eats customers, merchant partners and delivery partners to the Grab platform.

The Uber app will continue to operate for the next two weeks for existing Uber drivers where during this period they can sign-up to drive with Grab. Uber Eats will run until the end of May, after which Uber delivery and restaurant partners will move to the GrabFood platform.

Anthony Tan, Group CEO and Co-founder, Grab said, “We are humbled that a company born in SEA has built one of the largest platforms that millions of consumers use daily and provides income opportunities to over 5 million people. Today’s acquisition marks the beginning of a new era. The combined business is the leader in platform and cost efficiency in the region. Together with Uber, we are now in an even better position to fulfil our promise to outserve our customers. Their trust in us as a transport brand allows us to look towards the next step as a company: improving people’s lives through food, payments and financial services.”

“This deal is a testament to Uber’s exceptional growth across Southeast Asia over the last five years. It will help us double down on our plans for growth as we invest heavily in our products and technology to create the best customer experience on the planet. We’re excited to take this step with Anthony and his entire team at Grab, and look forward to Grab’s future in Southeast Asia,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber.

Over 5 million people use Grab in Southeast Asia daily. Today, the Grab app has been downloaded onto over 90 million mobile devices. Grab is in 195 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries and offers the widest range of on-demand transport services including private cars, motorbikes, taxis, and carpooling services, in addition to food and package delivery services.

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About the Author

This was an approved submitted release provided by Mike Cheong. 

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Entrepreneurship

Women on Top in Tech – Anna Gong, CEO of Perx Technologies

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(Women on Top in Tech is a series of Women Founders, CEOs & Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

I am talking to Anna Gong, CEO of Perx Technologies, a leading mobile customer engagement and loyalty software company headquartered in Singapore.  Anna was born in China and grew up in the U.S., and has been in the tech industry for nearly 20 years. She has worked at large and startup companies before taking over the leadership of Perx in November 2014.

perx-logo


How did you rise in the industry you are in?

With pure perseverance and an undying passion for success. All because of the fear of letting my parents’ big sacrifice go in vain. They came to the U.S. with $500 and 2 young kids (my sister and me). They sacrificed their careers as established academic and healthcare professionals. I wanted them to be proud and while growing up in the U.S. where it’s full of dreams and hopes. I took on many challenges and tried many things to prove that I can achieve success and greatness but not without hardship, obstacles, and major discrimination challenges.

From the day I graduated from college, I started my career in the tech industry. I have never once let a mostly male-dominated industry discourage me. I also did not let rejection of opportunities discourage me either. I optimistically persevered and even acted like one of the boys to fit in and disguised my femininity at times. I was not afraid to face challenges, push backs and lean into difficult situations. I always knew if I didn’t take those chances, the opportunity would pass me by.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you? (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics.)

I wouldn’t say I wasn’t the usual leadership demographic. There are more and more tech companies being led by females, but it still has ways to go to be on the same level playing field as men.

I was actually recruited into this role by the board and I took it since I knew the mobile technology was a hot area to get into and it was a great business model. However, when I came in, I discovered that this company needed a whole new face lift, an entire shift in the way we did business to ensure we could achieve sustainable and repeatable success.

I therefore “refounded” the company and developed a whole new culture, technology platform, business and service model. You now see a different Perx. Perx 2.0.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?

This is one of the more common challenges with companies of all sizes. It has to start from the foundational ingredients such as core values and culture. Then it’s leadership and how well you instill and practice ownership, accountability but yet still make it a fun, creative and challenging environment.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?

I now unconsciously support it. I believe in and embrace diversity but at the end of the day, I aim to hire the best person for the role and not the best gender.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?

I’m not sure if there’s any single handbook that teaches you to be a great leader but there are things that I believe in and practice. You have to have great vision, strong purpose, and core values that the company can buy into, support, and love by. Focus focus focus and be transparent. Lead from the front line and lead with compassion and empathy.

Advice for others?

Don’t be afraid to fail and seek advice from your community. You cannot do this alone and being a CEO is a lonely job. Find one or a few mentors. This is absolutely essential to our success and our sanity.


To learn more about Perx, please see http://www.getperx.com.

Are you a startup looking for investment? Come join me at Expert Dojo’s “Q4 Investor Festival – Where Startups Meet Investors” in Santa Monica, from October 24 to 28. Details at http://expertdojo.com/events/biggest-startup-pitch-event-usa-5-days-focus-get-startup-funded-investor-festival/.

For information about the first ever “Latinx in Tech Edition”, please see http://www.kaporcenter.org/event/startup-weekend-oakland-latinx-tech-edition/.
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