Connect with us

Entrepreneurship

Takayuki Miyauchi, Co-founder of Sassor

Published

on

With interaction design, service design as his area of speciality, Takayuki has always approached product, software and hardware development from a design perspective. Takayuki co-founded a company, Sassor, which actively develops mobile services along with other products, that caters a user’s characteristic traits or behavior record.

The Asian Entrepreneur is joined by Takayuki today, as we talk about his experiences as an entrepreneur and what he hopes to achieve with Sassor.

What exactly is Sassor?

We are a service design company working in the Internet of Things.From design to hardware engineering we design services for attractive and new user experience.

How did you come up with the idea of Sassor?

Originally, I had been interested in creating the lifelog at home in line of my researches. I had been living with other persons in the form of room sharing, but the power consumption was considerably high although we were either at the laboratory or the office for almost whole day. This was the reason that we created the prototype for analyzing what was caused to make the power consumption very high. Finally, we found out that the server installed at home was the root cause of the high power consumption.

Could you walk us through the process of starting up Sassor?

My co-founder, Shiuchi Ishibashi, was my high school classmate and and we went to the same graduate school and at that time we thought to create a startup. But at the beginning we were just talking that we hoped to do something after the graduation. About few years ago, we applied to the E-idea competition (British Council) for a trial to explore some possibilities, and that resulted in the prototype of Energy Literacy Platform. After that, we brushed it up to become our present service by joining with another program (Open Network Lab) and taking advice from them.

How has it been like managing the business since?

At first, we were planning to release a product for consumer. But we had a big earthquake in Japan, we faced serious shortage of electric power. At that time, our product’s prototype were brought up in media, we were going to product them small-scale and sale it for a limited time by advancing the schedule of development. There were many contacts from restaurants after marketing, we got to know that visualization system of electricity for store takes many costs for implementation and operating, to make matters worse, it has poor usability. So we observed the operation of the staffs at the stores which had given us inquiries, performed hearings among them, made prototypes for the stores for testing and verifying, and repeated several times such processes to finally produce the current shape of service.

Did you find anything particularly difficult during the startup?

We had to develop a prototype of our service without any income, but we were very much supported by our friends around us.

How was the initial reaction from the consumers?

The reaction of the market was very positive. Actually they got a system of visualization less expensive and easier to use which had been conceived to be very expensive. Those who inquired in th early stage promptly introduced it.

 Do you face a lot of competition in this industry?

There have been competitors, however, the existing system is expensive and inconvenient to use. What we will do is to enhance the quality of daily services and to achieve the reduction in operating cost for the customer satisfaction.

What can you tell us about the industry?

We have been providing the market of IoT with the services but are still in the early stage. Hardware and net gadget are getting increased, however, there have probably been a few which are absolutely necessary services for daily life.

How have you managed to stay relevant in this industry?

The prospects of IoT are still young and can be expanded in the future. We see making things will get closer to your life, and you’ll be surrounded more and more by various loT devices. Because it is simply exiting for us to put ourselves in such an environment.

If you could, would you change anything about your approach?

If so, what?We actually began to learn manufacture after we started, so we had hard times before we successfully made a product. I wish I would have learned more about the manufacturing methods much earlier.

What do you think about startups in Asia?

Recently, We feel start-up venturing abroad aggressively and the team also has become international, so we perceive that nationality of the founding of the company has been unrelated.

What are some personal principles or personal values that guide you and your career?

We do every work from stylize to hardware design by ourselves, carry out service development with taking care about usage of the entire service design.

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

Originally, we were studying into the loT field. But if you stay within the laboratory and just keep on studying, you seldom have a chance to have somebody use the stuff you’ve made up.We started to think we should make the stuff into products that can be used by many people; the products we made as we thought them fun and useful, that is why we decided to startup a business.

What do you think are the most important things entrepreneurs should keep in mind?

To believe my own vision no matter what the others may say about it.

In your opinion, what are the keys to entrepreneurial success?

To materialise your own vision, to believe your own instinct and to have a trustful partner.

Any parting words of wisdom for entrepreneurs out there?

When you have a vision that you want to materialise, you can even enjoy difficulties. When you have a trustful partner, your agonies would be halved. smarter than you are. However if you keep an open mind, listen to as many smart people, and then act on it, then you will succeed.

One common trait of very successful and smart pioneers is that if you can get timeshare with them, they will impart invaluable advice freely. Accept the advice with humility. Note they are most likely smarter than you are. If they affirm what you sense then you are on the right track. If they do not, then something needs to be re-callibarated. Do this soon. And succeed.

 

Connect
Website: http://www.sassor.co.jp
Personal Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/takayuki.miyauchi
Twitter: www.twitter.com/t_38
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/takayuki-miyauchi/1b/586/b4b

Callum Connects

Benedict Heng, Founder of Mr. Farmer

Published

on

Benedict Heng is bringing back the ‘kampong’ days of having the Ho Liao (good ingredients) for Ho Jiak (good tasting) food.

What’s your story?
I’m Ben from Mr. Farmer. Mr. Farmer is an online grocer dedicated to supplying the freshest produce to our customers. We believe in sustainable and ethical farming. Since a young age, I have always been an avid food lover (especially meats), developing a strong interest in all things delicious. That is why I ventured into the F&B industry, working as a junior cook for 3 years.

Midway through my career, I made a move to the finance industry to pursue monetary rewards. I dove into high-risk investments and I made lots of money from these investments. However, the good fortune did not last long and all these came crashing down when I suffered a tremendous loss. This coincided with the time that I had just started my own family and it was a huge blow to me both materially and mentally. It was this crash that made me realize that this life wasn’t for me. I went on a hiatus and eventually, it was only through the strong support from my family that I managed to tide over this tough episode.

I went back to help the family business and this was how Mr Farmer came about. My family has been in the food industry for many decades and one thing they noticed from years of experience is that sustainable farming practices are not as developed as in Europe. This is why through Mr Farmer, we hope that we can provide the best quality products to families out there who want the best ingredients for their loved ones.

What excites you most about your industry?
Delicious and wholesome food excites me. I believe food is a critical component of life and it brings people together. The opportunity to serve the community with fresh produce for a healthy life, that brings me joy.

I feel that there is still so much more we can do to improve the quality of food and bring it to the masses. One of the key components of ensuring greater quality of food is to support ethical and sustainable farming. Due to commercialization and urbanization, most farming practices these days are no longer the way they were in the old “kampong” times. Shortcuts are taken, standards are compromised, all in the name of profit. At Mr. Farmer, profit is important too but we want to focus on the concept of One Welfare – sustainable farming directly impacts our health. Our vision is to bring back the ‘kampong’ days of having the Ho Liao (good ingredients) for Ho Jiak (good tasting) food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore. I call Singapore my home as it’s where my family and close friends are. I also travel frequently to Malaysia and APAC for work.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It’s definitely Singapore. There is just so much this tiny city can offer! Singapore has been globally recognized for its top-notch business environment providing its residents with developed infrastructure, political stability and excellent connectivity. These factors have given us an outstanding support system for businesses to strive.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Surround yourself with people that inspire you, challenge you to rise higher, make you better and, keep them in your life.

Who inspires you?
I draw inspiration from my uncle, who is the head of both the family and business. He takes care of our family matters at home and manages hundreds of employees at work. Handling both the family and business side of things can be tricky, but he has shown me that success can be sustainable and done with a conscience. His guiding philosophy of handling business and family is simply, to have a big heart.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Even just one day of separation from the day the meat is slaughtered, makes a world of difference to its flavour.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I have come to learn that awareness is the beginning of everything. If I had my time again, I would have probably spent more time figuring out who I truly am and with that self-awareness, begun to lead my life with more purpose and meaning.

How do you unwind?
I like to spend my free time sipping white coffee at my favourite coffee place. I enjoy taking in the surrounding sights and letting my mind wander freely. It allows me to unwind and gain clarity at the same time. It also helps me organize my thoughts to prepare for the week ahead.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
It would be Bangkok as the people there are genuinely friendly and hospitable. They say people are what defines the city and I couldn’t agree more with this. I also enjoy the ‘laid back’ vibe of Bangkok. Not to mention Bangkok has all the good food and awesome shopping choices too!

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Spin selling” by Neil Reckham. It’s an amazing book that teaches you a process designed to help you successfully sell your products and services to business buyers.

Shameless plug for your business:
We at Mr. Farmer have the best tasting meats in Singapore, do a blind test and you will know why it’s Michelin chefs’ preferred choice. Not only are we very confident about the taste, we are also proud to say that all our products are chemical, hormone and antibiotic free. We also focus a lot on supporting ethical and sustainable farming practices believing in the ‘One Welfare’ concept. Do check us out if you enjoy good quality food like us!

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

Continue Reading

Callum Connects

Zac Chua, Founder & CEO of The Kettle Gourmet

Published

on

Zac Chua’s popcorn business validated itself straight away and fast tracked him to the startup world. Zac now employs 11 people and shifts 500 bags of popcorn daily.

What’s your story?
It’s a crazy one. It was an accidental startup. If you think about it, no university graduate would ever dream of becoming a popcorn seller. We crashed our first tech event to validate our idea and it took off from there. I bought a logo for $7 from a designers marketplace, printed some cheap name cards, and built a 1 page landing page. Sales started pouring in and eventually, we were serving B2B clients (corporate pantries) and we have never looked back. Today we move about 500 bags daily, we have 11 employees and we are growing. Talk about a validation that worked in our favour.

What excites you most about your industry?
It’s food! Everybody loves food! In Singapore the F&B scene is brutally competitive and it spurs me on to fight and compete for market share and to prove to myself that I can do it. It keeps me going and I won’t stop until we become the market leader.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Singapore, and have traveled to most of Southeast Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore! Even though Singapore has a high cost of living, the Government is actually very supportive of startups. They provide grants for us to tap into, and the technological infrastructure makes it possible for us to compete on a global scale. I believe if you can succeed in your business in Singapore, you can succeed in most of Southeast Asia.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
You only need to be right once, and the rest is history.

Who inspires you?
My father, who was a VC. In fact he was the one who gave me the best piece of advice which I shared above. Having one successful exit, he showed me that it’s okay to fail a million times – all it takes is just one time for you to win in business and in life.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The power of compounding.

  • Mary and John are the same age.
  • Mary saves $2k annually from the age of 19-25 – so she puts $14k into her portfolio
  • John saves $2k annually from the age of 26-65 – so he puts $80k into his portfolio, but 7 years after Mary.
  • If both are able to generate 10% per annum, who would have more at age 65?
  • John of course! But how much more?
  • Mary will have $944,641 whilst John will have $973,704
  • Think about it! Mary puts in only $14k but John delays for 7 years and puts in $80k.

CRAZY RIGHT!?!?

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, my mistakes taught me how to become a better me. But if I really must choose, I’d say take more time to find the right business partner.

How do you unwind?
Poker, Mahjong and Dota 2.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Vietnam! Things are cheap, people are warm and friendly, and their coffee fills up my life. I would love to retire there if possible.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The richest man in Babylon

Shameless plug for your business:
We don’t need a plug. Just try our competitors and you’ll understand why!

How can people connect with you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chuazongyou
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zacchua

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

Continue Reading

Trending