Amar Uses Top-tier Technology to Give You an Affordable SmartHome

What’s your story?
I was working in Finance and realized that I didn’t want to be working on an Equity Sales Desk for the rest of my life. In 2016, I stumbled upon two engineers who had created an ecosystem of smart home devices that were specific for Asia. I left my job to help them commercialize the product. I quickly identified why Asian customers were hesitant to adopt smart home technology. It was the lack of services for installation, configuration, and after-sales support. The engineers agreed, and that’s when I decided to found HOMI SmartHome.

What excites you most about your industry?
I think what excites me most is the impact that it can potentially have on the way we live and work. We are only scratching the surface with products that offer actuation and basic pattern recognition. I feel the next generation of smart home products will be more intuitive and add even more value to people’s homes and families. 

What’s your connection to Asia?
My parents are from India and they moved to Hong Kong with my grandfather in the 1980s. I was born and raised in Hong Kong which happens to be right next to the tech hardware capital of the world, Shenzhen. 

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
My answer is extremely biased as I’ve only formally ever done business in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Zhongshan, and Singapore. 

Hong Kong has been going through a tumultuous period but I do believe it’s one of the easiest places to set up a business and attract talent. In comparison to Singapore, I do believe there isn’t as much technical expertise and investment dedicated to technology. However, where Hong Kong lacks in talent and investment, it makes up for in the availability of gritty managers and salespeople. 

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
As a manager, time is your scarcest resource. 

Who inspires you?
I’ve surrounded myself by people who inspire me. Family, friends, colleagues, and investors all inspire me. I completely agree with the notion that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. 

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Stop viewing work and life as a balancing act. It’s more productive to view them as two integrated parts. 

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
In the past, I didn’t invest enough time in building a process for hiring and only learned this later down the line. The team you work with really dictates the success of the company and hiring ensures you do this. Very proud of the team we have now! 

How do you unwind?
I am part of a weekend basketball rec league and I participate in an NBA fantasy league that forces me to watch almost every regular season game.

It’s been slightly more difficult to unwind this year, as the NBA has been suspended and we currently can’t book any courts for our league. I’ve had time for other pastimes though, like video/computer games, and I’ve started playing Warcraft III with friends. I’ve also been reading twice as many books this month. 

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. I haven’t been on enough holidays for relaxation but this one was thoroughly relaxing as I had a massage each of the 7 days I was there.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“High Output Management,” by Andrew S. Grove.

Shameless plug for your business:
HOMI SmartHome has built cutting edge smart home technology that can be installed in your home, by a certified electrician, in less than 3 hours. This is the easiest way to get a smart home in Asia at a revolutionary price. 

How can people connect with you?
By email, [email protected]

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

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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 and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.

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Download free copies of his books at www.callumlaing.com