Sometimes, the longer you wait, the harder it becomes to pursue your passion.
For Andy, he believes that technology can help to improve quality of life and we should harness it effectively. After obtaining his MSc TIP, he uses his newly acquired knowledge in his startups – Easy Zippy and FertilityCare, both founded to help enhance people’s lives.
Why did you decide to further your education?
The seeds were planted back in 1999 – I did the Minor in Technopreneurship during my undergraduate days. I was curious and wanted to explore linking technology to business. I wanted to see what opportunities it could provide, and spent 13 years working in product research and development (R&D). I was interested in bringing more technology to the market through new product development. I strongly believe that technology can enhance one’s life and that we should equip ourselves with the skills to translate technology into products.
I have always been dabbling in side projects of my own and my very first project was that of system integration. I helped companies to set up their network systems. It was then that I felt that I needed to upgrade my knowledge in business and take on a new direction. Thus, I left my job and took a year off to pursue the Master of Science in Technopreneurship & Innovation in NTU.
Did further education lead to any changes?
Of course! It equipped me with a new set of skills and allowed me to build a better model of running a business. Entrepreneurship training helps in structuring a business – it allows one to sharpen messages intended for the consumers. The theories taught real-life scenarios and apply to my everyday business operations as they give structure to my decisions.
Could you tell me more about FertilityCare?
FertilityCare is a natural fertility programme that encourages the use of natural methods to promote childbirth. The opportunity presented itself when a friend of mine, who is trained in the USA on the medical side, needed a partner to be trained on the charting side. In 2007, I went to Australia to train under the FertilityCare Practitioners Programme and FertilityCare was born. My job is actually that of a consultant, but I also took up the marketing role. While the consultation process is fairly straightforward, the real challenge begins when searching for potential customers. As this is considered a new fertility treatment, people are either oblivious to it or do not understand how it works.
Herein lies my role as the marketing guy – through persistent marketing via public seminars, word of mouth, collecting and sharing testimonials, I was able to slowly break into the market and grow the business. The past two years have been especially fruitful as we were featured on mainstream media and invited for radio interviews.
Could you tell me more about Easy Zippy?
First of all, I adore my e-scooter. By the way, the name Easy Zippy came about because I feel that personal mobility devices (PMD) allow people to zip from one place to another easily. Secondly, due to increasing sustainability concerns and rising costs of cars in Singapore, a vibrant PMD community blossomed and I saw this as an opportunity that could be harnessed. PMD is an area of business that I am always interested in. This is because I feel that it is a novel method of transportation, which fills the gap between driving a car and cycling.
Easy Zippy was launched in 2015. We specialise in bringing e-scooters into the market and are one of the pioneers of e-scooter parking. I am an avid user of PMD myself, and a committee member of Big Wheel Scooter – a 26,000-strong PMD community – one of the main concerns e-scooter users have is parking. It is difficult for people to carry their bulky e-scooters around while running errands. Easy Zippy aims to resolve this problem through introducing ‘parking’ for e-scooters. We currently have smart lockers at Compass One Shopping Mall where customers can place their shopping items and/or e-scooter in one of the many lockers while going on with their day. This innovative method of parking solves the dilemma most PMD riders have. I’d like to call our smart lockers a ‘hotel’ for your items. With the proliferation of lockers, Easy Zippy’s smart locker stands out through its promise of allowing you a smooth transaction as we allow pre-booking and online payment.
However, due to new rules for PMD specifications, many suppliers are taking the brunt of the regulations. I am also figuring my next course of action but I’m pretty optimistic about the future as I plan to further develop the smart locker and market them to companies. We are also looking into renting out our lockers for other companies to use. Change is inevitable, and we need to know when it’s time to pivot.
Do you have any examples of how your entrepreneurial skills have helped your company?
It helped me to fine-tune my value proposition and effectively communicate my product and services to the market. It also allowed me to navigate uncertain market terrain to find opportunities.
What is entrepreneurship to you?
Entrepreneurship is very broad – a myriad of skills is required as the demands of entrepreneurship are endless. For example, if you enter a new market, one has to know how to measure the product, understand the processes and impact of the product, and conduct the relevant market research. An entrepreneur has to wear multiple hats. Today you’re researching to find out what your consumers want, tomorrow you’re crafting messages to communicate better with stakeholders, and the next day you’re checking the financial records. I guess you can draw the analogy from triathlons – different skillsets are required at every section for you to succeed.
What particular traits do you think are important for entrepreneurs to have?
Entrepreneurship spirit. To me, the entrepreneurship spirit signifies persistence in solving problems, flexibility in looking for solutions, commitment to the company’s mission, adaptability to different situations and lastly, passion in driving progress. It’s akin to digging for gold. Before it is discovered it is just a useless piece of land; but as one explores and pushes the boundaries, one can quite possibly stumble upon a gold mine.
Is entrepreneurship an Art or Science?
There are elements of both in entrepreneurship. Art is required to communicate creatively to your target audience and stand out amongst the competition. Besides that, due to the nature of social media there is added emphasis in creating appealing content to capture the consumers’ attention. Science is also essential to analyse market and measure performance systematically in order to plan effectively. Science is required to measure, quantify and control your business.
What are some rewarding aspects of being an entrepreneur? Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Being an entrepreneur allows you to have the flexibility of time and opportunity to pursue your interest. To me, that is extremely meaningful. A piece of advice would be: Finding opportunities and managing freedom may be daunting at times but as long as you build up your self-discipline and consistently work towards realising your mission and vision, it will be worthwhile!
Entrepreneurship demands great self-discipline.
Andy graduated with a Master of Science in Technopreneurship and Innovation in Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Andy is the Founder and CEO of Easy Zippy Pte. Ltd., a Singaporean company which provides e-scooters and convenient storage for e-scooters. He also manages FertilityCare which uses the Creighton Model and NaproTechnology to educate and help couples conceive naturally.