Happy second quarter!
It seems like it was only yesterday we were ringing in the New Year and before you can blink, we’re already into our first second quarter of 2016.
It has been a very busy first quarter for Cradle as we set in motion more plans to help talented Malaysian technology start-ups become great names in the world arena.
We’ve embarked on a couple of firsts in the first four months of the New Year too.
One of them is an effort to help entrepreneurs and investors create synergistic collaborations so in order to better grow and develop their business. This new initiative came in the form of ConnexUs, which is a play on the phrase “Connect Us”. After all, part of the support we deliver to our entrepreneurs is to connect them with the right partners who will be able to catalyse new business growth.
Secondly, we wanted to gather, highlight, analyse and discuss issues in the Malaysian technology start-up landscape. Thus, Cradle Buzz was held in conjunction with the 1 ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit (1AES) and it was busily buzzing with different opinions and view points from the players in the industry.
We were very fortunate and honoured to have Joel Neoh, a successful serial entrepreneur and former International vice-president of Groupon Asia deliver the keynote. Being someone who is full of surprises, Neoh dropped a bombshell on everyone by announcing his resignation from Groupon to be able to run a start-up again. There really is no holding a good man down!
We wish Neoh all the best in his future endeavours and wish the same for all our entrepreneurs and readers. May the ambitious fire we lit on New Year’s day continue to burn inside all of us so that we may have the strength to soldier on and realise our visions for ourselves.
The Rockin’ Cradle Team.
Rockin’ Cradle will feature a Rockin’ Entrepreneur in every issue. In this issue, get to know MobileWaiter.my.
FLYING FROM PAMPHLETS TO FOOD DELIVERY.
Learn how a team used their pamphlet distribution experience to run a food delivery business as well as a lesson of doing more with less.
1. Let’s begin with telling us about yourself. Who are Ken and Phoebe and what is Mobile Waiter?
Ken: I’m an on-field flyers distributor and market researcherwith more than 10 years experience walking down the street, house to house all over Malaysia so much so that I have familiarised myself with all the ‘jalans’ (roads) and the‘tamans’ (residential areas). My flyer distribution business experience helped me with recruiting staff members and managing a team for work that goes on no matter rain or shine.The lessons I learned here helped me successfully transformmyflyer distribution business to a food delivery business.
Phoebe: I started as a part-time worker with Ken while still in collegeand we worked together in several advertising material distribution projects. With the experience and passion to be an entrepreneur, we founded Mobile Waiter in year 2012.
Joey: I’ve worked with Ken since 2004 in assisting him with backend work. Food is a crucial part of everyone’s lives but someone with a busy schedule won’t have time to cook a good meal. Sowith all the experiences and background we have, we decided to start this food delivery business.
In Malaysia, cultural diversity has led to people wishing to eat different types of foods in one meal.
Mobile Waiter is the first in the market that offers the most convenient and affordable way for you to place orders from few favourite restaurants in a single order. We collect, collate and deliver your orders to your doorstep with no minimum order and only charge RM1 delivery fee.
2. Why did you decide to venture into entrepreneurship?
Ken: I want to create an environment for everyone to build business together and achieve success in future.
Phoebe: I always wanted to have freedom in my life. Before havingany commitments,I was given the opportunity to work this idea out. So, I grabbed the opportunity and chose to venture into entrepreneurship.
3. Who do you count as your role model in the entrepreneurship world? Why?
Tan Sri TonyFernandes, Group CEO of Airasia. He learned how to differentiate between budget and premier travel and created a market for people to fly at affordable prices. In the process, he also created new job opportunities.
4. How did you start your venture? Did you set out to change something?
Ken: While developing my distribution business, I thought of a service that would satisfy a daily need and would generate a steady cash flow. How would I build this business with minimum funds but ensure fast growth? That’s how I come into this business with Franchise model. And we know Malaysia eating culture, they wish to have few type of food in one meal, with our expertise in managing huge logistic network, we started the first multiple restaurant food delivery in the market or maybe even the world.
Phoebe: We wished to change people’s dining habit by getting their food delivered to their doorsteps. They can have food delivered from hawker stalls or restaurants.
Joey: That’s why we gathered our knowledge and information to build a portal to manage this huge and complicated logistic network.
5. What were among your three main challenges and how did you overcome them?
We know that the convenience of technology makes it effortless for individuals to order their food. We wanted to build the technology that automates ordering between customer and restaurant. However, a former member of the team left out this crucial element and this delayed the start of our business. However, we met with a speaker at a seminar that advised us to start with whatever sources we had. So, we kick-started the business with whatever resources were available and two years on, we still rely on Whatsapp and Facebook to help us run the business.
As a bootstrap business, money is an issue, but not the thing that is stopping us. With limited funds, I moved out of my rented house and stayed in my car for six months. When there were no delivery jobs, I do help out restaurants with their distribution work to earn some extra income. If you want to survive, you always can make it. Don’t let the thing that you don’t have to stop you, use what you have to make it happen!
When we started our business, we had no money to recruit a rider so I became the first MobileWaiter.my rider for eight months and my delivery route includedall of Puchong, Sunway Subang and USJ no matter rain or shine on a bike I borrowed from my mother-in-law. Now, no rider can tell me they can’t delivery within an hour as I already experienced doing it for eight months and it is possible. If you want to do something, nothing can stop you!
6. Who do you turn to when you run into problems?
Ken: When faced with obstacles, we attend seminars to get motivation from the speakers, coaches, and other entrepreneurs. Besides that, we always have brainstorming sessions among our team to solve the problems.
7. How did Cradle Fund help you on your journey?
Phoebe: In 2013, we were shortlisted for CIP160Catalystapplication but unfortunately our application was rejected. At the same year, we joined the Coach & Grow Programme by Cradle and we learned how to improve and fine tune our business idea.
In 2014, we reapplied and successfully got the CIP160Catalystgrant to build our Multi Hawker/Restaurant Online Food Delivery portal. With the portal ready, we were able to manage more orders and deliveries and we have plans to scale our business across Malaysia and the region.
8. When you were younger, did you ever dream of being in business or was that the last thing on your mind?
Ken:Yes. I started my own businesswhen I was 19 years old as part time market researcher and distributor. I always believe in team work so I gathered my friends to work as a team to get more jobs done at a better rate.
Phoebe: Yes, my parents are in business and they did tell me thatwhen you work, you earn a living but when you run a business you build a future.
Joey: No, I thought with a degree in Computer Science, I would be a programmer.
9. Are you enjoying your entrepreneurship journey so far?
Ken: Tears and smiles abound. On the outside, I look like I’m enjoying it but actually, it is a hard journey.
Phoebe: Yes, I enjoy it. Everything I’ve learned in entrepreneurshipactuallyhad an impact on my personal life. I used to give up in the middle of some of my goals but after I’ve gone through this tough and rough entrepreneurship journey, this has forced me to become determined in everything.It has made me a better person because of that determination I learned.
Joey : I agree with Ken and Phoebe. We had to sacrifice a lot during the journey.
10. How does your idea make the world a better place?
We allow customer place multiple restaurant orders in one single order sheet. We believe this will change everyone’s dining pattern. People have more time for their own work without going out to get food for their families.
With no minimum order and RM1 delivery fees, everyone can enjoy our service too!
People can do more with the time saved.
11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ken : MobileWaiter.my will be well known and be part of Malaysian daily lives. It will be the solution to transportation and food delivery and we’ll be making life easier for many people.
12. We know running a business can be stressful. What do you do to relax?
Ken:Usually I go jogging and attend seminars. Jogging makesme feel relaxed and gives me a clearer mind. Most of the ideas and solutions come in while I jog.
I attend seminarshelp me explore more and see things from different angles.
13. If you weren’t running a business, what would you be doing instead?
Ken:If I didn’t run a business, I’d probably be a fruit farmer. I’d have a fruit farm, sell fruit, distribute fruit and supply fruit. Oh no, sounds like it is still running business too! (LOL)
Phoebe: If I weren’t running a business, I will be working for others to gain more experience and knowledge and wait for the opportunity to start my entrepreneurship journey.
Joey : I think I will continue to be a programmer for my entire life. Sounds really boring, I know! (LOL).
CRADLE’S CONNEXUS CREATES BRIDGE FOR ENTREPRENEURS TO SYNERGISE NETWORKS
KUALA LUMPUR, 3 MARCH, 2014 – Early-stage technology start-up financier and influencer, Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd launched an exclusive online community to facilitate better networking and collaboration among its entrepreneurs and partners.
Launched at Cradle’s annual Chinese New Year networking gathering, Cradle’s online community, ConnexUs, will break any barriers of communication betweenentrepreneurs and investors and allow them to synergise and collaborate on future projects.
“Malaysian entrepreneurs are generally friendly towards each other and are keen to collaborate with a partner so that they can both add value to their ideas. But there are invisible obstacles that hinder them from doing so and we hope that ConnexUs can help make it less challenging,” said Nazrin Hassan, Cradle Chief Executive Officer.
Nazrin said ConnexUs is an amalgamation of the words ‘Connect’ and ‘Nexus’ and is a play on the phrase ‘Connect Us’.
“When we were searchingfor a brand name, we wanted something that represented a connection or a bridge between the entrepreneur and investor communities as well our other partners that would enable them to synergise,” he said.
ConnexUsbrings together Cradle entrepreneurs, investors, partners as well as business mentors on a single online platform;offeringthem the opportunity to share their ideas and collaborate in a secure and user-friendlyenvironment.
ConnexUs allows its members to view to each other’s profiles, which lists the nature of their business and the traction they have gained thus far. If an entrepreneur is looking to collaborate with another, they can drop each other messages to show their intent.
Investors will also be able to follow prospect companies and will receive information on a particular company’s growth and progress to keep tabs on its development.
“By having all these information available, both entrepreneurs and investors will have a better idea on how to further develop their business relationship,” Nazrin said.
Cradle entrepreneurs as well as other partners and investors have lauded the introduction of ConnexUssaying that it is a good tool to keep entrepreneurs and investors connected.
YusnoYunos, founder of event planning platform, Evenesis said ConnexUscomplements the many ground networking events that entrepreneurs attend to link up with other potential partners.
“Networking is an important step to grow our businesses and a platform like this will definitely enhance the efforts of building a vibrant Malaysian entrepreneur ecosystem,” he said.
Hideki Fujita, co-founder of CoEnt Venture Partners Pte Ltd, a co-investment partner of Cradle said that ConnexUscan speed up a company’s path to success by making it easier for them to reach out to each other.
“Networking is important to a business but it is challenging to find the right people to collaborate with. Such a platform can certainly help with network building and connect entrepreneurs with the right partners,” he said.
ConnexUs runs on Ukuya™ e-Community Platform, a managed online community system enabling higher levels of engagement, communications and connectivity for community members by providing interaction-based online and media applications and benefits. The Ukuya™ e-Community Platform is provided by Ukuya Sdn Bhd.
Calling all Cradle Recipients past and present!
Did you know that you are eligible to apply for the Coach & Grow Programme (CGP) which is also administered by Cradle?
The programme is available for Seed, Startup and Growth/Global Stage companies. If you are successful in obtaining the CGP, you get RM25,000 worth of coaching and training services which will be utilised over a period of 12 months.
In November 2014, 126 companies graduated from CGP 2013-2014 signalling the completion of Season 2 of the Coach and Grow Programme. Since 2011, when the programme was first launched, a total of 861 entrepreneurs from 272 companies have completed the programme.
The CGP is an acceleration programme for High Potential Tech Companies that have completed their prototypes and are making plans to Go2Market or companies that have already commercialised their products/technology but want to Scale and GoGlobal faster and more efficiently.
CGP Alumni walk the talk and numbers don’t lie.
In 2014, more than half the Growth Stage companies increased their revenues by 20% or more. More impressive is the fact that more than 1/3 of them increased their revenues by more than 100%.
That’s not all, during the 12 month period, CGP participants in the GoGlobal Programme, cumulatively penetrated 27foreign markets. For a third of them, it was their first foray into a foreign market. The remaining two-thirds successfully penetrated additional markets.
So what do you get as a recipient of the Coach & Grow Programme?
1) Training on Business Fundamentals with emphasis on show-how and implementation.
2) 1-2-1 Coaching sessions from experienced entrepreneurs / investors
3) The services of 2 dedicated coaches for 12 months
4) Coaching sessions that focus on EACH company’s individual needs
5) Value added sessions from Industry Professionals
6) Peer-to-peer sharing sessions and networking
Want to know more? Sign up at http://goo.gl/forms/ckQc8Lf5pG for our briefing session on the 28 April 2016 and hear from past Cradle Recipients who have participated in the CGP and achieved phenomenal results. You can also apply directly for Intake 1 at www.cgp.com.my. Application deadline is 30 April 2016.