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Getting to know the Founder of Boxyroom and the New Property Investment Business Model – Part 1

The Start-Up Entrepreneur Series in collaboration with and This Week In Asia, aims to inspire a new breed of Generation-Y entrepreneurs, showcasing success stories of entrepreneurs in the region who have succeeded despite their young age. We take a look at, Boxyroom, a startup based in Singapore who is ‘Matchmaking Tenants with Overseas Property Rentals.’ Tell us more about yourself – Who are you, what do you do, what are your qualifications (If any) and what have made you into the successful entrepreneur that you are today?

My name is Ang Pheng Huat, the co-founder of Boxyroom. I obtained my Honours degree in Computing (E-commerce) from National University of Singapore in 2005. After that I worked in the aviation industry for 7 years as a product manager handling various high-profile innovative in-flight products.

Being a practical person, always observing and analyzing what happens around us, I love to come up with ideas to solve small problems which frustrate us in our daily lives. I wouldn’t call myself a successful entrepreneur. I’m just a guy who’s willing to put my ideas to test, instead of daydreaming about them.

Why did you get started on this path towards building your own business?

It all started as a hobby to keep my occupied when I’m out of office in my day job. Along the way I realized that having my own business is what I want to do in life. I want to have the freedom of making decisions in building products and processes in my own company.

Having my own business also means that I can listen to my customers and partners on how to improve my products and processes, and immediately get to work to make changes. I firmly believe that the best products come out from numerous rounds of trial and error experimentation over a period of time, rather than sitting around writing plans and proposals for layers of management approvals, just to imagine how the best product would look like.

By the time the top management gives the approval to start working, someone else already have version 5.0 of the same thing. I’m not saying we shouldn’t plan. We shouldn’t overplan and see the opportunity slip away. So, as a business owner, I can take risks, keep trying and testing until the perfect product takes shape.

Was there any inspiration or anyone who inspired you to pursue your dream to become an entrepreneur today?

Richard Branson is my idol in the business world. I read his autobiography many years ago and just simply love the way he does things so differently from other people. Being different from the rest doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

If he’s wrong, he would be such a successfully businessman. So he has taught me to go out and do whatever I believe in, even if everyone else thinks I’m a weirdo. By taking action, my chance of success increases infinitely as opposed to doing nothing.

In your experience, what are the 3 Winning Traits that Entrepreneurs should possess when they start their business?

  • Willingness to go against the trends. To quote British businessman James Caan’s, “Observe the masses and do the opposite”
  • Really enjoy what you do
  • Ability to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself what you’re bad at, so that you can improve on those inferior attributes. The same also applies to the business itself.

To be Continued to Part 2 on the 10th of January 2013

### Special thanks to This Week in Asia as our supporting partner in bringing to us, the Start-Up Entrepreneur Interview Series ###

About The Start-Up Entrepreneur:

The Entrepreneur’ is a firm believer of keeping things simple and lives by the mantra that “life is simple until we complicate it”. Our lives have become so complicated that with time, we have gotten used to it. If we can eliminate unnecessary complexity and stress of our daily lives, the world will be a happier and healthier place to live in. He also believes in doing one thing exceptionally well, rather than doing many things reasonable well.

About The Start-Up:

Boxyroom is the matchmaker for overseas property rentals. It is a rental property marketplace where tenants and landlords communicate and transacts with one another, peer-to-peer. We help landlords and tenants to kick-start the rental process, just like a dating agency. Once the match is made, that is a landlord has accepted a suitable tenant who subsequently pays a one-month deposit, the parties are free to develop the ‘relationship’ further. The key feature of Boxyroom is that tenants can reserve their rental property safely by paying a deposit through Boxyroom, and not directly to the landlord. This mitigates risk of fake landlord running away with the deposit.