CEO INTERVIEW - RushOwl : Mobility Reimagined
New Success Stories - RushOwl
SHIN NG CEO
Please share with us briefly what you do.
I serve as the CEO of RushOwl Singapore and it’s a platform that is on a mission to become the world’s first digital transportation infrastructure for millions of employees to commute directly between home and work in a direct, flexible, and safe ride.
What were you doing before this?
RushOwl is my second venture. Prior to RushOwl, I kickstarted a 3D printed toy venture that brought thousands of fidget spinners to the hands of most kids in Southeast Asia. It was fun while the trend lasted.
Describe your product. How does it work?
RushOwl is a one-click commute solution for employees, no matter how far they stay or work at, to gain access to their workplace directly through on-demand employee transportation. On the flip side, we provide HR or Operations managers with an all-in-one dashboard that can track employees’ attendance, coordinate transportation, and track daily commute spending and schedules.
What are the key benefits?
We help companies improve employee satisfaction and retain employees who tend to quit due to locational factors. For companies who need to ensure daily work supply, RushOwl also helps them with identifying at least 2 hours in advance whether a sufficient employee workforce is actually heading to work every day. This immensely helps companies to maintain a great level of daily output from their workforce.
Who are your closest competitors?
Our closest competitor would be something like Via, which is more prominent in US/European cities.
Who is your first customer and how did that happen? What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
Our first customer was an aerospace company who had problems coordinating transportation for army personnel. Once they heard about our solution and what we can provide, they signed up immediately as every training session costs a lot of money, and issues like people getting there late or going missing in action were something that they couldn’t afford to have.
What motivated you to start this business?
After I graduated, I actually took a private bus driving gig (and yes, I’m a licensed bus driver in Singapore) and I came to realize that the bus industry in Singapore has actually not evolved for the past 20 years. On the other side, employees, who make up at least 80% of the daily commute, are constantly adopting digital solutions to enhance their ride experience. With that in mind, RushOwl was created to improve the quality and connectivity of work passengers’ commute so that they can get to work in a timely, informed, and direct fashion.
What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
A lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Literally!
How did you get funded?
We started with a small seed from an angel investor, coupled with some bootstrap funds from our cofounding team.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Word of mouth. We have people who really rope in their friends and colleagues to join us in our daily rides.
Describe a typical workday
Business Development and Scoping new projects.
Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
Peter Theil – “Competition is for losers.” I watched a lecture stemming out of this ideology and I believe this helped RushOwl really create products that change the entire game, instead of improving the status quo.
What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?
RushOwl is also in the space of smart transportation – where we got the opportunity to work with a public health initiative to deploy COVID-19 transporters within Singapore to help blue collars who reside in dormitories to gain access to swab test sites and hospitals. Our team was very happy that we can help tens of thousands of employees per month just using our technology. Today, we are also assisting governments in Southeast Asia deploy similar solutions for rescue efforts.
What is your favourite business failure (and what did you learn from it)?
I had an early cofounder who kickstarted this venture with me, and it all stemmed from an initial, amateur fear that I could not possibly start a venture myself. As a result, I did not properly evaluate whether I could work with this person and “blindly” went on to create RushOwl with him.
This cofounder eventually did not fulfill his duties and we had to part ways through legal enforcement.
This episode made me learn:
i) that we always need to evaluate a potential partner based on capabilities and credentials.
ii) that we should always build a team that complements each other’s weaknesses, not just for the sake of being there.
If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?
It is important to break rules and make mistakes early.
What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?
I live off my google calendar. I call it my personal secretary.
More about Shin :
First job - I sold ice creams from door-to-door when I was 10. I literally bought them from a wholesaler, put them into a dry icebox, and dragged it from door-to-door. Guess that kick-started my journey to learn how to sell.
Someone you admire - Elon Musk
When you are not at work, where can we most likely find you? Scouring Singapore for good food.
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