When the decision was made on August 2003 to venture out, the first thing that struck my mind was: Find one or more business partners. I did not have the courage or know-hows to venture out alone then. So I turned on my radar and actively scanned my perimeter for potential business partners.

I found a university course mate KY who was working as a technical support engineer in an US MNC. So I began to talk to him about how bleak was his career path, and tried to psycho convince him that venturing out was the way to go. And after some lengthy persuasion he finally decided to join me.

Then, we carried out several meetings outside our normal working hours to discuss about what to do. Since we did not really have any great business ideas, I suggested that we shall take up projects part-time while still holding on to our full-time jobs. Any revenues that we earned shall be placed into a joint account. By the time this account accumulated enough capital, we most probably would also have a considerable customer base and maybe we could venture out full-time.

At the first thought, this idea seems brilliant and relatively risk-free. I had vast technical knowledge and experiences in software development while KY had the industrial contacts.

We were very enthusiastic in the beginning. We discussed about our would-be company name, and decided to call it “Evox” which was a short-form for Evolution. KY started to talk to his industrial clients regarding any possible projects that they would like to outsource.

And one of KY’s clients, who was a lecturer of an university in Malaysia, told him that he was looking for a solution that could send SMS to his lab assistants whenever the sensors reading were abnormal. So I started drafting out a proposal to him: We proposed to connect the sensors to a telemetry card slotted into a computer, and to develop a software that monitor the telemetry card’s reading. Once the readings were abnormal, the software shall send a SMS via a GSM modem to the lab assistant’s mobile phone. Along with our proposal, we quoted them a price of less than S$4000. I started to source for GSM modems and even created a prototype of the software. However, the lecturer eventually replied us that he didn’t have the budget for the project and so the project did not get started.

After a while, KY seemed discouraged and lost the initial enthusiasm. Eventually, by the end of the year, KY was posted overseas by his company and our short partnership ended abruptly.

I figured that, this initial short voyage failed mainly because we did not have a clear direction and were rather half-hearted in the business. As we were both engineers, most of the time we were so tied up with our full-time jobs that we did not really have spare time to think about our business. And KY was actually rather risk averse and preferred to be in his comfort zone. But I wasn’t prepared to give up just like that and went on to plan for my second attempt at entrepreneurship.

 

First attempt at entrepreneurship

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