Zen Chin is a Singaporean whose path to entrepreneurship was one of struggle and far from convention. Attending Monash University as a “mature student”, he met Astion Chia and they started an IT business that primarily deals with logistics and transportation. As they gained a loyal customer base and their demands for specialised ways to track moving objects, the duo decided to start Overdrive in 2015.
Overdrive’s focus is to be a platform where their customers can connect any type of sensors or device and be involved with the Internet of Things (IoT). It is clear that the startup was determined to have a footing in the entrepreneurship ecosystem being the best for their customers.
“SG has got a very vibrant startup ecosystem. However, Overdrive or the people behind Overdrive are very practical. Rather than just focusing on a lot of startup activities, we were actually operating much like a small company; chasing after customers and a user base, more than attending startup events,” Zen explains humbly about the beginnings of his business.
While he attributes the beginnings and growth of the company to the vibrant startup ecosystem of Singapore, he firmly believes that entrepreneurs everywhere should have the similar attitudes to thrive in the ecosystem.
“The willingness to try, the willingness to fail, the willingness to think out of the box and change. Don’t be afraid to disrupt the industry or market,” he states firmly. Zen adds that being in a much comfortable position in comparison to other countries had made man entrepreneurs face challenges in taking risks. Other than that, generational attitudes of keeping to a safe career path from elders also obstruct entrepreneurs to chase their dreams.
Being in the industry for close to 10 years, Zen is positive that the spirit of entrepreneurship is here to stay even when the general population needs to embrace entrepreneurs and their decisions to take risks. It is inspiring to hear success stories but Zen finds bigger value in listening to people who have experienced failure and learn from them about perseverance, risk taking and the spirit of entrepreneurship.