Digerati50: The team player
By Anushia Kandasivam October 13, 2018
- A good core team and startup culture are vital for success
- Believe in yourself and be mindful that you are changing lives
Digital News Asia (DNA) continues its series that profiles the 50 influencers who are helping shape Malaysia’s Digital Economy, from Digerati50 2018-2019 (Vol 3), a special print publication released in March 2018. The digital version can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of the page thanks to the sponsorship of The Center of Applied Data Science (CADS) ASEAN's first and only one-stop platform and center of excellence for Data Science. For information on customised reprints, write to: [email protected]
CLARENCE Leong is no stranger to disruption. When first launched in 2014, his startup EasyParcel disrupted the logistics industry in Malaysia by providing the country’s first single-point logistics service, allowing online retailers to explore all shipping and delivery options available, compare prices, and track their deliveries from the EasyParcel website.
Four years on from that great start, the EasyParcel co-founder and chief executive officer is still enthusiastic about entrepreneurship. “I think when you make the choice to become an entrepreneur you really need to go all out. Hesitation is a distraction. You have nothing to lose if you fail.”
Clarence will tell anyone that background and skills have nothing to do with how well a person does in their chosen industry or in their entrepreneurial journey. He himself has a material science master’s degree in aerospace engineering, nothing to do with the logistics and e-commerce spaces he moves in now.
Clarence’s entrepreneurship journey started in 2010. EasyParcel is his second venture; he previously founded EziVoucher, a platform from which companies can offer or sell vouchers and coupons. He has had the same core team from the very beginning.
In fact, his passion and deep belief in his startup and his team are palpable. For him, the most important factor for a business’ success is its team.
“The business model in a starutp may be important but the people who run and execute it are still the key factor for success,” he believes.
Keeping a core team together for eight years is no easy feat. Clarence has achieved it by always giving the best part of the business to the team, which he says is a generous remuneration package and benefits, and a great working environment.
“These things keep the team together and keep things fun. We understand that the entrepreneurial journey is always a rollercoaster ride. You always need to enjoy yourselves and make the most of the journey. We all carry this same mindset because this may be something that may only happen once in a lifetime,” he says.
Beyond the core team, since 2017 Clarence has expanded headcount to more than 100 people across the four countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand) that EasyParcel is in to accommodate growth and further expand its presence in these markets.
The high level of growth in one year is a result of the launch of PGEON in early 2017, a service that facilitates last mile delivery to all users of postal services, providing postal users the option of collecting their parcels at convenience stores.
Even with a staff of more than 100, Clarence still considers EasyParcel a startup. “In terms of mentality, culture and attitude, we are still a startup. Even if you ask me in 10 years I would say the same.”
Clarence believes that a business should retain the startup mentality so as to always be agile enough to switch things up to meet customer needs and to become better than it is.
He also says that to become better and meet growth plans, it is vital that the team always believes in themselves and the business. “This is not just the core team but everyone. It’s not just from the top down but from the bottom up and from every angle. This is what will make us different and move us to where we want to be.”
“When I started with this idea I didn’t really have anything to justfy why people should believe in it or me. But now we are all pushing it together and helping so many other startups, SMEs and individuals,” he continues.
For now, Clarence’s greatest motivation is seeing the growth of his team both literally and figuratively. He speaks about witnessing personal growth with the same excitement he exhibits about his businesses growth, and it is clear he values the former as much or possibly more than the latter.
“We are actually part of the journey of each other’s lives. I think that realisation has actually pushed me even further. I never expected I would be part of someone’s life and bring about changes for them. It’s not just about building your own dream.”