You can easily tell that Melvin is a businessman material. He enjoys building a company from scratch to bring good to others and knows how to market his business – how many startups have setup a Wikipedia page? Flying Chalks did. He has great perseverance and skills to survive roller coaster rides which a startup could possibly encounter, including the times when all his founding team members left the company just few months after it was incubated. I asked him what is the tip to be a great entrepreneur? Constant learning.
Melvin Lee, 25
Founder, Flying Chalks
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| Skills and Passion
|| Life Quote
Melvin was made for an entrepreneur journey. During his teenage time he started making money by buying and selling game items for Runescape players, and also helped his relatives to resell second hand items (no Carousell yet!). He then entered business school at Singapore Management University (SMU) and continued to pursue his passion.
Journey to Entrepreneurship
Flying Chalks exists today to solve a problem that Melvin experienced earlier when he went Korea for student exchange program. He struggled to find guidance and arrange for logistics, the whole trip could be better if there were buddies sharing information together or connected to local people before arriving. There should be a TripAdvisor equivalent platform for student exchange trips.
After coming back from exchange program he suggested his course mates to use this idea for their next project (for a subject that they studied together). Things moved rather quickly, he soon got the business plan done and the first prototype. Three friends (from business and IT) joined him to materialize the business plan and soon Flying Chalks was incorporated and the team moved in to SMU incubator successfully.
However the startup didn’t progress smoothly. Few months later when two of the founding team went overseas for exchange themselves, on the very same day,for various reasons, the rest of his teammates decided to quit Flying Chalks too. At that time it looked impossible to continue further by himself and he was on the verge of giving up too. Coincidentally a fellow young but rather experienced entrepreneur who was in the same SMU incubator encouraged him “What makes you think that you cannot do it alone? Are you giving excuses?”
How is Melvin Doing Now?
Melvin pressed on and started searching for new co-founders and IT team to develop the platform (he came from business school). He met his current co-founder, and had Flying Chalks developed by an India company, officially launched it in January 2016. By March 2016 there were already >1000 users using Flying Chalks actively, funding started to come in to support the fast growing company. There are >6000 students using the platform now till date (March 2017).
Some Lessons Learnt
- Sometimes we might not see results now, but they might come in future
- Be resourceful, have the ability to find ways to resolve a problem
- One stop platform where students can seamlessly PLAN their overseas studies, benefit from SHARED experiences and CONNECT with others with ease!
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