[Update (25 May 2021): An investigation by Singapore-based online tech media publication Tech in Asia found inconsistencies in several of Harsh Dalal’s claims, including his US$9.8 million Series A round raised from venture capital firm Grand Canyon Capital.]
Many young people long to reject the corporate path and hope to pursue ventures that they can get more satisfaction out of.
Some have channeled their entrepreneurial streak into home-based businesses, while others have started their own startups.
Moreover, Singaporeans today are better equipped to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
From home-based businesses to non-profit organisations, here are five teenagers who have embarked on their own entrepreneurial ventures.
1. Harsh Dalal, Team Labs
Harsh Dalal was only 11 when he started his first business.
Now, the 19-year-old is the co-founder and CEO of Team Labs, a startup that aims to solve collaboration issues within organisations.
The startup was founded in 2012 by five students and by 2014, it managed to hit a million users.
The Singapore Polytechnic Business Administration student also managed to scale the startup from a five-men team to over 120 staff today.
Most recently, the startup announced US$8 million in investments. It has also expanded out of Singapore to many cities around the world including San Francisco, London, Berlin and Seoul.
2. Pearline Pang, WomenINVEST
WomenINVEST is a platform and community that aims to connect females and allow them to share resources with one another on their investing journeys.
It is founded by 19-year-old Pearline Pang, who is currently in her first year at the National University of Singapore.
Pearline and her co-founder discovered that women invest much less than men. They cited NBC News, which reported that women invest 40 per cent less than men.
Some of the people we know also choose to completely let their partners invest their money for them instead.
Our core belief is that investing is not an option, but a necessity for us to grow our money, beat inflation and gain financial independence. Therefore, we want to close the gender investing gap to empower more women with financial independence.Pearline Pang, Co-founder of WomenINVEST
Within four months of WomenINVEST’s founding, the non-profit organisation managed to acquire over a hundred members across a range of nine timezones.
The organisation also routinely holds community bonding events and initiatives. An example includes engaging qualified and inspirational speakers to share investing tips with the organisation’s members.
Pearline has also managed to successfully gather a “dedicated and passionate” team of nine who were able to “make an impact in [women’s investing]”.
3. Ethan Wei, Walkers On Wheels
Non-governmental organisation Walkers On Wheels is co-founded by 19-year-old Ethan Wei.
Walkers On Wheels is committed to helping underprivileged children and families in ASEAN countries who spend hours commuting, or are unable to work and attend school due to the inaccessibility of transport.
The organisation understands that micro-mobility is one solution to further their “mobility and distance in life”, and thus provides villages with micro-mobility options.
Walkers On Wheels receives or purchases e-scooters (and soon bicycles) at low prices, and refurbishes the devices before transporting them to distribution nodes. These distribution sites include a village’s headquarters, a local NGO’s compound, and schools in the village.
Each family is then given the right to use one scooter to commute.
Ethan told Vulcan Post that the idea for Walkers On Wheels came about during a vacation trip to Bali, where he discovered that Northern Bali, Tabanan faced these problems of mobility.
According to Ethan, the people of Tabanan have to travel 16 to 20 kilometres a day for work and school, and miss out on opportunities like education and healthcare due to this.
Coincidentally, it was also the period of time when E-scooters were heavily regulated in Singapore. Many companies were preparing for the 11.11 sale and faced a stuck inventory and planned to scrape them as scrap metal.
Thus, Ethan and his co-founders reached out to these companies and offered to purchase their scooters at a low price to donate to each family in Tabanan.
By repurposing new or even second-hand PMDs, the team realised that their impact could enable families to receive more consistent and reliable medical aid, go further for better job opportunities, and enhance children’s access to education.
In the long run, they plan to expand operations to other other parts of Indonesia and neighbouring countries such as the Philippines and Cambodia.
4. Remus Er, HypeMaster
Remus Er is still in secondary school, but the 16-year-old has recently made waves online for raking in S$30,000 a month reselling sneakers.
The Geylang Methodist Secondary School student sources for limited edition sneakers such as Nike Air Jordans and Adidas Yeezys, and resells them for as much as a 300 per cent profit margin.
He sells these products on his webstore — Hypemaster — and even has three employees working for him.
The sneakerhead was intrigued by a Sega arcade game called Key Master which awards limited edition shoes to those who can fit a key into a lock using a mechanical arm.
He subsequently asked his father to register a company on his behalf, and went on to buy two such machines, which are placed in two shops along Orchard Road.
5. Ang Jia Xin, Bobba Sliime
The slime trend began sometime in 2018, and new innovations in the industry just keep popping up.
Some slime creators make slimes that look like clouds, snow, or even buttercream; and they make them in various colours and textures.
17-year-old Ang Jia Xin is one of the slime creators who hopped on the bandwagon. Her store Bobba Sliime has over 31,000 followers, and she releases new slime collections every week or so.
On average, she creates around 200 to 300 tubs of slime a week, with each tub going for around S$4 to S$7.
According to an interview with AsiaOne, Jia Xin rakes in a profit of around S$3,000 a month, and her earnings have even hit S$7,000 at one point.
It’s Never Too Early To Start
Despite their youth, these five teenpreneurs stepped out of their comfort zone to embark on various business ventures.
These young entrepreneurs show us that it’s never too early, or you’re never too young to pursue your dreams.
Featured Image Credit: WomenINVEST, YP.sg, Money 89.3, Walkers On Wheels, Enterpriser Suite