The Unexpected Routes of Favoriot’s IoT Journey

Setting Sail with Big Dreams
Embarking on the Favoriot IoT platform journey, we had stars in our eyes. We visualized vast markets and grander customer bases, but reality often writes its own script.

A Surprising Source of Revenue
The initial days brought surprising lessons. Revenue streams and traction sources we hadn’t even considered became the lifeline that sustained us during challenging times.

The Magnetism of the Favoriot Brand
Our prowess in the IoT domain resonated far and wide. Suddenly, we found ourselves inundated with requests from curious minds and esteemed organizations, all seeking expertise in IoT.

Training: The Unforeseen Success
To address the mounting interest, we introduced our distinctive IoT training. The crux? The Favoriot IoT platform. Unlike others, our sessions sidestepped the intricacies of hardware creation, focusing instead on harnessing the IoT platform. With existing IoT kits, participants could swiftly construct IoT solutions and visualize their work on the Favoriot dashboard.

A Curriculum that Resonated
The response was overwhelming. Our training modules soon bifurcated into two core categories – Fundamental and Advanced. Both came with the promise of Professional Certificates post a rigorous examination.

Crafting the Next Generation of IoT Enthusiasts
But our ambitions weren’t just limited to short-term training. We envisioned the Favoriot platform as an educational cornerstone for university lecturers and students. The dream was for Favoriot to become the go-to for academic IoT projects, enabling students to experience real-world IoT solution crafting within their lab confines and through their project tasks.

Beyond the Classroom: Real-world Deployment
The educational phase was just the beginning. As our name spread and more adopted our platform’s capabilities, we ventured into the vast realm of real-world deployments. We began assisting IoT device manufacturers in expediting their hardware processes and even collaborated with metropolises, integrating Favoriot as the backbone of their Smart City IoT frameworks.

In reflection, the Favoriot journey stands as a testament to the unpredictable avenues of the tech world. While we started with a definite blueprint, the unfolding reality steered us down paths we hadn’t imagined, teaching us the invaluable lesson of adaptability.

From Multiplicity to Singularity: Favoriot’s Pivot Towards Precision

In the dawn of our startup journey, with excitement and fervor, we ventured into creating four distinct products. Like many startups, we believed that diversification would be our best strategy. We couldn’t have been more mistaken.

The Struggles of Juggling Multiple Products

Dilution of resources was our first hurdle. When you spread yourself thin, neither product gets the undivided attention it deserves. Our team, no matter how agile and enthusiastic, was struggling to meet the demands of maintaining and enhancing four different products.

Marketing became our next mammoth challenge. Crafting a clear and compelling message for each product was no small feat. We grappled with understanding the right customer persona and, in our endeavor to cater to everyone, ended up confusing many. Potential customers were left wondering: “What does Favoriot actually specialize in?”

Pricing was another quagmire. Four products meant four pricing strategies, each with its unique challenges and competitive pressures. A lot of energy was expended in approaching different customers, managing varied social media channels, and crafting content tailored for each product. Exhaustion set in, and with it, a realization: we were on a hamster wheel, running hard but not making the desired progress.

The Turnaround: Honing our Focus

Faced with lackluster traction and an exhausted team, we reached a pivotal crossroads. The decision was between diversifying into vertical markets or zeroing in on our core technology. Our previous attempt to cover four vertical markets hadn’t worked, so we took the brave leap towards precision.

We decided to pour all our energy into the Favoriot Platform, our IoT platform. This was the game-changer. By focusing our efforts and resources into one direction, not only did we ensure that our product was of top-notch quality, but we also simplified our marketing message.

The Rise of Favoriot Platform

As we honed in on the Favoriot Platform, the market began to sit up and take notice. Customers now had clarity on what Favoriot was all about, and our expertise in the IoT space started shining through. Our efforts were no longer spread thin, and our product, being the sole focus, received the attention and refinement it deserved.

Today, as we stand recognized as a formidable enabler for IoT in Malaysia and the region, we realize the importance of focus in a startup’s journey. By channeling our efforts towards the Favoriot Platform, we not only found our niche but also set ourselves on the path to becoming market leaders.

In the world of startups, sometimes, less truly is more. And our journey from multiplicity to singularity is a testament to that.

Navigating R&D in Government Agencies: Lessons for the Startup World

Before diving into the fast-paced, adaptable world of startups, I spent a significant chunk of my career in a large government R&D agency. While it was a period of immense learning, it also came with its share of challenges and lessons that I’ve since carried into my entrepreneurial journey. Here’s a glimpse of my experience and how it shaped my current perspectives.

1. The Bureaucratic Maze of R&D

Government R&D is a different beast altogether. Every process felt akin to working in a factory, bound by red tape and stringent processes. The emphasis on documentation, while ensuring accountability, often stifled creativity. Each step, no matter how minute, required proper sign-offs, often slowing down the pace of innovation.

2. Frequent Monitoring, But Little Understanding

While progress reports and technical presentations were a regular part of the job, they often felt more like interrogation sessions than collaborative discussions. The barrage of questions, many of which indicated a lack of understanding of the core research, made it clear that there was a disconnect between the R&D team and the management.

3. Short-Term Vision in a Long-Term Domain

R&D, by its nature, is a long-term commitment. However, the management’s impatience for short-term results meant that we often pivoted from true research to more developmental, immediate tasks. This shift in focus had its own set of repercussions.

4. The Patents vs. Products Paradox

While our team managed to churn out numerous patents, they rarely saw the light of day in final products. Other groups, which were engrossed in product development for commercialization, often overlooked the innovations our team brought to the table.

5. The Siloed Approach

One of the most stifling restrictions was our inability to interact directly with customers. This created a void in understanding real-world needs and led to internal assumptions that rarely mirrored external realities. Products developed in such isolation, devoid of genuine customer feedback, often missed the mark when finally released.

6. The Costly Aftermath

When a product fails to resonate with its intended audience, changes are inevitable. But, given the rigidity of our processes, any modifications came at a high financial and temporal cost. Several products, despite the effort invested, never quite made their mark in the market.

From Past Lessons to Future Innovations

All these experiences, while challenging, became the foundation upon which I built my startup approach. I now understand the invaluable role of flexibility in R&D. Embracing concepts like the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and the Lean Method has allowed me to stay agile, make quick pivots when needed, and most importantly, maintain a laser-sharp focus on the customer.

In conclusion, while my time in the government R&D agency was filled with hurdles, it also offered indispensable lessons. Today, as I navigate the startup ecosystem, those lessons act as my North Star, guiding me towards more efficient, customer-centric innovations.

My Startup Journey: Navigating the Entrepreneurial Odyssey

In the heart of every entrepreneur lies a tale worth telling. A journey marked by hope and hurdles, by breakthroughs and breakdowns. This book is the chronicle of my odyssey in the challenging world of startups—a narrative of dreams dreamed, battles fought, lessons learned, and horizons expanded.

Entrepreneurship is often portrayed in shimmering hues—a kaleidoscope of innovation, wealth, and independence. Yet, as many who’ve embarked on this journey know, it is as much about the storms as it is about the rainbows. It is about the late nights questioning every choice, the tireless revisions of a business model, the relentless pursuit of the right team, and the ceaseless hunger for that breakthrough moment.

Presented to you in a tapestry of short stories, this book pulls back the curtain on the myriad stages of building a startup, from the electrifying eureka moments of ideation, through the intricate dance of product development, to the exhilarating (and often humbling) experience of commercialization.

My aim is not just to recount, but to illuminate. For every aspiring entrepreneur, seasoned business veteran, or anyone intrigued by the thrills and spills of the startup universe, I hope this narrative provides insights, sparks curiosity, and perhaps, kindles the flame of your own entrepreneurial spirit.

Let us embark on this journey together, and dive deep into the whirlwind of entrepreneurship—a journey that’s as much about the destination as it is about the myriad experiences along the way. Welcome to my world.

Here’s the collection of the short stories – My Startup Journey

Leveraging the Strengths of Giants: A Survival Blueprint for Startups

In the world of business, there’s a saying: “If you can’t beat them, join them.” But what if the narrative changed to, “Let’s grow together?” In the vast sea of corporate giants and well-established brands, many startups often feel like small fish trying to survive against the tides. However, what if startups could ride the wave by leveraging the strengths of these larger entities?

The Case for Collaboration

For emerging startups, particularly in countries like Malaysia, collaboration with Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) could be the golden ticket. These GLCs, with their vast resources, industry experience, and established brand presence, are in a unique position to serve as pillars of support for startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Here’s how this symbiotic relationship could flourish:

1. Shared Participation in Projects and Tenders:

When bidding for projects, GLCs can include startups within their ecosystem. This not only gives the startup a foot in the door but also provides the GLC with fresh and innovative solutions that they might not have in-house.

2. Risk Sharing and Trust Building:

By taking a chance on startups with local products and solutions, GLCs are creating a sense of trust and validation. It’s a risk, yes, but one that could lead to groundbreaking innovations and local solutions that rival international competitors.

3. Building a Local Brand Powerhouse:

Once startups prove their mettle by delivering quality solutions, they earn a badge of credibility. With this credibility, they can expand their horizons, bid for larger projects, and even venture internationally.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

The beauty of this alliance is that it’s not a one-way street. Startups offer agility, niche solutions, and out-of-the-box thinking that can greatly benefit GLCs. Their nimbleness allows them to pivot quickly, adapt to changing market scenarios, and deliver tailored solutions. Meanwhile, GLCs offer the startups the backing they need in terms of resources, industry insights, and most importantly, credibility.

As aptly put, startups need not fear being trampled by giants. Instead, they should aim to stand on their shoulders, gain a broader perspective, and reach for the stars.

Favoriot: A Testament to Growth and Collaboration

Take, for instance, Favoriot. With over six years in the industry, Favoriot isn’t a fledgling startup anymore. It’s a brand ready to soar. Their strengths, coupled with the kind of support GLCs can provide, can be a potent combination. By partnering with bigger entities, startups like Favoriot can further solidify their position in the market, create more job opportunities, and contribute robustly to the future of business and technology in the region.

In Conclusion

The future of startups lies in collaboration. By leveraging the strengths of larger entities, startups can scale faster, innovate better, and contribute more significantly to their ecosystems. In this journey of growth and collaboration, both startups and giants can co-create a brighter, more inclusive future for the business world.

Building My Personal Brand: The Stepping Stone to Favoriot’s Success

Every brand has a story, but my journey is slightly unconventional. My personal brand’s inception wasn’t with the intent to sell or pitch, but to share and enlighten. This chronicle started way back in 2014, long before Favoriot was even a twinkle in my eye.

Laying the Foundation: The IoT Advocate

In 2014, the Internet of Things (IoT) was a term only the tech-savvy were familiar with. Driven by a deep-seated passion for technology and its potential, I ventured into the world of social media to voice my insights. Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn became my playground where I shared my musings on IoT and its implications for smart cities.

This dedication did not go unnoticed. Invitations started pouring in, asking me to lend my voice to discussions, seminars, and workshops centered around IoT and smart city solutions. I was relishing my role as an IoT thought leader.

Transitioning to Favoriot: The Underdog Story

Then came Favoriot – a startup, our brainchild. In its nascent stages, while my personal brand thrived, Favoriot was still finding its footing. However, I had an ace up my sleeve – the trust and recognition I had garnered over the years.

With each speaking engagement and social media post, I started weaving in Favoriot’s mission and vision. I introduced my audience to the solutions and innovations Favoriot was bringing to the IoT landscape.

The Ripple Effect: Personal Brand to Business Boom

The beauty of personal branding is the ripple effect it can create. The trust, recognition, and respect I had cultivated with my personal brand began reflecting onto Favoriot. Slowly but surely, as my narrative shifted, the perception of Favoriot started changing. From an underdog startup, it began its transformation into an IoT powerhouse in Malaysia.

Today, when someone in Malaysia hears “IoT”, Favoriot isn’t far behind in the conversation. That business card with “Favoriot” emblazoned on it? It’s not just a company name; it’s a testament to the symbiotic relationship between personal and business branding.

In Retrospect: Branding is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Building a brand, be it personal or business, isn’t an overnight endeavor. It’s a marathon of persistence, adaptability, and genuine passion. I look back at my journey with immense gratitude. The initial years of dedication to my personal brand laid a robust foundation for Favoriot’s success.

For every budding entrepreneur, remember: Your personal brand can be the strongest advocate for your business. Nurture it, leverage it, and watch the magic unfold.

From Research Lab Critiques to Startup Pitches: My Slide Story

Starting my own business was a dream I’d always nurtured. But never did I think that my time at a government R&D agency would play such a pivotal role in my startup journey, and all because of…presentation slides!

Slide Struggles: The R&D Chronicles

Imagine this: I’m in a room filled with experienced scientists and officials, excitedly presenting the results of weeks of research. Yet, before I could even delve into the details, I’d be halted – usually by the second slide. My superior, with a puzzled expression, would barrage me with questions. Sometimes, they’d jump the gun, inquiring about points I was just about to cover in the subsequent slides.

Now, don’t get me wrong – feedback is a gift. But the cosmetic criticisms were particularly stinging. “Why this color?”, “The graphic is too amateur!”, “Is this slide just a photo?”, or “Feels like I’m reading an essay here!” It felt like navigating a tightrope walk where balance was elusive. Too much text, and it’s an overload. Just graphics, and it’s too vague.

The Startup Slide Revolution

Fast forward to my entrepreneurial journey, and presenting became second nature. Whether I was pitching to potential investors, engaging with customers, or sharing insights at lectures, the slide deck was my trusty sidekick. And here’s the twist in the tale: the relentless feedback from my R&D days turned into the treasure trove I didn’t know I needed.

Those seemingly endless rounds of critiques transformed into lessons. The balance of graphics and text, the narrative flow, the choice of colors – everything started making sense. It was as if the past was training me for these very moments.

I’ve now come to a point where I passionately design my own slides. Why? Because they’re an extension of my thoughts, my story, my vision. And who better to tell that story than me?

Conclusion: Embracing The Journey

Today, when I look back, I smile at the irony. What once was a source of frustration has now become a skill I deeply value. The critiques, the questions, the interruptions – they were all shaping a more resilient and adept version of me.

To all budding entrepreneurs out there: Embrace every feedback, every critique. You never know where those lessons will come in handy. After all, in the words of Steve Jobs, you can only connect the dots looking backward. My slides, my story. And what a journey it’s been!

The Illusion of RFPs in the IoT World: Managing Expectations as a Startup

The world of startups, particularly in the ever-evolving IoT (Internet of Things) domain, is brimming with excitement, challenges, and a myriad of opportunities. As founders, we often associate a high number of requests for proposals (RFPs) with potential success. The logic seems straightforward: more RFPs mean more interest, and hence, a higher likelihood of landing projects. However, the journey from RFP to a signed project can be riddled with pitfalls and misadventures.

RFPs: A Double-Edged Sword
An RFP, at its core, is an opportunity for potential customers to gather information. It’s a tool for them to understand the feasibility of a project, discover potential solutions to their challenges, and evaluate costs. And while it may seem like a positive sign for a startup to receive multiple RFPs, it’s essential to understand that an RFP is just that—an opportunity, not a guarantee.

The Dark Side of RFPs
One of the harsher realities startups face is that RFPs can sometimes be utilized in less-than-ethical ways. In some instances, after a startup has invested time, resources, and expertise into crafting a comprehensive proposal, the potential customer may hand over this proposal to a preferred vendor. In blatant disregard for propriety, the vendor might only need to swap out logos and company names, essentially “rebranding” the startup’s hard work as their own.

Such experiences are not just disheartening; they shake our trust and can make us question our openness and willingness to share. After all, it’s painful to see your intellectual property and innovative solutions casually handed over to another entity.

Guarding Against Misuse
Such challenges have taught many startups, including ours, the importance of caution. While we should never shun the opportunity to submit an RFP, it’s crucial to strike a balance. Entrepreneurs must learn the art of sharing just enough to entice a potential client but not so much that their ideas can be lifted wholesale.

Incorporating safeguards such as Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) before diving deep into proposals or limiting the granularity of the information shared, especially about costs and specific “how-to” processes, can be beneficial.

The Entrepreneurial Learning Curve
Every experience, both good and bad, serves as a lesson for the entrepreneur. While the misadventures with RFPs can be disheartening, they teach us to be more protective of our intellectual property, to discern genuine interest from mere information gathering, and to navigate the complex world of business dealings with added caution.

In conclusion, while RFPs are and will remain a vital part of the business landscape, they serve as a reminder that not all that glitters is gold. As startup founders, it’s our job to sift through the glitter, find genuine opportunities, and guard against potential pitfalls. After all, resilience and adaptability are at the heart of entrepreneurship.

Favoriot’s Odyssey: Navigating the Rough Waters of Early Revenue

Starting a new business is a lot like setting sail on uncharted waters. There’s a hope, a dream, and a sense of adventure. As the founder of Favoriot, I embarked on this entrepreneurial journey with enthusiasm and high hopes. Little did I know that the waters would be so turbulent when it came to generating early revenue.

The Hopeful Beginning
Launching a product is a moment of pride for every founder. In our minds, we believe we’ve built something exceptional that the market needs. This confidence often leads us to assume that customers will be quick to recognize its value and make a purchase. But for Favoriot, like many other startups, this was far from reality.

Facing Harsh Truths
Our early days were sobering, to put it mildly. We believed our product was ripe for quick adoption. Yet, the sales figures told a different story. In the initial two years, our revenue was so low that it’s almost embarrassing to mention. Our financial earnings were so minimal that they couldn’t even cover basic monthly salaries. Such a situation would make any founder question their choices and direction.

Lost in R&D
Our primary focus during the inception phase was on Research & Development. While innovation is essential, we overlooked the need for diverse revenue streams. We were engineers at heart, passionate about perfecting our product, but we didn’t give enough thought to the business side of things.

A Market Playing Hard to Get
In those early phases, most interactions with potential customers were frustratingly non-committal. They seemed interested and often asked us to draft proposals, but they seldom proceeded to request official quotations or place orders. It felt like being on a perpetual first date, waiting for the call that never comes.

Turning the Tide
But, as they say, night is darkest just before the dawn. After several long months, the market began to shift. We noticed an uptick in genuine inquiries, more requests for quotations, and then, the golden ticket—actual purchase orders. The sight of official documents, bearing commitments to our product, was like a balm to our stressed spirits.

A Ray of Hope
With the first few projects and consistent revenue streams, our confidence began to rebuild. It signaled that we were finally on a trajectory that aligned with the market’s needs. The pain and struggles of the initial years started to make sense, as they had shaped us, refined our product, and honed our approach.

In Retrospect
This journey, fraught with challenges and financial strain, was undoubtedly painful. But in its wake, it also brought satisfaction—a kind that can only be derived when one sees their brainchild find its rightful place in the market. Today, as I reflect on our early revenue pains, I believe they were necessary. They taught us resilience, the importance of adaptability, and above all, the value of perseverance.

To every startup founder reading this, remember: the journey might be strenuous, but when your product finds its market fit, every sleepless night and every hurdle will seem worth it.

From Early Days to VC Pursuit: A Startup Founder’s Odyssey

The world of startups is exhilarating, filled with promise, and yet, fraught with challenges. As the founder of a groundbreaking IoT product designed to make the lives of senior citizens living solo safer and more comfortable, I embarked on a journey that turned out to be both eye-opening and humbling.

A Market in the Making
As countries globally grapple with aging populations, we identified a burgeoning market. Our vision was clear: create a product that aids elderly individuals living on their own, filling a growing need in countless households. We hoped this would not only resonate with potential users but also capture the attention of investors who understood the gravity and scale of this need.

The Hunt for Funding
In our quest for early funding, we approached a staggering number of venture capitalists — over 70, to be exact. Our outreach methods were varied, spanning everything from accelerators and pitching competitions to direct introductions and cold emails. But alas, the interest we hoped for remained elusive.

Facing the Harsh Realities
Our interactions with these VCs provided crucial insights. For many, we were too early in the game. Our product was still in its infancy, with no paying customers to speak of, only trial users. Our pricing model left potential investors unconvinced, and we were still piecing together the most effective business model and sales channels.

A particularly challenging hurdle was our unfamiliarity with the health domain, a crucial aspect considering our target audience. The absence of health advisors or medical professionals on our panel was a glaring void.

But the crux of our pitch problems? Traction. It became apparent that we hadn’t yet hit that sweet spot of product-market fit. As founders, being on the receiving end of these critiques and rejections was a hard pill to swallow.

Rising from the Ashes
Though the feedback was tough, it wasn’t the end of our story. If anything, it lit a fire under us. While a significant number of startups don’t even make it past their fifth year, we’ve crossed the six-year mark, and with that comes invaluable experience.

Now, we have a deeper understanding of our startup’s unique strengths and have zeroed in on an effective business model. We know what traction and revenue metrics we need to hit to make investors sit up and take notice. Most crucially, we recognize the importance of demonstrating a clear product-market-fit.

Looking Ahead
As we gear up for our next funding round, we do so armed with the lessons of the past. Our journey, filled with its ups and downs, has been invaluable in shaping our startup and our vision for its future. We’re ready to pitch again, with renewed vigor and a clearer roadmap to success.

To all fellow founders out there, know this: every rejection, every critique, is a stepping stone. Embrace it, learn from it, and let it propel you to greater heights.