Category Archives: Start-up

Did you know that the air quality indoors is 2 to 5 times worse than outside(EPA)? We sure didn’t. Enter uHoo, the indoor air quality solution startup that recently joined the AIA Konica Minolta Accelerator in Singapore. The team’s Indiegogo campaign went live two days ago and not only had great traction among the tech community but also savvy parents who want to keep an eye on the state of the air in their home. Don’t miss your chance to pre-order at a discounted rate and show your support for clean air here:

uHoo is the most advanced quality sensor that provides you with allergen and toxin alerts for air quality indoors. Unlike similar projects, uHoo goes deeper, detecting Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Ozone, Air Pressure, Volatile Organic Compounds, which can be found in common household items such as paint and cleaning products.


“While the media covers health issues related to outdoor air pollution, the less known silent killer among us is indoor air quality, which can be up to five times worse than outdoor air”  – Dustin Jefferson Onghanseng, CEO and co-founder of uHoo.

Indoor pollution is a growing concern. Studies show that the average person spends 90% of the time indoors. In the past there hasn’t been aconvenient or affordable device that could tell us if the air around us, in our homes, offices and schools, is potentially hazardous to our health. uHoo makes this easy. The device is only 3.3 inches in diameter, 6.2 inches high, and weighs less than a pound. Simply plug uHoo in to a power outlet and connect it to the WiFi network – uHoo does the rest. All information uHoo gathers can then be monitored using a dedicated free and easy to use smartphone app.

uHoo comes in two versions: Classic and Premium, the main difference being the number of dedicated sensors that the device will detect. Both versions are being offered as perks as part of uHoo’sIndiegogo campaign. After being live for only 3 days (as of May 13th) the project has reached:
-261 backers
-108% funded
-193 out of 200 EARLY BIRD uHoo’s claimed

The campaign will remain open for only one month, so make sure get your own uHoo before the deadline.

Sign up for uHoo’s newsletter to be notified of updates at and follow along on social media to get tips on staying healthy and avoiding situations that might make you sick @uhooair on Twitter and /uhooair on Facebook.

What I Wish I Knew Before I Founded A Startup

By Angelo Umali

I’ve been a full-time entrepreneur now for more than two years and I’ve been getting a lot of questions from aspiring entrepreneurs: “What is it like to be one?” From the outside, people think it’s a glamorous job especially if you get media attention. But the truth is closer to what the Under Armour commercial says — for every moment in the spotlight, there are countless days in the darkness.

People often compare startups to a roller coaster ride and I agree. You’re always trying to push your cart uphill but when it starts going, you hang on for dear life! In building our company, Simple Wearables, I’ve faced many days pushing uphill and I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. I’d like to share them with you.

Simple Wearables

1. Fear never goes away

Fear is what keeps most people from jumping head first into entrepreneurship. At first, I was in constant fear of running out of savings, not finding the right idea, or someone else stealing it. Then later on, I feared whether potential customers will like the product or if we can raise enough money. Fear is always there but it shouldn’t stop you.

Fear is on the other side of the coin of pursuing your passion. It’s an ever-present companion so learn from it. Sometimes, fears are just multiple problems converging, appearing larger than they are. Sit down, break them into bite-sized pieces and eat them one by one. Other times, fears represent personal development opportunities. Face them head on. My inspiration and former professor Steve Blank once said, “only by steering yourself into the place you want to avoid can you hope to arrive in the place where you need to be.”

2. Find a problem that you want to solve without pay

In other words, it should become a personal mission — using all your strengths, talents, networks and creativity to solve. Because if it is so important to you, you will always find a way to get back up whenever you fall down. Sure, they may be some financial reward while building your own company, but if that’s your primary motivation, go work at Google or Wall Street instead. Less risk, more pay.

3. You need to work on your emotional intelligence

Startups are, by nature, highly emotional because they are fuelled by passion. The highs are so high and the lows are so low, and they can switch back and forth very quickly. You need to be able to pause when you’re about to lose your temper. You need to protect yourself from the avalanche of destructive speculation and find factual ground. You need to be able to gauge the temperature of the room and observe body language during a negotiation. You need to be able to sense the crowd when you pitch so you can land the best punches. And you need to be able to motivate and inspire because your team needs you! All of these are aspects of emotional intelligence that rarely get attention.

4. It’s all about the team and the culture you build

As your enterprise grows, you will never be enough. You need to build a team to take on the different problems your startup will face. If you build a culture that waits for you to decide, you will be the bottleneck for all decisions, you will slow down progress, and you will kill the creative thinking required to solve tough problems. You will become the single point of failure for the company. Instead, choose collaboration and welcome conflict. Let the best ideas win. Hire the best people from very different backgrounds, then learn to trust them. Motivate them and empower them. Once a trusting culture is in place, they will stay with you through the darkest days and will give you the best solutions beyond your imagination.Culture takes time to build but once it is set, it is very difficult to change.

5. Nobody ever regretted being an entrepreneur

My friend once told me that nobody ever regretted being an entrepreneur. Even if you fail, you will learn so many lessons that can equip you in your next venture. On the other hand, there are so many people wishing they had done it once they see their private ideas blossoming in the marketplace.

So go take the risk and learn from your fears. Bring to life that burning passion! You will learn so many things but best of all, you will learn who you really are… When you grab onto that roller coaster, remember to have fun and enjoy the ride!

This article was originally published on Medium at

AIA Singapore has partnered with Konica Minolta and Nest to run another digital health accelerator as a continued push to champion entrepreneurship. This will be the third initiative AIA has launched in the past year for startups. In an interview with Marcus Wong, a serial entrepreneur within AIA, we hear advice for aspiring founders.
Marcus has started up more than 10 companies and established himself as a successful investor while working as a Senior District Director for AIA Hong Kong.

Control freaks don’t survive

AIA: What is the most important lesson you have learned as an entrepreneur?

MW: While working at AIA I’ve started up 10 companies and many of my early attempts crashed and burned for one ironic reason – I protected my ideas too much. When I started out as an entrepreneur I was a one-man show. I was young, extremely confident and I wanted to earn all the money. So I appointed myself as the CFO, CEO and CMO. And sure, I had everything my way – but not the best way. I was ignoring one important fact: I’m not good at everything. So when things started to derail outside my true expertise, I was unable to get my business back on track.

Calm your ego

AIA: So are you saying that young entrepreneurs should be humble?

MW: Now don’t get me wrong, being confident and determined is vital for a young entrepreneur. If you take no for an answer easily, then you might as well shut your startup down today. But you’ll need to balance that confidence with the ability to listen and involve others in your decisions. After I realized that, my businesses flourished like never before.

Involving others might seem scary, it might hurt your ego, and it will definitely be provocative to hear someone tell you that your business plan is all wrong. But wouldn’t you rather hear it earlier rather than later, allowing you to change it for the better?

Strengthen your team for success

AIA: How do you choose the people to involve in your business?

MW: When building a powerful team, look for people that are experts at things that you are not strong at. This requires you to know yourself well: I’m not good at executing, administration or financial modeling. But I’m great at bringing in new ideas, recruiting talent and investors – that’s the expertise I focus on injecting into my businesses. I now have two to six partners from different industry backgrounds in each of my companies.
Every startup should, in my opinion, consist of the following key roles in order to develop a business idea:

Pay your dues

AIA: That sounds like a great team, but also an expensive one. What can you do if you can’t afford to pay people a salary?

MW: If you can’t afford to hire the perfect team to fill out key roles, give out shares to the people you’d like to involve. And don’t be afraid to sell your dream! A lot of people are willing to work for something they believe in if they become part of the bigger vision. Can’t persuade people to work for you for a dream and a decent piece of the pie? You likely won’t be able to persuade an investor either.

Expertise carries the business idea forward

AIA: With such a big team involved, aren’t you running a risk of losing control of your idea?

MW: Let go of the notion that involving bright people in your startup means losing control. Without the right amount of expertise to carry your idea forward and a healthy dose of feedback from others to make it stronger – you won’t find yourself among the top 10% of startups that actually make it.

This is the most fundamental lesson I have learned in the startup industry and something I advise every entrepreneur to learn fast. Calm your ego, split the workload and share your achievements for greater success.
Check out the Digital Health Accelerator by AIA and Konica Minolta, powered by Nest:
Deadline to apply: January 31st 2016