A recent survey by BNP Paribas on Global Entrepreneurs revealed that the millennial generation – those born between 1980 and 1995 – are creating more companies in traditional sectors and the new economy. On average, they launch about 8 companies throughout their careers, compared to 3.5 by the older generation. This sudden and strong emergence of a new generation of entrepreneurs under 35 have been dubbed “The Millennipreneurs.”
One of our very own – NUS BBA (Honours) alumnus Jian Liang Low – is a true blue “Millennipreneur”. Since the age of 5, he has been pursuing his passion for entrepreneurship and in his quest, travelled the world breathing in different cultures and personalities. By the age of 19, he has interned in start-ups, founded a few of his own, worked in a venture capital firm, spoke at international conferences and won international competitions – his experiences span across USA, Israel, China and Asia. Perhaps this is why his latest venture Trabble, a personalised, chat-based Concierge service, caters to global travellers who are looking for quick and efficient travel services.
Passion to Create and Nurture
Since joining NUS Business School in 2010, Jian Liang made the most of opportunities within the community. In addition to actively participating in various student committees and groups in both NUS Business and Temasek Hall, he went to HEC Montreal for an overseas exchange and spent a year studying at Tsinghua University, while working at a Venture Capital firm in Beijing through the NUS Overseas College Internship programme.
“The flexibility of the NUS BBA programme and the wide range of options available to students to complete our degrees helps us take advantage of the many international opportunities,” said Jian Liang.
It is not surprising that while he was pursuing his undergraduate degree, he also started a company in December 2012 – an education venture that delivers the latest in entrepreneurial training. Reactor was founded with a vision to cultivate and groom Singapore’s very own young entrepreneurial community, the Galaxy’s Best Young Founders. The mission is for Reactor to be an all-encompassing ecosystem and the first touch point for young entrepreneurs. Under Jian Liang’s leadership, Reactor grew rapidly since its inception in 2012 with over 2000 students trained by qualified trainers, also featuring the curation of over 730 hours of quality content and accumulating more than 40 clients spanning 5 cities.
Upon his graduation from NUS Business School, Jian Liang struck a new idea with his friend, Joshua, who founded and runs the largest hostel accommodation chain in Singapore. Driven by the passion to innovate and address the need for a one-stop solution for all travel needs from Jian Liang’s frequent travels, the two came up with the idea of a personalised chat-based Concierge service to meet the needs of savvy travellers who want quick access to recommendations and services on the go.
Trabble was formed in July 2015, with an aim of providing a seamless, easy-to-use platform that provides bespoke services to travellers. The vision is to make local knowledge and resources universally accessible and relevant for each traveller, one city at a time. Boasting more than 600 users in the first month in Singapore, the start-up aims to expand to four global cities next year and boost its network of travellers, eventually incorporating social aspects to the platform.
New Opportunities for a Global Reach
In early 2016, NUS Business School announced a pilot initiative to launch a one-week exchange of startups between NUS and The Paris Institute of Political Science (known as Sciences Po) in Paris. The goal was to facilitate NUS Business School startups that are targeting French/European markets to expand in the region and vice versa.
Two NUS and Sciences Po startups were selected through an application and selection, with Trabble being one of them. Jian Ling was also appointed in assisting Associate Professor Sarah Cheah with launching this initiative.
Jian Liang and another startup, 8packs, visited Paris to meet important stakeholders of the French entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as pitch their startup.The French startups also participated in Innovfest 2016 during their visit here, with the help of the Singapore team.
From the initial stages of the programme, Trabble was exposed to OrangeFab, a three-month accelerator programme for startups, spearheaded by Orange, one of the largest operators of mobile and internet services in Europe and Africa. OrangeFab Asia was a crucial stepping stone in helping Trabble expand into Japan.
Next on the radar for Jian Liang and his team is to apply for the upcoming French Tech Ticket Program held in France.
Now an engaged alumni, Jian Liang has continued to give back to the School community by way of internship opportunities for our undergraduates and meeting with various student groups to explore possibilities of collaboration or volunteering.
“I have a strong association with the NUS Business School and NUS Overseas Colleges community. Not only has my education provided me a strong business foundation to build companies, the relationships I’ve formed – be it with mentoring Professors or a professional network of peers – have made a lasting impact on my career. Which is why giving back to this community is important for me. When it comes to hiring staff or interns, NUS Bizaders are our first choice,” he explained.
At the moment, the team is looking for interns as it expands its user base as well as executes plans to expand globally. If you’re interested, please do feel free to reach out to him here.
With so many achievements at such a young age, what advice does he have for millennials or other “millenipreneurs”?
“Be purposeful and plan how you want to spend next 3-4 years of your time here during your undergraduate studies. I was able to do a Student Exchange Programme, 2 NOC programmes and even take a Leave of Absence to graduate in 5 years. Show interest, engage actively in what you take up and be aware of the many options and opportunities NUS Business School has to offer.”