From building computers at 12, to running a deep-tech startup today
Not many of us have first-hand experience with dealing with robotic arms. So, the Refuel Team had a chat with Daryl, to learn about how and why he co-founded Augmentus, a one-stop code-free programming platform to develop robotic systems.
The Augmentus Team (L-R): Daryl, Rishi, Voon Foo, Li Hui, Yong Shin, Pin Xi
Daryl is a self-proclaimed tech-nerd, a crucial factor in his entrepreneurship journey. Before entering university, the Business and Economics undergraduate had not even heard about the term entrepreneurship. It all started when he began helping his friends to repair their phone screens for free. He then realised that he could start a business out of it by charging lower prices than repair stores, for the same services. This was how his interest in tech led him to start his first venture, Info Fix, unknowingly. Info Fix later morphed into Edge Neo, a technology distribution business, and is the largest authorised Ledger (cryptocurrency hardware wallet) in Southeast Asia.
I did not even know the term 'entrepreneurship'. There was an entrepreneurship club in poly that I didn't join because I didn't know what it was. I just created things to solve problems.
Besides tech, Daryl also has a keen interest in politics and social issues, and so he started Illuminate SG, a social initiative that aims to reduce conflicts stemming from misunderstandings. His team at Illuminate SG organises events, classes and workshops to inculcate researched backed conversational skills into the participants and audience.
The bulk of his time is now focused on Augmentus, a tech startup that he co-founded late 2019. Augmentus is a one-stop mobile programming platform, which is a software that enables anyone, even non-technical users, to develop robotic systems entirely with high speed and accuracy. Users can simply draw robot paths through a live video feed on a mobile device and watch their robot move without typing a single line of code.
Daryl's co-founder, Yong Shin, personally experienced how tedious and inefficient robotic inspection and other robotic innovation processes were, and tried to create an augmented reality solution for this problem. The duo met at Startup Weekend Singapore 2019, where they first pitched the idea for Augmentus, and subsequently decided to keep working on it as they saw high potential in the idea. Daryl and Yong Shin also work well together, and have complementary skill sets in business development and tech development respectively, which is extremely important for co-founders.
I think hackathons are the best place to find co-founders. It is a great way to assess the skill sets of someone.
On choices and regrets
Daryl is still a full-time student at the National University of Singapore (NUS), but he decided to take the leap of faith and reject a valuable opportunity to study at Stanford University, to focus on his work at Augmentus.
We just have to take the risk and dive in.
Before making the decision to take a Leave of Absence (LOA) from school and reject the programme at Stanford, he did the Regret Matrix, and eventually chose to stay and work on Augmentus. During the first few weeks of his LOA, he was faced with countless uncertainties, and questioned his decision. However, he has since gotten a clearer picture and does not regret his choices.
Daryl is currently working on many a variety of projects and deals that the company has managed to sign since they launched their Minimum Viable Product, together with his team of six.
For the aspiring entrepreneurs
Besides tech, inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators is an extremely huge motivation for Daryl.
Inspiring someone to do something a similar way or even better than I did, is something that really touches my heart.
When asked if he had any tips or tricks for the aspiring entrepreneurs out there, Daryl had this to say: always be positive and open-minded. Many people might find themselves trapped in a filter bubble when they only mix with those who conform their beliefs, so it is important to listen to the views of others as well. When starting up, it is also important to admit your strengths and weaknesses, stay humble, and not be afraid to ask for advice.
Learning more about entrepreneurship, innovation or just curious about how startups make money? Find out more about Augmentus' business model, and check out a SWOT Analysis on the company here!
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