Being a solo founder: the ups and downs, and everything in between
The Refuel Team met with SGTutoring’s solo founder, Regina Ho, to find out more about her startup journey.
We are often told that we need a co-founder to start up, which is solid advice, of course. But it turns out that according to Crunchbase, more than half of all startups which exited managed to do so with a solo founder. The idea and development of many large startups and scale-ups we know of today came from solo founders - some success stories include Dropbox's Drew Houston and Tumblr's David Karp.
As we sit down with Regina, I am struck by her level of energy. It is 2pm and I am battling my post-lunch food coma, but the 20 year old founder is animated and lively. So what’s the secret behind Regina’s motivation? I am dying to find out.
Her entrepreneurship streak can be traced back to her polytechnic days in Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), where she was first exposed to the world of business and startups. She also had the opportunity to go on a 6 month internship stint with a startup in Shanghai, before starting her own startup last December.
I was inspired by my founders [from my Shanghai internship] and I wanted to continue to work on my idea and try to push it out into the market... You have to try and not be scared.
SGTutoring is the brainchild of the current freshman from NUS Business School. It is a platform that matches undergraduate tutors to students and their parents. When asked how the platform stands out from the myriad of tutoring platforms out there, Regina was unfazed. She believes that undergraduate tutors are a huge untapped pool of talent and potential, and though most of them are qualified and keen to tutor, they lack an avenue to get students. She then set out to solve this problem for her undergraduate peers, while providing a competitive pricing for tutees as well.
The idea for SGTutoring was conceptualised as part of an assignment for her module in NP, when she was just 18. Unlike most who typically ditch their notes right after the final exam, she decided to persist and continue on with her idea.
When you interact with enterprising people, it motivates you to keep going. The most important thing is to surround yourself with people who are like-minded and passionate about what they do.
One of the problems Regina faces constantly is the lack of guidance and someone to bounce ideas off with. However, despite embarking on her startup journey alone, she surrounds herself with people who are are interested in entrepreneurship as well. Recently, she partnered with Charmaine Tan and Estherlyn Ng, friends passionate about a social cause, to begin a social initiative selling tote bags. 50% of the profits go towards students purchasing educational books and supplies for students in the Free Tuition Programme organized by Loving Heart Multi-Service Centre (Jurong).
Though only two months old, there are big plans ahead for SGTutoring - more social initiatives, new partnerships, online educational resources, and definitely more assignments for tutors!
Learning more about the entrepreneurship, innovation or just curious about how startups make money? Find out more about the SGTutoring business model here!
Refuel was founded to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs through the stories of startup founders. We aim to build a global community of entrepreneurs and innovators, and hustle on together.