Alvin Ea was destined to work in logistics after being exposed to it since his childhood.
What’s your story?
I landed in the logistics industry after being exposed to it since I was a kid, my dad was running a logistics business. I helped restructure the business and started out a new business division focusing on container trucking via the organic and traditional way for 5 years. I understood the pain of the business, met my co-founder and I jumped in to build Haulio which is a B2B trucking platform for Industry 4.0. It is backed by PSA, Haulio aims to redefine business processes to tackle a traditional industry through automation, IoT and predictive analytics.
What excites you most about your industry?
Logistics is always seen to be “old-school” but I love how it’s hidden to all, yet it’s such an important fabric to the economy. Everything is supposed to be “logical” if you break down the word but due to its fragmentation with so many stakeholders, the complexity of getting various parties to work together is almost impossible. Relooking at how things should work and breaking rules are things that I do anyway, and I love how that’s a part of my job now.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. There’s a huge focus on the developments of the scene in this region with increasing trade flow expected due to the rising middle income population with higher spendings especially with the rise of eCommerce. SEA is the next gold mine with the fastest growing mobile users and the opportunity to build on the lack of logistics infrastructure from scratch. This is a fantastic chance to play catch up with the rest of the world through improving technology such as the OBOR by China.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Our home, Singapore. We have a world class port and Singapore is home to many APAC HQ of Global 3PL firms which can connect trade from all over the world. Our advancement in logistics infrastructure offers a good reference point for development for the rest of the SEA region which is expected to catch up and grow aggressively over the next decade. Exciting times.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Stay foolish, stay hungry, humility is key and learning to respect others is a virtue that I’ve always kept myself grounded to. Discover your passion and work for it. You will realise that there’s so much more meaning to work, with the value that you can add.
Who inspires you?
Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma, Anthony Tan and my father. They are passionate about what they believe in, have faith in what is seemingly impossible to accomplish and act on them despite the resistance.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Grab acquiring the SEA business unit of Uber is a big win for the SEA ecosystem and a huge inspiration for local startups like ourselves to keep going. As a homegrown startup in our trucking space, we expect to face strong competitors which might have better tech and talents than we do here but this win by Grab gives us compelling reasons to believe in our own abilities to try to win our own markets where we grew up.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Honestly, I would never have gone into this industry if I knew how strenuous it was. There is so much work being done behind the scenes that is so unappreciated yet so, so important. Seriously though, I’ve always believed in destiny and I probably would do the same. The only difference, I would have started Haulio earlier than I actually did.
How do you unwind?
Traveling, catching up with friends, playing football or any other team sports, reading books, occasional binge on Netflix, eating and sleeping.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Niseko, Japan. Best snow in the world.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Shameless plug for your business:
Visit us: www.haulio.io – Change the way you move containers. A shout-out to any passionate guys who are crazy enough to plunge into this industry and think that you can help change the world with us, one way or another.
How can people connect with you?
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.
Connect with Callum here:
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com