Shaun Heng founded Eatsy, a collaborative dining app that allows diners to order, pay and split their bill, and they are rewarded with cashback after each meal.
What’s your story?
I started out in investment banking – an industry that I fought hard to enter since my NUS days, doing multiple internships to chalk up the relevant ‘experience points.’ However, I could not shake off the immense sense of unfulfillment. In December 2014, I left without knowing what my next step would be. A chance encounter resulted in me joining RedMart’s corporate development team. This opportunity provided the springboard for me to start my entrepreneurship journey. In September 2016, I left RedMart to pursue Eatsy full-time. With the right team and experienced F&B mentors, we finally launched the app in November 2017.
What excites you most about your industry?
The F&B industry is clearly moving towards a state where consumers (diners) are not just looking for easily accessible and convenient options but also something experiential and rewarding at the same time. Consumer behaviour increasingly dictates the technologies that a restaurant needs to and should adopt. Compared to a few years back, restaurant operators are definitely a lot more receptive to technologies now. Technology is no longer a nice-to-have, it is a competitive edge with your consumers.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Born and raised in Singapore, though I did spend a couple of years in Hong Kong when I was young as my father was based there for work.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore – nothing beats home ground. In addition, the Singapore government provides the right support for startups – we only need to look for it and reach out. Of course, the push for a smart nation and a cashless society is also helping our cause.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“What’s the worst that can happen?”
Our mind tends to over complicate issues at face value. By asking ourselves this question, we disengage ourselves from the situation and instead take the time to process the information and break down the issue into smaller parts – often at times, the decision is much more obvious than we initially thought it was.
Who inspires you?
My dad. He runs his own business, NeXT Career Consulting Group, as an executive coach and no matter how busy he is at work, he always finds time to come home for dinner and spend time with his family. Having the thirst for knowledge also means that he is always learning something new every single day.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The tortoise really did win the race against the rabbit! Check out the video online – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1339626/Slow-steady-wins-race-Tortoise-WINS-against-rabbit.html
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Embrace the present a little more!
Throughout my life, I spent too much time dwelling on past mistakes and worrying about the future. As a result, I do not pause and take stock of the many awesome things that is happening in my life currently. As my good friend once said, “Affirm yourself on the progress every day!”
How do you unwind?
When I’m having a tough day, I’ll always try to squeeze in a quick 30 minutes to run in the evening to unwind and regroup my thoughts. However, nothing beats spending time with my loved ones.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali – probably for the same reasons why it’s the favourite Asian destination for so many people. Bali’s just amazing in its own ways. It is the perfect getaway with friends, to laze on the beach with a bottle of beer and recharge.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. My favourite quote – “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Some call it luck but I believe that if you put all your energy and positive thoughts towards what you want to achieve, you’d be amazed that the eventual outcome will not be too far off from what you had envisioned.
Shameless plug for your business:
Eatsy is a collaborative dining app that allows diners to order, pay and split their bill, and we reward them with cashback after each meal. Think of us as ‘UberEats x Shopback’ for in-dining.
No more flagging down busy waitstaff, splitting cheques manually, or waiting to sign the bill. What’s there not to love?
We connect restaurants to their diners and help them answer the age-old questions of: 1. Who are my diners? 2. What they like to eat? 3. How can I get them back with the right promotions?
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @eatsyapp.co to find out more!
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’.