Hey, there’s this guy I’ve known for a long time, I met him the first time I moved from Australia to Singapore when I was 19. He was my landlord, literally the first person I met after I left Changi Airport. I was looking for accommodation and found an ad online and I contacted Aston, I think it was on Facebook, and we agreed on a price to rent his room. I had almost no savings and his room was in my price range, but not exactly in the middle of town. He was a really cool guy, a great host, a person who didn’t mind helping you out. I saw the best traits of Singaporean values in him.
Aston is a seemingly unassuming guy, a highly talented coder who can code and manage people. How many coders do you know who can manage people? He was starting a company in IoT, the internet of things, but it was a small operation, just him and his co-founder creating software that tracks sensors inside company vehicles.
I left Singapore, it was great but I was only 19, had a law degree I couldn’t put off anymore, so I came back to Australia. But a year passes, my brother calls me up and asks me if I want to start a business with him, and where does he want to start this business? Singapore, we did it and sold it to Groupon.
That’s when we go back to Aston’s story, he’d give me sporadic updates, new developments he was making with different iterations and business ideas. I read that his startup, Overdrive, had just raised US2.9M in a space that isn’t just important because it’s Government level, it changes our touchpoints with our cities. You can’t make any mistakes in this industry and with this Government.
On this episode, you’ll hear why he built a startup that tracks sensors all around Singapore. How many sensors does he track? 30,000. What does he track? Stuff, where thousands of kids, vehicles, machinery, you name it, are located in real-time, he can track anything. Is that creepy? Maybe a little, we talk about it, and how a humble, technically oriented guy developed himself into a salesman and because of that, has been able to charm investors, raising a very nice US 2.9 million dollars. The biggest message you’ll get in this episode- If he can do it, then so can you.
Founded in 2015 by technologists Aston Chia and Zen Chin, Overdrive’s customer portfolio include Sentosa, Nanyang Technological University, Fedex, Ascendas, the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore, and Volkswagen and Mazda in Malaysia via its local IoT partner.
Overdrive operates an IOT platform that automates data sensing of various types of assets within a business ecosystem, from vehicles and machinery, to goods and people. It leverages on a “mash-up” of different connectivity technologies and curated 3rd party devices, that is configured to optimally deliver business objectives such as real-time tracking and monitoring, exception alerting and command centre visualization.
Aston is a technologist and solution architect at the heart, having learnt his craft at Monash University Australia with a Bachelor of Computing in 2005. He then led a developer team for Wired-Up Mobile Solutions, architecting and developing a mobile back up solution for VAS for major mobile operators in Asia. He went on to help Bayer Southeast Asia plan, design and coordinate the execution of their largest data center migration into 2 new data centers.
Prior to starting Overdrive, Aston led the design and development of EaziCall, a callback mobile solution for Singtel. He is 36 yrs old and married with 2 baby boys.
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I’m also looking for my next tv show after I recently guest-hosted my last tv show on Channel NewsAsia about the latest business trends in Asia. In this show, I flew to Japan to uncover the e-sports industry with a crew and fixer, and we dove deep into the Esports industry. I learned a lot about myself, about how to host, and we found ourselves in a lot of funny situations along the way. You can check it out here, it’s an hour-long. I’d love to know what you think.
BMGPM license, thank you to all artists involved.