Get to know Shamir Rahim, founder of VersaFleet as he shares on how his journey as an entrepreneur kickstarted!
What inspired you to start the business?
We were solving this problem where we notice a lot of trucks were under-utilised and we notice that the planning process took a few hours a day so what I did was I wrote some scripts to automate the planning process so this is what we call the vehicle routing problem and from there, we had 1 customer, 10 customers, 50 and alhamdulillah, today we have more than 100 customers.
How was it like in the first 100 days of business?
I was really trying to find a product market fit. We were in a rush to basically find a product people would find useful and pay for.
What is one memorable moment in your entrepreneurship journey?
One of the early engineering milestones was when we were testing out our routing algorithm. In a simple way, we were trying to do better than the computer. The breakthrough moment, I remember was in 2016, the algorithm beat all of our predictions and did it in less than 2 seconds. It was the first time where we could actually say that we can plan faster, better and cheaper than a human.
What is one valuable lesson you’ve learnt?
Not all those who help you are your friends and not all who bring you down are your enemies.
How would you describe yourself as an entrepreneur?
I would describe myself as a geeky scientist turned engineer, trying to be a businessman.
What are the 3 traits that an entrepreneur should have?
Not to be a cliche,, but I think great tenacity is hugely important. You may or may not succeed but if you decide that is your path then you must have the tenacity and discipline to follow it through. Second trait, I would say, resourcefulness. Building a technology startup, the best analogy I’ve heard is, it is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down and hoping you will fly before your crash and die. So you need to be as resourceful as you can. Third trait, generosity is important. You have to be patient with people. They are who they are, they are not who they are not. You can do your level best to change someone and then you can stop. You just have to know that you need to invest your time and be generous about it. You may or may not reap rewards for your company in making an effort but such is life.
What is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Ironically, this is not for everyone. If you like really high highs, and really low lows, and maybe a sado masochistic trait, maybe it is for you. But if you thrive in a stable, predictable bank balance, startup is not for you.
Interested to know more? Come down to ILLUMINATE 2019 and hear from other entrepreneurs like Shamir!
Tickets to ILLUMINATE 2019 are still on sale at http://illuminate.bizvoice.sg !