By Janis Zhang
Nanyang Business School alumnus Mr Lee Chee Meng was honoured among 56 individuals in the inaugural e27 Luminaries List that recognises outstanding non-founders of start-ups. e27 is a platform for the Southeast Asia startup ecosystem that gives entrepreneurs tools and insights to build and grow their companies.
As Co-Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Pickupp, a start-up that aims to revolutionise the delivery industry with data-driven technology, Chee Meng’s job is to help prospective clients and businesses understand his company’s vision and how their technology could be beneficial for their businesses. He oversees the Southeast Asian markets that the company operates in, managing 50 employees.
Chee Meng says that he was inspired to join the start-up when he first met Pickupp’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Ms Crystal Pang through a mutual friend. During their first meeting, they exchanged views of the logistics industry and where the industry should be headed towards in the future. “Our ideas were surprisingly aligned. It was then a clear decision for me to come on board. Leading a start-up is not easy but being passionate about the product you’re building is an important motivator and that was why I chose to join and stay in Pickupp.”
His regular workday starts with meetings and catch-up calls with his team or clients to ensure operations are on track. In pre-COVID-19 times, he would spend most of his time in Pickupp’s overseas offices, but since everyone in his office is currently working from home due to safe management measures, he makes sure he is always reachable throughout the day to give urgent assistance or guidance. “I usually end my day looking through the day’s statistics, noting down any potential issues to discuss with my team the next day,” he said.
A tech start-up with regional presence will always encounter obstacles and challenges and Chee Meng explained that he overcame them by keeping his team motivated and focussed on a common objective, while maintaining empathy as a leader. “As much as possible, I make an effort to get to know every member of the team better, so I know what motivates them and keeps them ticking. It also gives me the opportunity to better understand them and the challenges they are facing, so I can assess how best I’m able to empower them to overcome the challenges.
|Chee Meng (pictured first from left in bottom row) was the Vice-Captain of the NTU Rugby team during his university days.|
Chee Meng said that being active in co-curricular and hall activities in NTU had taught him many soft skills including effective time management, which has served him well in his career.
Although kept very busy with work, Chee Meng makes it a point to spend time winding down after a hectic day or week of work. He looks forward to a quiet dinner or catching a movie with his fiancée. “I’m quite an introvert so having these quiet moments allow me to recalibrate and refocus on the challenges ahead.”
To those looking to start a business or join a start-up, Chee Meng emphasised the importance of self-belief and that it is key to believe in the product you are trying to build: “Ultimately, if you do not have resolute faith in your vision, you cannot expect others in the market to buy into it.”