Alumni shares the success story of becoming a vending machine manufacturer
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them," quoted Walt Disney. With the courage to pursue their dream, Vechnology Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lance Ong and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Evelyn Foo, who are also the co-founders of Vechnology, started their company while they were still at the university.
Lance Ong and Evelyn Foo completed their tertiary education in the year 2016 in Bachelor of Marketing (Hons) at UTAR Kampar Campus. Talking about their start-up experience, the duo explained that they had the idea to start the business while they were still at the university. According to Lance Ong and Evelyn Foo, they first started their oat cookies trading in UTAR and organic food trading business in Penang industrial zone, at the age of 22, during their semester break. They were grateful for the experience as they were able to acquire execution and management skills.
Lance Ong and Evelyn Foo then came up with another business idea where they tender for placement of snacks vending machines at UTAR to solve students’ hunger problem. After several attempts, their ideas were finally approved, so two units of snacks vending machines were deployed in Block B and Block P of Kampar Campus. By the end of 2016, they shifted their business model from B2C to B2B to support SMEs and corporates. They became a vending machine supplier instead of being a vending operator.
After being in the industry for four years, they found massive potential in this area. Hence, they invented their own IoT vending application and paired it with nine e-Wallet payments, namely Touch N Go, Grabpay, Boost, MaybankQR, MCash, WechatPay Malaysia, WechatPay China, Alipay, and UnionPay. Their hard works were finally paid off when their company Vechnology was shortlisted in the Top 30 Start-Up in the Global Accelerator Programme in the year 2019 by Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC).
They had to face a lot of challenges along the way. One of the challenges includes competing with the supply of vending machines from China and Japan which were equipped with better technology. Since Vechnology was a home-grown company with its own proprietary technology, Lance Ong and Evelyn Foo had to convince the local market by employing a unique technology that provides unified QR e-wallet vending machine and IoT enterprise solution.
To survive the competitive business environment, Evelyn Foo and Lance Ong created a vending system that does not only focus on customer purchase experience but also enhances the enterprise solution. This enabled SMEs, corporates and start-ups to use the smart vending machine as a solution to tackle big data and ads platform.
“Every fruitful success does not come easily; there will always be obstacles. One of the most important elements to achieve success in the business is to never stop improving and upgrading yourselves,” said the successful alumni.
They added, “Joining Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) or direct selling will not necessarily make you successful or earn you a lot of money. Fast cash isn’t a great way to earn money. Instead, to become a successful entrepreneur, you need to always equip yourself with an entrepreneurial mindset that always focuses on delivering a solution that creates a good impact on people's lives.”
Vechnology’s smart vending machines are equipped with their own in-house software called VECloud and VEProUX. VECloud is a cloud computing system that serves as a “vending housekeeper”. With this system, owners can remotely access their machines in real-time, allowing them to check sales and inventory, adjust prices, fix minor errors and control the digital signage. It’s easier for the owner to monitor their machines this way, without having to regularly check on all of them physically. This cloud is synchronised with VEProxUX, an application that gives the machine its intelligence. Vechnology also develops facial recognition technology by using multiple cameras. The facial recognition technology aims to conduct consumer behaviour analysis. It also serves to record a person’s mood, age and gender.