Entrepreneur's journey: Friends left him when he dropped out of university
They are no older than 25, yet these young entrepreneurs have made their mark both here and abroad. TNP speaks to successful local start-up founders about their entrepreneurial journey
While his success was swift, it saw him face rejection from friends due to his unconventional path.
Entrepreneur Viren Shetty, 25, told The New Paper: "Many said I was sure to fail."
Yet, Mr Shetty persisted in starting his own technology-based business.
He is the co-founder of PlusMargin, a company that - while he prefers to keep the details confidential - counts several global brands as customers.
PlusMargin is a predictive analytics platform for e-commerce merchants.
It uses behavioural psychology and machine learning to help companies optimise content for each individual customer, an idea that Mr Shetty said he and his co-founder developed over the years.
In 2017, Mr Shetty was featured on the prestigious Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 list, the business magazine's list of young trailblazers from a wide range of fields, including arts, science and business.
Yet despite his rapid rise to success, his journey has not been smooth.
Diagnosed with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, Mr Shetty found learning a challenge.
He told TNP: "Early in my childhood and in school, I felt disadvantaged. There were some things I really struggled with.
"It is about learning to cope with it. It is about surrounding yourself with people who complement your skill set."
At 20, he started to look seriously at starting his own company. At 22 , he made arguably his boldest move.
The former applied mathematics student at Nanyang Technological University took leave from university, eventually dropping out, to pursue his passion of a tech start-up.
This plan shocked his parents. Initially sceptical, they allowed him to go ahead.
However, within his circle of friends was where Mr Shetty found the most resistance. Many stopped contacting him.
"They did not want to be associated with me. People who I thought were my friends stopped talking to me."
While the plan came together for Mr Shetty, he stressed that he does not think a degree lacks value or dropping out will work for everyone.
"But in the case of a tech start-up, it is better to be in the field. It is all about contacts and experience."
He warned: "It is not the case that just because you drop out, you will be the next Bill Gates.
"But it is difficult to work on a start-up and go to school at the same time, especially when you have investors and shareholders to report to."
He added: "I was young and had no experience. There were no textbooks, no university where I could learn the skills I needed. I faced rejection, failures and fears every single day. I felt the pressure, dealing with other people's money."
Mr Shetty said that for start-up founders like him, resilience is key.
"My first job was creating a company and giving others jobs. People are counting on you for their livelihood."
He added: "I regularly ask myself why I do this. It is a lonely journey, but it is something I believe in."