Startup success

Dare to dream: Tan and Leong turned their startup into a success, thanks to perseverance and a sound education.

DON’T give up. Stay focused and persistent.

That was the advice of Tan Suan Sear and Leong Shir Mein, the husband-and-wife team behind an online food delivery platform that was recently acquired by AirAsia for US$9.8mil (RM41.4mil).

Having delivered more than one million orders, the duo, who started DeliverEat in 2012, have a fleet of some 4,000 delivery partners sending food from over 4,500 merchants.

Both alumni of INTI International College Penang, they encouraged students and aspiring startups to “keep at it”.

“I have always convinced myself that the more difficult the path, the closer I’ll get to success.

“It is always a good idea to start your career as an employee in order to learn and get experience.

“If you want to be an entrepreneur, you can choose to work in a start-up company and learn directly from the founder,” Tan said in a press release from the varsity.

From having careers in engineering and accountancy to founding Penang’s first online food delivery company, Tan and Leong are proof that there is no limit to what you can achieve.

“When you realise that you are establishing a startup that can provide value and impact to your community, it makes you feel stronger and inspired to continue growing,” said Leong when asked what their greatest source of motivation was.

Tan earned his Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from INTI College Penang before pursuing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering in the United Kingdom.

After returning from the UK, he worked in the research and development departments of several multinational corporations.

Leong considers her husband to be a powerful motivator.

“Suan Sear has always been exceptionally hardworking and ambitious, making sure that he takes advantage of every opportunity to advance his engineering career.

“To earn a little extra, he also lectured at INTI,” said Leong, who pursued the New South Wales Higher School Certificate (NSW HSC) offered by INTI College Penang before completing her tertiary education in Australia.

“Every lesson at INTI has touched me and made me whole,” Tan shared when asked how their tertiary education experience at INTI had served them well in their work.

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