Imagine creativity as an invisible spark, it can be ignited by the right person and become the energy that advances and brightens the world. The creativity spark of Eric Kuo, Co-founder of R-Guardian, was kindled by a regret of his family. It has gradually developed into a start-up with a valuation of over 100 million today, dedicated in R&D of Smart Personal Belongings Solution.
With a clear goal, Eric is never afraid to be different. He was a top student in secondary school. He even scored 18 or 19 points in the HKCEE at that time. It was not difficult for him to get admitted to Secondary 6 but he chose to study the “Higher Diploma in Electronic and Communications Engineering” at IVE. He said, “Since a long time ago, I had realised my abilities in computer and mathematics, and IVE provided me an early exposure to this profession. I thought it was more suitable for me... Unlike the empty talk in the secondary school, both theory and practice were equally important at IVE. It was a precious learning experience in my life.”
Got Admitted to Five Local Universities
Eric has a close relationship with his family and the inspiration for his inventions also comes from the needs of his family. IVE’s computer room and laboratory were the first places to put these ideas into practice. For example, he noticed that whenever the air-conditioning or heater was on at home, his sister would suffer from nasal allergy due to low humidity. He got the idea of combining a humidifier, a temperature sensor and a fan in one. Whenever the room temperature reached 25 degrees, the fan would automatically turn on and the humidifier would send moisture to every corner of the room. Eric added, “For those of you who study science or engineering, you will find it hard if you study with a “score-seeking” mentality. But if you pay more attention to issues in everyday life and combine them with book knowledge, learning will become interesting.”
The practical experience and inventions he accumulated at IVE also brought him the admission tickets to five local universities. When being asked for his interview tips, he thinks that the emphasis on practicability at IVE helped him stood out, “Of course, good grades are the basics. During interviewing, it is necessary for the professor to feel your enthusiasm. So I brought along my study projects from IVE to the interview, which successfully demonstrated my passion for the subject. This is very important.”
At the university, he created another life-changing invention – an intelligent system that prevents losing personal belongings by using Bluetooth technology, which embed chips into valuable personal items, and then connects to the Bluetooth system on mobile phone for e-management. This invention was also inspired by his family – when Eric was in secondary school, his father resigned due to losing important company data, and the family livelihood was greatly affected. Seeing his father’s regret, Eric had always kept in his mind, “It was not until I saw that this invention could help other people that I felt I had made up for his regret.” This invention allowed Eric to dominate tertiary education entrepreneurship competitions, such as taking part in the “National Challenge Cup” on behalf of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and won the Winner’s Cup and 10 more innovation and entrepreneurship awards in the largest science and technology competition for university students of China.
Numerous Problems Arise Every Day
At this time, Eric decided to jump out of the comfort zone of the laboratory, and further challenge himself to turn into an entrepreneur from an engineer. “Being a technical personnel and an entrepreneur are of different mentality. If you want to launch an invention into the commercial world, it is necessary to cater to the market and continuously improve the technology to meet the individual needs of different customers. In addition, hardware quality management and planning are also important for mass industrial production. Even for an error in a tiny part, it can paralyse the entire production process, and resulting in re-production a whole batch of 10 million pieces of goods.” Eric smilingly said that problems have never ceased from the first day of starting his business, “The difference is only whether they are big or small. If you work for the sake of comfort, seriously, don’t start a business.”
In the face of adversity, people’s acceptability varies from person to person. Eric goes further and teaches us to embrace difficulties, “Don’t be afraid of problems. They can be a learning process. By overcoming difficulties, the solutions to the problems will become assets of the company.” In fact, among the 13 patents currently we owned, many were developed from solving technical difficulties for clients.
As a “post-90s” boss, he has his own philosophy of leading the team to solve problems, “The most important thing is to look ahead and think about ways to solve the current problems, instead of dredging up reasons for the mistakes and persons to hold the responsibility. We are a start-up technology company and everything is still in the exploratory stage. If everything has to be held accountable, no colleague will be willing to propose a solution in the future.” Knowing to look from a different perspective is enough to turn a crisis into an opportunity. Eric’s winning edge is not only his creativity, but also his mentality.
The company’s current valuation is over 100 million. Is it Eric’s next goal to list on the stock market and hit the big copper gong at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange? He said with a smile, “That should be the goal of investor.” Eric has an ideal of himself and the company’s future, “We are a team. I hope that my dreams will become the dreams of my partners, and we all work together in the company to realise everyone’s dreams.” Here, we wish Eric’s dreams come true; and can achieve the vision together with more passionate young people.