In a world where there aren’t enough ladies leading the technology industry, meet three women who are bucking the trend by harnessing the power of tech to revamp the way we buy homes, date and even grow older.
It’s no secret that the tech sector is dominated by men. According to a 2014 manpower survey by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), women make up only 30 per cent of the tech workforce in Singapore. This gender ratio is mirrored globally, where only around a third of employees at tech juggernauts like Google and Apple are women, based on worldwide employee data for 2015.
But did you know that women are responsible for some of the core innovations that drive our economy today? Yes, members of the fairer sex are shaking up the industry in ways never seen before and their technological achievements are making our lives easier, better and more fulfilling. Get acquainted with them now.
“We want to help people save money on their homes”
Race Wong (left), 34, and Rhonda Wong, 31, Co-Founders of OhMyHome Singapore
Buying a home is no small matter, and with the property market in flux it could be one of the most stressful things you do in life. Two sisters are riding out the wave with OhMyHome, an app that connects HDB buyers and tenants directly to potential sellers and landlords, without the need for any agents, to save future home owners some big bucks in the process.
Empowering Buyers: “No matter what industry you’re in there’s always a way to innovate and make things more efficient. We were already involved in the real estate business before this, but when tech became a big thing, we started brainstorming and that’s how OhMyHome was hatched. We realised that there wasn’t a dedicated portal where people could post their HDB sale notices for free and search for homes for free. Up to 82 per cent of Singaporeans live in HDBs, so we wanted to help them save money.”
Savings Galore: “Our app definitely helps makes people’s lives easier. We have over 100,000 people on our database currently, and we’ve managed to help people save more than $300,000 in commissions through our agent services alone. The app is free and any transactions made are between buyers and sellers only, but we do provide agent services for a flat fee of under $3,000, which is much less than the agent’s commissioning fee you would have to pay otherwise.”
Users First: “We’ve only been around since 2016 and we’re not making a profit yet, but that’s not our goal right now. Our core driving motivation is improving lives. We’re still trying to improve our app, our execution and our range of services. In fact, OhMyHome is getting a brand new update with a new user interface at the end of May, but users will have to redownload the app to enjoy the new benefits. We always ask ourselves if we are making things more efficient for users. We could potentially make a profit from the updated services we add on to our portal, but this should never compromise our users’ experiences. Our users will never be paying for overpriced services, because the bottom line is that we want to bring them savings and value.”
“My goal is to create one million happy marriages”
Violet Lim, 37, CEO and Founder of Lunch Actually & LunchClick
It was 2004 when Violet Limsaw a business opportunity in matchmaking. The spark? Complaints from her single friends that they couldn’t find Mister or Miss Right. This led her to start Lunch Actually, Asia’s biggest premier dating company.
Keeping Things Fresh: “Over the past 13 years we’ve added different products and services to help singles find love. We had a brick and mortar location first then we went into online dating in 2007. We’ve also launched LunchClick, a mobile-based app.
Not A Copycat: “Our dating app caters to the serious dater. Think older singletons or divorcees who are looking for a serious relationship that will lead to marriage. Users are only sent a limited number of matches a day. We focus on quality, not quantity. People tend to get confused when they are presented with too many choices. In this sense, technology can both help and hinder when it comes to love. That’s why we don’t have a chat feature. Chatting can sometimes nip a budding romance in the bud and lead to stale conversations.”
Eye On The Prize: “We also started Lunch Actually Academy to coach people on certain aspects of dating. For example, we have a class on WhatsApp etiquette for people who get nervous when texting. Ultimately, we want to keep disrupting our business model. From day one, I never thought that Lunch Actually would be the perfect dating platform. There’s no such thing, because different things work for different people so we have to evolve. My ultimate big, hairy, audacious goal is to achieve one million happy marriages!”
“We aim to disrupt the ageing experience”
Gillian Tee (left), 34, and Lily Phang, 43; Co-Founders of Homage
As a “super-aged” country, where data from the National Population and Talent Division shows that one in five people are aged 65 or older, access to in-home elderly care is more important than ever. Enter Homage, a Singapore-based startup that connects quality healthcare givers to families who need help with seniors.
Subverting Stigmas: “Healthcare is not purely medical. A lot of people think only about the medical aspect of healthcare and wellness, but medical science doesn’t equip us to know how to deal with ageing and how to age well; not just staying alive but being alive. Really what we’re trying to do with Homage is to make people more aware of what it means to remain independent and be autonomous.”
Women On A Mission: “We hope we are disrupting the healthcare sector, but at the end of the day it’s about the quality of care for social conditions that can be managed from the home. A lot of what our carers deal with are daily activities that people need assistance with like eating, feeding, showering, taking medication and so on. They’re things you and I take for granted every day because it’s so easy for us.”
On Demand Care: “You can hit a stage in your life, whether you’re young or old, where you can no longer have that luxury. So what do we need to be able to have that control over our lives? We need more people to assist us. So it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when home-based care will become completely mainstream.”