Thirty-year-old Japhet Lim is the co-founder of the Reubiks Academy app that aims to connect learners to trainers and tutors as seamlessly and easily as possible. Prior to this, Lim was involved in teaching, education, and technology-based project management.
“I am a big believer in the importance of education. Therefore, I began my career in training others, starting with a topic and skill that I mastered early in life — forex trading,” shares Lim. “Eventually, I realized that I could do more than impart financial knowledge and trading skills, believing that I had what it took to contribute more to the education space via technology,” he adds.
Tell us more about Reubiks Academy.
Reubiks Academy is a mobile app that connects and matches learners to their trainers and tutors. However, I think that it is so much more than that.
While business matchmaking is not a fresh idea for mobile apps, it has not been efficiently and effectively implemented in the education industry. There are also parents out there using dated ways of finding tuition centers and tutors for their children. Many end up calling a number and getting assigned a random tutor who is quite a distance away, when there could be a tuition centre just downstairs from where they live!
Prior to setting up Reubiks, an app that helped parents find dance, taekwondo, or skating classes for their children did not exist. There was also nothing that allowed them to efficiently compare the prices of their options. As a result, they blindly relied on Google, which is never a guarantee.
These scenarios are inefficiencies that the learning industry currently faces and I envision the Reubiks app to be able to disrupt and change all that.
How has your entrepreneurial joueny been so far?
My journey has been extremely exciting. While not every venture was successful, there are lessons learned with every experience. What I find valuable is that I am able to take those lessons with me on my next journey. I suppose you could say that the Reubiks Academy app is the culmination of those lessons. After being through so many ventures, I am now clear on what I want to do and I am able to provide added value for those looking to learn.
I have always been adventurous in what I do because I like to experience the different things life has to offer. I also realized that I didn’t like following rules all the time. I prefer to think and act independently. You could say these traits eventually led to a deep desire to become an entrepreneur.
What do you think has been your greatest challenge?
It is exceedingly difficult for entrepreneurs to paint their vision when they first start out because most people will only believe in something after they see it. Because of that, the number of rejections is staggering.
That was the challenge I had when I started the Reubiks app. So many tutors and trainers would turn me down and say that it’s a stupid idea. I overcame those rejections by smiling, thanking them for their time, and working harder. Bit by bit, we managed to improve the app and found tutors/trainers who supported us. Soon, the naysayers returned to ask if they could join the app. I guess the only resolution to this is to really show the world that you are serious about you’re doing.
What made you pursue your entrepreneurial journey within the academic space and how did you manage all the work needed despite still being in university at the time?
A lot of sacrifice. While my peers were posting photos of their overseas trips on Instagram, I had no Instagram account! In fact, I spent most of my money treating prospects to coffee, going for courses, and dabbling in investments. I also joined networking clubs that allowed me to meet people and strengthen my connections.
I did not spend my university days doing what most university students were doing. Instead of spending my money on exploring the world as many do at that age, I spent it on teaching myself and ultimately discovering what I wanted to do with my life.
That is how I knew I wanted to delve deep into the education tech industry.
How do you see Reubiks Academy evolving in the future?
The evolution of Reubiks Academy can be summarized into the A-D-A model. The first A stands for Accessibility. The Reubiks App aims to fulfill that as it aims to increase accessibility to education.
D stands for Deliverability. While there are many lessons and classes out there, most content is still delivered in a linear fashion and much of this content does not reach the students. By investing in Augmented Technology and Virtual Reality Technology, Reubiks aims to improve the deliverability of content and ensure that technical content is delivered in an interesting and interactive fashion.
The final A stands for “Absorbability'', which refers to the ability of the student to absorb and learn. Every student learns in a different way. Our aim in investing in AI is targeted towards enabling specific strategies that can be tailored to ensure that the student is most receptive to the mode of teaching.
Share with us some of your productivity secrets.
- If you are an Asian, function on Asian time. This means to sleep early and wake up early. While some may argue that they are more efficient at night, this is just a feeling and not scientifically backed. It is however, scientifically proven that humans work better in the morning and rest better at night.
- Do not work at the same place where you rest. If you sleep in that room, then that room is the last place you should be working in.
- Go for breaks. Anti-climactic, I know, but so many people forget this and they just keep forcing their brains to think. The brain is a muscle, it needs to relax before it can stretch again.
- Find the right mentor. While many people have study or work buddies, I think that working with a mentor who is physically around is more productive compared to working with a friend. A mentor reminds you of your goals and renews your drive to succeed.
For other young, hopeful entrepreneurs, can you share some words of advice?
Be as highly optimistic as you can possibly be. As an entrepreneur, you are choosing to believe first and see later, but understand that most people believe after they see it. With this in mind, you need to know that the road ahead can get lonely and the only fuel that can keep you going is optimism and faith in your product.
If your motivation is money, then do not be an entrepreneur. You can broker deals, hold a high paying job, or do something else, but do not be an entrepreneur. Optimism can only exist if you have a higher calling than money.