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NTU EEE alumni in Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia 2018” for their fintech start-up

L-R: FOMO Pay co-founders & CEO Louis Liu Xi, COO Zack Yang Zhan, CTO Zhu Chenyang​

NTU EEE alumni, Mr Liu Xi, Louis (Class of 2015) and Mr Yang Zhan, Zack (Class of 2016) are easily an electrifying duo, and they are blazing a trail with their financial technology company, FOMO Pay Pte Ltd! The pair is recognised in this year’s “Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia: Finance & Venture Capital” line-up. Louis is the CEO, while Zack is the COO, and both are co-founders of FOMO Pay. Established in 2015, their start-up is opening up vendors in Southeast Asia to cashless payments. FOMO Pay is a multi award-winning alternative payment platform which is the first of its kind, allowing merchants to accept a full suite of digital payments including NETS Pay, VISA QR and WeChat Pay. The company is also sitting in the central bank SGQR taskforce to jointly develop a common QRCode standard for Singapore.

We find out more from the pair about FOMO Pay and how NTU School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (NTU EEE) supported them in their entrepreneurial aspirations at the start!

How do you feel being recognised in the “Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2018”, and who would you like to thank?
Louis: I would like to give this credit to the entire FOMO Pay team, and we were all thrilled when news came out on that Monday morning! There was no previous signal or notification. I think it is a great international recognition for our company’s vision as a Singapore Fintech start-up which aims to promote financial inclusion and a cashless society. In addition to that, the Forbes’ list of Finance & Venture Capital is the most competitive category which attracted hundreds of strong nominated candidates.

Zack: When the news was out, I was totally surprised after waiting for more than 6 months, and finally everything felt worth it. Forbes 30 Under 30 is just the right award that recognises the efforts that we have spent for the last 3 years, and I would like to thank all the teams that survived this arduous journey of ours.

Why do you think you were awarded the Forbes title?
Louis: FOMO Pay recently launched its proprietary QR interoperability solution to help two largest digital wallets from different countries to connect with each other. This is the first of its kind in the mobile payment industry worldwide! FOMO Pay is also sitting in Singapore’s “SGQR Taskforce”, co-led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), to help develop a common QR code standard for Singapore.

What inspired FOMO Pay, and how has the journey been, to get to where the company is at today?
Louis: 2015 was the year of mobile payment, where tons of digital wallets launched into the market. It was a fragmented and competitive market. The merchants were very confused, they did not know which digital wallets to connect to, and they did not have the space and time to connect one by one. Thus, I believed the market needed an aggregator for mobile payments.

That’s how FOMO Pay started, we found our strong unique selling point and competitive advantage, and we are now the largest payment aggregator and solution provider in Singapore! To date, we are servicing 4000+ merchants including Changi Airport, Holiday Inn, Chanel, Marina Bay Sands Singapore, Singapore Press Holdings, Starhub etc. The team consists of about 30 people now, all based in Singapore. We aim to play a critical role in promoting Singapore to be a cashless society and smart nation!

To date, some of the achievements of FOMO Pay are the following:

How do you think your experiences at NTU EEE contributed towards your success today?
Louis: I formed up the FOMO Pay team in Year 3, and we were selected to be in the first batch of Garage@EEE (a makers’ lab at NTU EEE). The school provided the workplace and necessary tools to facilitate our design and development. Hence, we developed our first prototype in NTU EEE! Meanwhile, the school gave us a lot of support for media and branding, which was very helpful for an early stage start-up.

Also, I was awarded the EEE Excellence Award (an award that promotes an all-round education and recognise outstanding achievements in CCAs and general excellence in academic performance among NTU EEE students) 2015 in my cohort.

Zack: I was taking the Information Engineering & Media (IEM) programme under the school of EEE, and both IEM & EEE are the programmes that contribute several, if not most of the entrepreneurs in the whole of NTU. I really appreciated the workshops, seminars, and guest speeches conducted by the school – they brought me a lot of access to the business world even when I was still a student, and prepared me in my mindset & skillset!

What’s keeping you busy these days?
Louis: FOMO Pay is going through a fast growth, it’s important for a start-up founder to keep improving himself professionally and personally and keep up with the pace of the company growth, which is critical for a sustainable long term growth.

Zack: Being involved in a start-up is a road less travelled, and no one knows exactly what should the next step be. In this world of uncertainties, we never know when challenges come, but instead we can prepare ourselves to be ready before they come.

In my free time, I will often go for a swim, and this is the time that I can stay centred with myself and reflect on my own, without any distraction.

What’s your advice for NTU EEE students and also, aspiring entrepreneurs?
Louis: Follow your heart and choose your own lifestyle! Land a career where your passion lies, and work with good people. Where you spend your time is the biggest investment.

Zack: I want to quote these words from Steve Jobs, “Stay hungry, stay foolish”. NTU EEE is famous for its “one degree, many opportunities”, if you haven’t figured out what you should specialise in, don’t worry, keep looking, and don’t settle!

Lastly, any other interesting details to share?
Louis: The entire FOMO Pay team graduated from Singapore’s universities. We do appreciate the training and education we learnt from school. We appreciate the value, the way of thinking, the art of communication which were cultivated in school throughout the four years of study. We did not realise how important they were until we started our start-up journey! We are really grateful to our “mother school” and always happy to contribute back to the community. We are also keen to work with schools on IA/PA/IO, or any project based internship programme.

Zack: I would also like to give special thanks to NTU EEE Prof Andy Khong, Associate Chair (Students), or Andy, as he prefers us to call him just that. He has given me a lot of advice during my hard times, since we knew each other before I entered university. From the struggles between different schools, to the conflicts between study and work, he has really helped me a lot.

To find out more about FOMO Pay, go HERE.

FOMO Pay Co-founder and CEO Mr Liu Xi, Louis

FOMO Pay Co-founder and COO Mr Yang Zhan, Zack at the Forbes ceremony at Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange

Zack with NTU EEE prof Andy Khong
Published on 6 June 2018
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