Alumni Interview: Nicholas Ou, Co-Founder & CEO of Loop Foods
Sri KDU Schools spoke to Sri KDU Secondary School 2012 alumni, Nicholas Ou a Co-Founder and CEO of Loop Foods, a tech-food start-up in Malaysia. Read Nicholas's interview below!
"I have always dreamed of being an entrepreneur and my experience in Sri KDU has taught me the dare to challenge myself. Having been an entrepreneur my whole career, I currently run a food-tech start-up, Loop Foods, where we are building a seed-to-table food value chain. Our objective is to ensure minimal leakages within the food system to ensure we can serve healthy and nutritional food at accessible prices. Essentially, we source directly from farmers and rescue their older produce. The old produce will be passed to our culinary teams to build great menus from what we have procured from our farm partners, and we proceed to launch them as virtual food brands. Our farm partners will depend on customer feedback to improve crop planning and understanding of what they need to grow based on our demands.
Growing up, my biggest personal challenge was punctuality and discipline, and I took a lot of matters lightly. But school allowed me to reflect and improve and that assisted me a lot with my first entrepreneurial venture. I always believed in the holistic education and safe space that Sri KDU had provided my peers and me, along with the opportunity to try new things. I was blessed with teachers like Mr. Asokan and Mr. Saravanan who have both helped me a lot on a personal level by teaching and providing advice that continued to push me to do better.
It is true what they say, it is not about how many resources you have. It is about how resourceful you are! These perspectives gave us a lot of resilience throughout our journey with Loop Foods when we first started. The Covid-19 pandemic gave us a wake-up call to our broken food system, whether from human health, environmental, or climate perspective; our current food system is failing us, and this creates a challenge of feeding a growing population. Everyone had seen the rise of food delivery and we are grateful to have been able to launch and thrive during a pandemic. The whole situation had been a driving force for our start-up; however, it required a lot of sacrifices, grit, and resourcefulness to build a start-up during a worldwide pandemic. When we first launched our first flagship storefront in 2021, we were lucky to have been backed by the Sunway Group as their first restaurant start-up in their portfolio.
There are so many things that a student can do to push themselves or create new opportunities for their future and as a young employer myself, I believe that character and grit of an individual surpasses their technical skills. Students, especially fresh graduates must have the willingness to learn, and being a good executor will help you stand out.
Humility and eagerness to learn are important traits to have but being kind is just as important as taking ownership in the work you do. My advice is, start small and own it.”