Joel Leong


In the second of a four-part #futureeconomy series on Singaporean entrepreneurs and businesses, we interview Joel Leong, co-founder of Shopback – a fast growing online cashback platform.

We asked Joel a few questions about his lifestyle and what’s trending. Aspiring entrepreneurs won’t want to miss this — read on to find out the best advice Joel’s ever received.

1. What’s your morning fuel (drink)? Send us a photo of it!

Ayataka Japanese Green Tea is my all-day fuel from day to night! I’m lucky that we’ve an endless supply of that in our fridge 24/7. :)

2. What are the trends that you’re most excited about?

Revolutions in tech that happen every few years always excite me. These allow new companies with new ideas to join the ranks of tech giants.

  • In the 1990s: there was Microsoft/Apple
  • In the 2000s: Google/Yahoo/Amazon/Alibaba, and
  • In the 2010s: Uber/Airbnb /Mobikes.

I’m excited to be living in this era because there are constant opportunities to take over the world (so to speak). The question is — will it be us?

3. What’s one skill Singaporeans should pick up today?

Risk-taking. By taking risks, you boost your chances for potential gains and payoffs.

I’m not saying everyone should take up entrepreneurship or go into start-ups, but take some career risk. From choosing a major in tertiary institutions to picking a career, try placing emphasis on growth potential over instant gratification. It has opened my eyes to a wider world and I believe it’ll do the same for others too.

4. In your opinion, is expanding overseas critical for growth?

It depends on the growth ambitions of the company. You can create a good company solely in Singapore. However, if you can create a good company in Singapore, why not tap the overseas markets to create a great one?

5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Time is your biggest asset. You become what you spend your time on.

Great athletes spend years training hard to achieve greatness. If someone spends minimal time on something, it should be no surprise that they don’t excel in it.

6. Do you have a favourite life hack/time-saving shortcut?

Do first, apologise later. If you really believe very strongly in something, you should be willing to put yourself on the line for it.

7. What’s the last thing you purchased via Shopback?

I booked a hotel through Booking.com! Did I mention that I got an upsized 9% Cashback from ShopBack? That’s easily 40 cans of free Ayataka Japanese Green Tea that’ll last me for two weeks — if I’m ever out of the office and need to buy them, that is. ;)

More inspiring stories here.