Founded date: 2020
Resilience is nothing new to Andrew Shih, co-founder of Mustard Seed Ventures Pt. Ltd. Beating cancer at the age of 14, he is determined to not allow fear to hold him back from reaching his goal - creating Singapore’s first truly climate-controlled micro farm.
Mustard Seed Ventures Pt. Ltd., founded in 2019, created and manufactured Aējou Growfridge - Singapore’s first plug-and-play micro farm that can provide any home with efficient indoor vegetable farming, all with the swipe of a finger. The idea was formed by three friends Darren - vegetable farmer, Andrew - a metal manufacturer and his wife Eva - a banker. With their backgrounds complementing each other, it’s no wonder that Aējou Growfridge has grown to be as successful as it is today. But as most founders can relate to, the journey to where they are now did not begin without a hitch.
‘The road to starting one’s own business
is a challenging and oftentimes discouraging journey.’
Entering a new market could be good for business, as it would mean that there isn't much competition already existing. But pioneering a new product meant that their team had to overcome a lot of ‘firsts’. The process of creating their all-in-one compact modular hydroponics system was no easy feat. This resulted in several setbacks in engineering and design. As the refrigerator was one of the closest products existing to what they were trying to achieve, they met up with a lot of experts in this field. Unfortunately, none was able to help with a solution to their troubles. This is when the doubts seeped in. The founding team started questioning themselves if this product was achievable. But they did not let this get them down, they concluded that if there were no solutions available in the market - they would develop one.
Fast forward to a year and a half of countless iterations and perseverance, the Aējou Growfridge is now created into reality and even surpassing the founders' expectations. They are now Singapore’s first climate-controlled micro farm with a built-in cooling system. Growing seeds to harvest without the need for any repotting/transplanting from microgreens to herbs, mushroom, leafy greens and even flowers. Together with an app that allows users to operate the GrowFridge while providing crop nutritional benefits, crop information, harvest cycles and more! Their core team is nothing but proud and happy of the results. Being first-hand users themselves, they are still amazed to harvest produce from the product that they have brought to life.
When asked about what they did to achieve their success, Andrew revealed the 3 things that helped them get to where they are today: trusting in vision, staying true to themselves and ignoring the naysayers. Qualities that, as proven by their story, are essential to success.