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Honestbee’s Jonathan Low: Applying magic and gaming lessons to his startup business

The self-taught magician-turned-startup co-founder shares how his magic gigs and love for gaming helped shape his entrepreneurial spirit


Photos: J.Judisun Photography

“Magic is a type of craft that requires interaction with people and lots of practise to perfect your tricks. What keeps me so interested in magic is the creative process; from creating something out of an idea to constantly tweaking the concept to make it better.”

Explaining the correlation between his magic gigs and startup career as a co-founder of honestbee, a homegrown online grocery concierge and delivery service company, Jonathan Low shares, over a lunch meeting, about his interest and fascination with magic from a very young age.

It was only during his teen years that he started to take a more serious approach towards learning the art of magic. By his University days, he had started a small company with a friend and fellow professional magician, and was performing magic semi-professionally at corporate events.

Little did the hobbyist magician realise that he would one day be applying the same creative process and approach from his magic gigs to his e-grocer business, which Jonathan co-founded with two other partners.

Since co-founding honestbee in July 2015, the startup journey for the young graduate in his mid-twenties, who was armed only with an electrical engineering degree and knew absolutely zilch about business acumen, has been a rather steep but fulfilling learning curve.

For one, being the youngest in a team of older and experienced co-founders and colleagues was a hurdle Jonathan had to learn to overcome. Recalling the early days when he had to play catch-up in order to learn and understand the intricacies of running a business, Jonathan was candid about “being discounted” due to his lack of experience despite wearing the co-founder’s hat.

“As an inexperienced fresh grad, you tend to get discounted especially when you’re from a pure engineering background. So, I had to try my best to earn their respect.”

But the 29-year-old has learned to take it in his stride, in part because of the tough love dispensed by his co-founders, Joel Sng and Isaac Tay, which he is greatly appreciative of until today.

“The underlying message from them is always for me to challenge myself and go beyond my capabilities to overcome the struggle.”

He also attributes his resilience and entrepreneurism to his other hobby – gaming. “My love for computer games has taught me to try, try and try again when I lose. It’s an addictive behaviour you know…that’s what gaming does to you.” (Laughs)

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