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Co-Founder and CEO of Aigens
Co-Founder and CEO of Aigens
Disrupt for a better restaurant experience
Hans Paul is an HKUST MBA graduate. He is now the Co-Founder and CEO of Aigens, the home-grown restaurant technology company that has forever transformed the F&B industry in the city.
Aigens' hero solution is a customer self-ordering software usable on smartphones, tablets, and in-store kiosks. We now use the solution virtually every day when we dine in, and Aigens was the trailblazer who first launched the technology in Hong Kong.
A win-win solution for diners and eateries
Hans co-founded Aigens in 2012 with his business partner and CTO, Peter Liu. “We’ve seen technological disruptions in many industries, like Uber for commute and Amazon for e-commerce,” shares Hans. “Yet technology has remained quite stagnant in F&B, and we thought it's time to breathe new life into the scene.”
Aigens' solution aims to provide diners with a better customer experience. It also helps restaurants streamline operations, increase efficiency, and focus resources on serving customers and driving sales.
The solution also puts customer insights in restaurants' hands, allowing them to understand customer behavior and preferences better. This helps raise the bar in the dining experience in the long run.
Getting equipped for that one clear goal in mind
Hans always knew he'd start a business someday, even while studying for his bachelor's degree in computer science and statistics in the United States.
"My academic training had always been focused on tech. However, after working for a few years as a solution consultant, I felt it was time to fast track my growth and equip myself as an entrepreneur-to-be," shares Han.
"That's when I pursued an MBA at HKUST, and, in retrospect, the program had well exceeded my original expectations — it taught me what I didn’t know."
In the one-year program, Hans became acquainted with classmates with diverse backgrounds and expertise, which helped to hone an entrepreneurial mentality, and is most thankful for the decision-making skills learned.
"There are always risks involved in every decision. It helps you know how to calculate risks and make an educated one, and I've been benefitting from this till today."
Be your own cheerleader
Speaking of the most significant challenge by far, Hans says there will always be different challenges at different stages of a business.
"At the early stage, capital shortage is a common problem, or people just don't buy your idea," recalls Hans. "Hiring can be tough, too."
Despite all the problems that most definitely will arise, it’s most crucial to stay resilient and maintain a positive mindset, advises Hans.
"There will be a lot of uncertainties ahead. You'll need to know how to be your own cheerleader and stay optimistic as you ride the ebbs and flows of your business and whatever life throws at you," says Hans with a smile.
Starting a business is a life decision
Today, Aigens is a regional player in the restaurant tech space, hiring 120 employees across six regional offices in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. "We look to go global one day," envisions Hans.
To those who are thinking of starting their own business, Hans suggests they must know what they're getting themselves into.
"It's a major life decision, and it’ll require your full commitment. Be ready for this," advises Hans. "Keeping this in mind, balance your vision with a sense of pragmatism, and you're off to a good start."