When Chew Jo Han decided to set up a small hydroponic system in his office because his fashion start-up was not doing well, his friends Jayden Koay, Looi Choon Beng and Low Cheng Yang joked that, if nothing else, he could survive on the vegetables grown!
But, jokes aside, Koay, Looi and Low were struck by how the plants were grown using artificial light. With his interest piqued, Koay soon started filling his own balcony at home with hydroponic plants and even converted his bathtub into a germination area for seedlings.
“I started my own system, and my (now business) partners also started to do the same, at home or in their offices, ” said Koay, 32.
They then discovered a common problem – the industry was still in its infancy and materials, equipment like hydroponic (and expensive) fertilisers had to be bought from countries like Japan, Singapore, China and Taiwan.