When Malaysia recorded the highest number of obesity sufferers in the Southeast Asian country last year, this ordinary Malaysian boy aims to create a running app to help Malaysians lead a more proactive and healthy lifestyle. Interestingly, his app is different than any running apps available in the market. JomRun offers fitness rewards such as a 50% discount on selected restaurants and cafes and many more. Here’s his inspiring story:
1. Chang Yi Hern has a big dream… to create his own fitness app
Born to a middle-class family in Johor Bahru, Yi Hern completed his SPM in Foon Yew High School. While he was supposed to take the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) exam, Yi Hern decided to skip it altogether because Oxford University did not accept UEC results and it was his dream to go to Oxford.
2. Being a super smart student, he was given a full scholarship, twice
Yi Hern used his SPM results to get a full scholarship to do his A-Levels in Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL). With his A-Levels results, Yi Hern was given another full scholarship to Oxford together with RM 50,000 living expenses per year for all four years.
3. He was inspired by ‘Pokemon Go’ app
Towards the end of his second year in 2016, Pokemon Go released and it became a huge hit. The app inspired Yi Hern to build an app of his own too. Coupled with the fact that he used to be an avid long-distance runner in high school, he got the idea to create a running app.
4. He’s ready to let go of high-paying job opportunities
He used to be an intern at JP Morgan and AmInvestment Bank. However, he decided to pursue entrepreneurship because it was his forever dream. Because Oxford students aren’t allowed to start a business while studying, Yi hern’s senior tutor advised him to choose either continue studying or work full-time on his app and startup.
He chose the latter and dropped out of Oxford a year before he was meant to achieve his Masters. Although he did not receive his MEng cert, he still received his BA in Engineering Science.
5. In order to pursue his dream, he had to work multiple part-time jobs to fund JomRun
He worked as a private tutor for A-levels students from other colleges and universities including Oxford Brookes. He even worked as a delivery guy, a bubble tea promoter, a stock investor and more. All the savings he made went into funding JomRun but it was still a struggle, financially.
6. He didn’t get much support from his family
Many adults told him to work full-time before venturing into his own business. Many were sceptical about how he would make a living with an app that gives users free stuff. In spite of all this, he still made an effort to make calls to companies in Malaysia and he did it for two months before he finally closed his first deal.
7. Finally, two established companies willing to fund JomRun
His hard work paid off and he managed to get financial support from two established companies – Sunway Education and NEXEA Angels. From then on, his parents started to show their support and interest as well.
8. Although the app is run by millennials, JomRun made it to number #1 Sports app in Android and iOS app
With just over 110 people in the entire team is actually aged between 20 and 34 years only, JomRun has achieved becoming the number #1 Sports app in Malaysia. Yi Hern hopes to continue expanding into the rest of Asia and South East Asia. Great job young man!