4 April 2016
Small in size, but big in vision.
We build smart luxury mirrors, ‘Fred’.
By Evelyn Zhao, Spacemob

“When we ask designers and developers what the number one mirror brand in the world, no one had an answer. So we decided to be the answer to that question.” Jonathan was calm, and spoke with undenied conviction.

He then went on to explain the problem with today’s mirrors. “With regular mirrors, little mercury droplets appear over time. We wanted to eliminate that. That was the original problem that we wanted to solve, but after we solved this, we started wondering how we could make the mirror better. And smarter. Our mirrors are waterproof and anti-mist. It’s also android operated, so you can pair it with other accessories like Kolibree smart tooth brushes, Fitbit wearables, smart weighting scales, Kerastase smart hairbrushes…” and he went on with a few more examples. Most of the technologies he named seemed like things I had only read about in TechCrunch. Jonathan kept his calm composure but I can sense the excitement in his voice. Eager to learn more, I asked about their go to market plans.

Jonathan (founder) and Jaramie

“We spent a year working on the R&D and now we’re ready to commercialize. We’re launching in April. So far, I think the response is good, but we also want to look at launching it overseas as well.” Jonathan stated with confidence.

“The whole process of building this mirror is really fun, but I think I’m really lucky to have very good partners and strong support. We’re all friends but from different industries. I shared my vision they decided to come on board to build this thing together.” With a slight pause, Jonathan adjusted his body to directly face me. I instantly felt the intensity of the conversation increase tenfold. “It’s a great feeling to have all your friends to work on a startup with you, even though they’re already successful entrepreneurs on their own. We’re very lucky to have the best people in the field to work on this together.”

Frednology team: Clement, David, Jaramie, Jonathan (founder), Adrian

When asked about challenges, Jonathan did not hesitate to respond, “one of the initial challenges that we experienced was finding a good partner to build this mirror, although we have a very good software team, convincing a listed company to manufacture our mirrors was hard. But we were very lucky. We’re small but big in vision.”

As we continued our chat, I quickly learned how Jonathan’s intensity and gratitude came to be. “The hardest thing was to convince a listed company to spend resources to build the mirrors with us. Their clients included the likes of Hua Wei, Baidu, Samsung, LG — for us to partner with them — we were really really lucky.”

“The most fun part of my day is meeting new people and establishing partnerships,” Jonathan shared. “I learn a lot from the designers, and one of the most interesting things I’ve been asked, is to build an entire ecosystem”. Jonathan’s speech started to pick up pace. “Today, there are government initiatives to build a smart nation, and we’re looking at smart, connected homes-” he pauses, and slips back into his signature calm collected composure and declares with conviction, “In the short term, we’re focused on building the world’s first luxury mirror.”

Jonathan and Jaramie taking selfies!

When asked about life outside of work, Jonathan joked, “I’m a workaholic.” Afraid that I didn’t get his joke, he quickly adds, “but I also love football, cycling, food hunting. One of my favourite new finds is at Serangoon gardens, called Steam Box. The concept originates from Guangzhou.”

Not wanting to take too much time away from his busy day, I asked, “Oh and one last thing, why the name ‘Fred’?” With a cheeky smile, his eyes gleamed with excitement once more, “you know how Jarvis from Ironman stand for ‘Just A Rather Very Intelligent System’? Well, Fred stands for ‘Future Ready Everything Digital’…”