Benjamin Ze-Min Lee
(This is a Chinese name; the family name is Lee)
|Benjamin Ze-Min Lee|
|Born||November 15, 1984|
|📆 Years active||Entrepreneur, investor|
Benjamin Ze-Min Lee (born 15 November 1984) is a Singaporean entrepreneur, investor, public speaker and economic activist. He is best known for his advocacy work via the charitable organisation One Young World, and for taking strong positions on issues such as social mobility, gender equality, and equal access to opportunity.
In addition, he has founded, invested in, or served as an advisor to more than two dozen companies, most of them within the internet or consumer digital media industries. He is an ardent advocate of economic inclusion, which he believes can be achieved through entrepreneurship and education.
Early life and education
Born in Singapore, Lee spent his childhood in between Beijing, Hong Kong and the San Francisco Bay Area. At the age of 12, Lee earned two scholarships to attend the prestigious Raffles Institution, and thereafter returned to Singapore as a boarding student. He later attended University College London, where he obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree with honours. He also obtained a postgraduate degree in Management from King's College London
While still a student in London, Lee served as a consultant to the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
Lee's early entrepreneurial ventures included an on-demand housekeeping service, an expatriate lifestyle platform, a media agency, and an integrated media brand focusing on men’s lifestyle within the gaming community. Two of his companies were acquired by the time he was 27.
In 2013, Lee founded the interactive urban discovery app Sugar. The company was active in Singapore, Hong Kong and Jakarta, and quickly built up a following of close to 100,000 users within a year of its launch. Sugar was regarded as one of the best urban discovery apps within its active markets, and was widely featured on 'must have' lists of apps by Lifestyle Asia. Stuff. The Online Citizen, Teenage, DealStreetAsia, and Vulcan Post. Under Lee's leadership, Sugar obtained more than $3.3 million in funding from investors including Koh Boon Hwee, Lim Ho Kee, Keith Magnus, and Olivier Lim, attaining a peak valuation of approximately $13 million.
Lee announced to shareholders that Sugar was no longer in a position to continue its operations in 2016, citing heavy losses and a lack of opportunities to secure additional funding.
In 2017, Lee co-founded the learning platform Sapio, describing it as a sharing economy for learning. Lee, whose parents were both educators, has expressed disappointment at how the conventional education system is no longer fit for purpose, leaving students in huge amounts of debt but without applicable skills with which to establish a career in the new economy.
Lee has announced plans for Sapio to offer a wide range of 'mass-customised' learning content in an array of formats including private sessions, group classes and audio streaming products, in line with the company's philosophy of making learning 'aspirational, actionable and accessible'.
Volunteer work and advocacy
Lee is a strong advocate for social mobility and equal access to opportunity, based around the notion that 'one's present circumstances should not be determined solely by the conditions of their birth'.
He is an advisor to the charity organisation One Young World, and is principally responsible for its activities in Asia. He has been instrumental in fostering greater social involvement among young leaders on the continent, focusing on issues such as community leadership, environmental conservation, education, and catalytic philanthropy. Lee is also an Ambassador of the Tutu Foundation.
- "5 apps that every Singaporean foodie should have - Lifestyle Asia Singapore". Lifestyle Asia. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Made-in-Singapore: 11 free apps you need to download now". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Food discount apps in Singapore that let you eat on the cheap". 8 October 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "8 Must-Download Apps To Make Your Life Easier". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Sugar raises $720k seed round, plans HK expansion - DealStreetAsia". www.dealstreetasia.com. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- Hwei, Liang (10 July 2014). "Sugar App Could Be The Savior of Small Businesses". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Tutu Foundation Website". www.tutufoundationuk.org. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
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