“When I realised that my bank account had insufficient funds to pay for my daughter’s school fees of $6, it was truly a wakeup call. That was when I realised it was time to snap out of it and fulfil my role as the head of the family,” said Jonathan Quek, CEO of Globotix at the time of his rude awakening.
In the early 2010s, before Jonathan Quek became the founder and CEO of Globotix, he had invested all of his savings into a failing educational technology platform that, unfortunately, had flopped. He eventually slipped into depression and spent his subsequent months in a funk. Completely devastated and having lost all motivation, Jonathan spent most of his time in bed and refused to engage in any activities. The Quek family was left with no other alternatives but to survive on his wife’s savings now that the sole breadwinner was out of a job. This realisation spurred Jonathan on to do something about his career, and he ultimately decided to give a go at entrepreneurship once more. Hell-bent on making it a success this time, he went ahead with more grit and determination.
Jonathan eventually established Globotix in 2016 to provide smart cleaning technology as a means to address the manpower shortage in the cleaning industry. But this was no easy feat for him. The early months were faced with sleepless nights, where Jonathan had to learn the workings of the cleaning robots and pick up technical skills to carry out various services such as repairs and maintenance on his own — in an area he had close to zero experience in.
On top of figuring out the business, Jonathan had to cope with his depression and anxiety. Overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety often lead to cold sweats and shortness of breath, a common occurrence during product presentations with investors and business owners. While it was a huge hurdle to overcome, Jonathan made progress with managing his anxiety and credits this to his wife’s unwavering support.
After two years of endless tests and fine-tuning the technology, Jonathan finally got his big break in 2018. He had single-handedly clinched a multi-million dollar deal with Changi Airport Group, allowing Globotix to deploy their cleaning robots at the airport. This also presented him with the opportunity to present Globotix’s cleaning robots to numerous ministers from Singapore and ASEAN, as well as ambassadors from Japan and France.
Today, Globotix has evolved into a market leader in the cleaning technology industry. It is proud to be one of the pioneers in distributing and deploying autonomous cleaning robots in Singapore. From a one-man show, Globotix has now grown into a team of engineers with the ability to develop and customise in-house robots for existing customers.
While Jonathan continues to cope with his mental health struggles, he remains steadfast in his mission to provide smart cleaning solutions to various businesses. By sharing his story, he hopes to encourage fellow business owners struggling with entrepreneurial failure to press on in their journey and that their success will be worth every struggle they encounter. /TISG
Globotix specialises in the niche industry of robotics and high technologies for the environmental sector in Singapore. From as early as 2016, Globotix has been transforming the local Facilities Management scene with AI-enabled robots that channel the powers of computer vision, advanced monitoring, real-time optimisation, analytics software, data streaming, and so much more