In September, we had the opportunity to share a coffee with Callum Laing in order to talk about Ahera Fitness to write an article on his website Asian Entrepreneur.
Rudy Makes It Possible To Train with Your Friends Anywhere at Anytime!
What’s your story? I was born and raised into a sporty family in France. And I have always been interested in travelling and sports products development. After many years of working for top sports companies as a Product Developer in Europe, I decided to create my own fitness-related company – Ahera Fitness – in Hong Kong.
What excites you most about your industry? Developing an entire solution for fitness athletes is super exciting. There is not a single day where I haven’t learnt new things. At Ahera, we have developed hardware plus an App to help people remain motivated during their fitness journeys. We have interviewed hundreds of athletes, physios, developers, and everyone has shared a piece of advice that has helped Ahera to grow.
What’s your connection to Asia? Three years ago, we wanted to move away from Europe, and from our comfort zone, in order to discover a new culture and working environment. We also wanted a location from where we could easily travel around Asia. This is the reason why we decided to move to Hong Kong. It is the perfect place between culture, modernism, outdoor space, and ease of travel. When we first moved here, we thought we would only stay 2 years and then move back to Europe. Three years later, we think this city still has so much more to offer so we are staying in Hong Kong indefinitely.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why? I have only had the opportunity to do business in Hong Kong and this city is amazing for new businesses. The startup community is always ready to help, give advice, or introduce you to someone who will be a key player in your company’s development.
In addition, we work very closely with our supplier who is based in Shenzhen. Before the pandemic, we were able to go there for a day to quickly fix issues.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? I have had great mentors during my company startup journey, but I think the best advice I received was, “It is in the low moments that you learn the most.”
Creating a company is like a big roller coaster and it is easy to give up when things go south, but this is when you have to work even harder, especially when you are the CEO. You are the one who has to believe, more than anyone else, in your ideas.
Who inspires you? My parents and my wife. They are always here for support and they do not miss a chance to kick my ass when it is needed when I get lazy, or the opposite if I am over-dedicated to a project.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? I am blown away by the brain’s ability to control your body. When I am working and doing ultrarunning, there are massive periods of energy bursts, as well as some stress. When I am fully dedicated to performing a task, I am able to be hyper-focused and can stay awake for many long hours. But, as soon the project or mission is completed the brain orders my body to rest, sleep, and regenerate, until the next challenge. This is why it is important to divide long and tough projects into manageable tasks and finish them one by one!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently? Just like in real life, from time to time, I make very impulsive decisions without thinking much about future consequences, plus, I may not really listen to the advice I might receive. For example, we hurried the introduction of our first product to market even when it wasn’t fully ready to be presented.
It is a useless waste of energy to dwell on mistakes. It is far more powerful to transform them into learning experiences.
How do you unwind? Without any doubt, SPORTS is my way to relax. I began to participate in endurance sports when I was a kid and I continue to push my physical limits. I believe it is very important to keep regular sports activities going as part of a healthy way to manage stressful periods at work, especially when working to deadlines. At first, it might look like you are wasting an hour of your time, but you feel so much better and your brain is back to 200% afterwards. It is a definite gain!!!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why? It is very hard to name only one destination. Every city in Asia has a strong culture, a unique atmosphere, and great food. When I travel, I always totally disconnect and my phone is on Airplane mode. This helps me relax even more and forget about what’s happening in Hong Kong. The place where I have had the most relaxing time and have returned to multiple times in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. It is very close to Tokyo and Puerta Galera in the Philippines.
Everyone in business should read this book: While I am in Hong Kong, I do not spend enough time reading books so I make sure I read books while travelling, waiting for a plane, while on the plane, and at the beach. I try to read “educational” books in order to keep learning.
The best book I have read so far, and I think most of the entrepreneurs have read it too, is: “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” by Simon Sinek. It is a MUST READ.
Shameless plug for your business: In September 2019, after months of being injured due to “ultra running” and many hours spent doing rehab in a sports clinic in Hong Kong, I knew it was time to add some weight lifting and core training into my training routine.
But at that time, I couldn’t find any products on the market able to accurately track my training in realtime and share it with my community and personal trainer. This is how the idea was born to create Ahera.
At Ahera, we have developed an entire solution combining a connected wearable named Osia to its dedicated application in order to guide and motivate people to exercise more at gyms or at home.
Ahera allows you to set up your fitness goals, share weightlifting activities, and track your daily progress while interacting with fellow fitness pals.
Please visit our website: https://www.aherafitness.com to learn more about us.
How can people connect with you? I am very responsive to different social media platforms or by mail and am always happy to share advice and feedback. You can visit my LinkedIn profile. Our Instagram page @ahera_fitness or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter handle? You can follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/aherafitness
Please visit Callum's website in order to find more incredible interviews from founders based in Asia.