5 Questions with Dustin Jefferson Onghanseng, Co-Founder and CEO of uHoo

Born and raised in the Philippines, Dustin moved to Singapore to pursue a Bachelor of Computing in eCommerce where he first took the leap into entrepreneurship during his time at the National University of Singapore.

Although he was unsuccessful in raising funds for his patented dumbbell design, Dustin gleaned from this first experience that investors are more likely to back startup teams with a proven track record. So he decided to ramp up his work experience by going into management consulting.

After 2+ years of advising senior management of Fortune 100 companies and startup CEOs, Dustin was eager to jump back into startup life and teamed up with his classmates from HKUST’s class of 2015 MBA program to create uHoo.

What is your startup?

uHoo provides personalized information and insights to help people defend themselves against air pollution by enabling long-term and continuous monitoring of a person’s local air quality and health.

uHoo does this through the uHoo indoor air quality (IAQ) sensor that people place in their homes. The uHoo IAQ detects and collects air quality information such as particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide. Users are informed of their home air quality through the uHoo mobile app.

uHoo learns about your habits, your preferences and your lifestyle, as you continue to use it allowing uHoo to provide you with more personalized insights that are particularly relevant to you.

How did you come up with this idea?

It was on the second day I moved in to the dormitory of HKUST. I had a random chat and some scribbles on a piece of paper with a stranger, who turned out to be my classmate in the HKUST MBA program for a year. Our conversation on my passion towards improving people’s health and the healthcare industry with his passion on environmental causes gave birth to this idea.

This is a huge endeavor and we knew we needed a strong team to bring this to reality. We shared our idea with different people and sought their interest to join the team. After five months, we finally found Brian and Yoshi, two friends who shared the similar passion of making people live healthier lives, improving the environment and making great products.

Ever since January, we started participating in various local and international competitions to bring the word out and to obtain perspectives from individuals in various fields. These perspectives were quality input in refining our idea to what it is today.


Who are you targeting and how big is the market in HK/Asia?

Air pollution is a concern around the world with Hong Kong and China appearing frequently in the news. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report earlier this year indicating 7 million deaths in 2012 were caused by air pollution exposure, making air pollution the world’s largest single environmental health risk.

What are your futures plans for your startup?

We believe that people should be equipped to defend themselves against air pollution. We collect air pollution data and provide people with easy to understand insights in order for them to effect a healthy change in their lives. People need to know so they can act.

Insights are just the first step. Stay tuned. Keep yourself up to date by liking our facebook page.

1 Benefit and 1 Challenge in the HK startup scene?

Benefit: Networking is part of Hong Kong’s culture. The number of events held on a weekly, even daily basis, allow you to meet random people. It is a great place to build and expand your network both locally and internationally.

Challenge: In general, people in Hong Kong are not visionaries and are risk averse. The tried, tested and safe road of going into the corporate sector, particularly in finance, still permeates society. Finding talent with the right mindset and skills for startups is an endeavor in itself.

With uHoo, we hope to spark a stronger startup culture in Hong Kong and inspire people to step out of their comfort zone. We want to encourage people to envision how they can effect a positive change in the world.

We believe that startups are not all about big bucks and IPOs. Startups exist to change the world for the better.


uHoo on Startbase.HK: uHoo

Dustin Jefferson Onghanseng on Startbase.HK: Dustin Jefferson Onghanseng

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