David, Chong Tee and Vincent of WateROAM — Water for Life

WateROAM’s co-founders — David Pong, Lim Chong Tee and Vincent Loka — share about the importance of total commitment.

Co-founders of WateROAM, from left to right: Vincent Loka, David Pong and Lim Chong Tee

“How committed are you to success?” WateROAM co-founder David Pong’s Twitter status reads, “Think about your breakfast this morning. The chicken was involved; the pig was committed.”

Jokes aside, David and his team are serious in their total commitment to solving a shortage of clean water in underdeveloped regions. Their dedication to the cause of providing “life, living and livelihood” to rural communities in Southeast Asia gave them the vision to grow their water filtration solution, WateROAM, alongside academic commitments.

“When we came together, we really wanted to impact the world,” said the 27-year-old NUS Business School alumnus, who graduated in 2014.

Founded just two years ago, WateROAM now reaches 25,000 beneficiaries and counting. Their reach extends to an orphanage in Bintan, Indonesia, a village in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and flood victims in Kelantan, Malaysia (Huffington Post).

Vincent, Chong Tee and David with the ROAMfilter Plus. Photo © National University of Singapore

WateROAM’s simple-to-use water solutions are designed to facilitate rural development. These include the ROAMfilter Lite, a compact, easy-to-carry foldable membrane bag that purifies dirty, sand-ridden water in minutes. Its counterparts are the portable ROAMfilter Plus which pumps water like a bicycle pump, and the ROAMfilter Ultra System, which has the capacity to provide an average flow rate of 800 litres per hour.

To date, the team has won a number of awards since inception, such as Best Innovation for the “Early-Stage” category in the 2016 ASEAN Impact Challenge, and winner of the 2015 Shell LiveWIRE Awards.

Supported by the Social Venture Lab @ NUS, WateROAM gains access to incubation facilities at the Hangar @ NUS Enterprise.

What’s their “Why”?

Each of the three co-founders has a personal investment in the cause, which has enabled them to work steadily towards a common purpose.

For Singaporean Lim Chong Tee, 25, the sight of a young boy drinking dirty water from a flooded well in Phnom Penh led him to want to be involved in water sanitation. After this trip, which he went for as a junior college student, the environmental engineer (NUS Faculty of Engineering ’16) chose a major that would enable him to tackle water problems.

For Vincent Loka (NUS Faculty of Engineering ’15), 23, who is originally from Indonesia, it is his desire to serve the country, and “save the world”, that led him to join WateROAM. “I took this path because I hope to contribute to my country some day.”

For David, a finance major, it was about capitalising on opportunity. At the time of his graduation, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) launched its Hydropreneur Programme, and he thought it was a good opportunity to learn about the water innovation space. “Water affects everything in life,” he said.

Advice to Young Entrepreneurs

Chong Tee advises anyone seeking a better world to take action, and create it. “Change will not come if we only dream,” he reflects. “We have to act to be the agent of change we seek.”

To young entrepreneurs, David advises, “If you’re thinking of starting any social enterprise and startups, just go ahead and do it because opportunity cost is low”.

Vincent adds, “If you believe in what you do and have the burning passion to take it to reality, then do it. The last thing you want in life is regret, because you only live once.”

How can you help?

1. Follow WateROAM online (and share their content)

Website / Facebook/ Twitter

2. Contribute to their emergency fundraising portal on Simplygiving, which is used to respond to disaster relief missions as well as projects in rural areas.

3. Contact WateROAM with information on upcoming Overseas Community Involvement Projects (OCIP) that require filtration systems, or refer WateROAM to leads.

Internship Opportunity

Product development assistant, engineering arm

· Support WateROAM’s Product Development team in building potable water filtration systems

· Mechanical engineering background required

· Relevant experience: 3D Modelling, Cadding

· Drive and hunger to learn, explore and innovate

If interested, email your CV to support@wateroam.com


Ready to develop your social enterprise idea?

If you are seeking support for your social enterprise idea, NUS Enterprise has a host of events and funding opportunities to equip you on your journey.

One such programme is the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia — take part and stand a chance to grow your innovative, scalable solution with sustainable impact.

Get on the NUS Enterprise Start-Up Runway, Singapore’s most comprehensive incubator and accelerator, to bring your idea to fruition.

More information on the Social Venture Lab @ NUS is available at our website.