The founder of Dash Living shares his journey as a serial entrepreneur and how he modernised the business of urban living
With Dash Living, Aaron Lee makes life easier for young professionals looking for accommodation. The company offers rental properties in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo, including short-term accommodation options, such as homes, serviced apartments and hotel rooms.
Lee has been a serial entrepreneur since he was 17 and is now a philanthropist and angel investor. Here, he gives advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, and shares why he decided to start Dash Living and how he chooses companies to invest in.
I’ve enjoyed solving problems since I was young. I come from a family of professionals and I was educated in the US and exposed to different cultures, which developed my keen interest in numerous subjects. I grew motivated to connect the pieces and find creative solutions to tackle business issues. From my early ventures into fashion, e-commerce and philanthropy to now prop-tech, no problem is ever too big. And the bigger the problem, the more motivated I am as an entrepreneur.
My first business was an events company called Extravaganza. It was a whirlwind of action-packed experiences and really got me excited. What started as a summer project to host a single large event became a series of ongoing bi-annual events. I learnt a lot of important tools that I applied to all my ventures that came later.
When I decided to start Dash Living in 2014, I wanted to provide young, urban professionals with quality, hassle-free serviced accommodation; an all-inclusive, flexible rental period; convenient locations; tenant perks; and facilities to help them thrive in the most expensive cities in the world. Dash Living is more than an accommodation provider. When you choose to stay with us, you’re making a lifestyle choice where you join a community of friendly tenants, who are enthusiastic about meeting new people and find joy in shaping our culture.
The bigger the problem, the more motivated I am as an entrepreneur
Our business is resilient, and we actually grew during the pandemic. Since we are not a tourism business, we have not been too impacted by border restrictions. Demand is strong and our bookings have been growing 200 percent year on year.
I am a keen believer in leading with empathy. We partner with businesses of all shapes and sizes in town to provide benefits for our tenants, which creates a win-win dynamic for the participating business owners in today’s challenging environment. We’re keen to do everything we can to bring a positive change to our community.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, start with identifying a problem, then determine the size of the problem, followed by a solution and its marketability, scalability and price attractiveness. Otherwise, you end up building passion projects as opposed to businesses that solve real problems.