In Focus - Issue 29 (Spring 2018)

30 IN FOCUS Alumni Roundup Sweet smell of success ichelle ( BEng in Logistics Management and Engineering) is on a roll. In , the then School of Engineering undergraduate from Indonesia, who goes by a single name, launched Aromeo, a start-up centering on a novel automated aromatherapy di user. Assistance from School alumni helped Michelle and her team fathom the business world. Recently, as recognition of the success of such inter-cohort support, she received seed funding from the Hong Kong X Technology Fund, part of the Hong Kong X-Tech Startup Platform that promotes an entrepreneurial culture in Hong Kong, to take her “Nespresso for aromatherapy” concept to the next level. Already an aromatherapy enthusiast when a student at HKUST, Michelle said the idea for her business arrived when she found herself having to stop what she was doing to replenish the water and essential oil in her manual di user. During a Year cross-border program on global product development, Michelle undertook market research on her automated di user concept with fellow students from HKUST, Seoul National University and Beihang University. The team con rmed there was a demand for such a product, then went ahead with the product design. The result was aromatherapy pods that could be inserted into the smart di user, controlled through an app that allows users to schedule a time for it to run and adjust the oil blends being used. Michelle was later introduced to Simon Law, a School of Engineering alumnus ( Master of Technology Management in Global Logistics Management) and Managing Director of Excel Technology Management Ltd. Simon had been instrumental in setting up the Master of Technology Management (MTM) Alumni Association and later founded Excel with MTM alumni and Industrial Engineering and Decision Analytics senior academic Prof Fugee Tsung to invest in projects employing technology developed at universities to help solve daily-life problems. Support from fellow alumni has given a young engineering graduate the opportunity to advance her smart aromatherapy diffuser start-up M Recent graduate Michelle and investor-mentor Simon Law come from different generations of School of Engineering alumni but share the same entrepreneurial outlook.