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In Hong Kong they need more sleep – enter SLEEEP

Posted 3 years ago in Small business by Tessa Khoo
Posted by Tessa Khoo

Sleep is an essential activity for everyone, everyday, everywhere. But in some densely populated cities like Hong Kong, many people simply aren’t getting enough of it. Especially young professionals looking to advance their career. For them, sleep has become a precious luxury. Lifelong friends Jun Rivers and Alex Kot saw an opportunity to address this issue in a creative and sustainable way. And their solution is SLEEEP.

Solving the problem one SLEEEP at a time

SLEEEP is a capsule hotel with a philosophy of sustainability, technology and innovative problem solving. Capsule hotels originated in Japan in the 1970s, catering to business people who missed their train home. Capsule hotels rent small sleeping pods instead of full sized rooms.

SLEEEP infuses this core concept with new purpose, design and technology, and aims to appeal to a more mainstream market. SLEEEP is centrally located to offer an urban sanctuary for local workers and visitors alike to relax and recharge, whenever they need it.

Guests can book by night or by hours, can check-in online, and enter the hotel with QR codes downloaded onto their mobile phone. They can even personalise their sleeping environment before they arrive — including mattress firmness, pillow type, and blanket thickness. Further innovations, like noise-resistant doors and scientifically-backed circadian lighting, ensure guests enjoy the best sleep possible.

The origin of a problem-solving business

Alex and Jun dreamed up SLEEEP in response to a competition at Harvard University, asking for proposals to address overpopulation in urban environments. Alex and Jun decided to tackle the issue of limited space.

With Jun’s extensive architectural and design background, and Alex’s strong grasp of business operations, the two made the perfect team.

Tapping into the unexplored market of naps

Hong Kong ranks among the most sleep deprived cities in the world. The city’s rising property prices force people to live further away from the CBD and endure longer commutes. Furthermore fierce competition for well-paying jobs leads to longer working hours, crumbling work-life balance, and pervasive exhaustion. Socially and personally, it’s not sustainable.

In recent years, diet and exercise have become especially hot topics in Hong Kong. But the value of sleep remains underappreciated. Alex and Jun saw a great opportunity to explore this market and provide an unexpected solution to the issue.

“In a densely populated city like Hong Kong, people are often overworked and stressed in the name of pursuing a better living standard,” says Alex. “We find that contradictory and unsustainable. We think that by providing an urban sanctuary for people to take a break, we could give people a breather in a suffocating environment.”

Bridging time and space with Xero

Jun and Alex depend on Xero to keep their business running smoothly. Why? Because they’re separated by over 7,000 miles and a 16-hour time difference. Jun works in LA and Alex is in on the ground in Hong Kong.

“Xero being on the cloud let me and Jun have access to the same financial data anytime of the day,” Alex explains. “We see the same data, we see the same graphs drafted from that data. So we don’t need to keep our excels updated, or worry that it’s not synchronised — we just let Xero to take care of it.”

What could have been a logistical nightmare is simple with cloud accounting technology. “We’re so amazed that it’s possible, and that it’s been working,” Jun says. “Xero really simplifies this whole thing.”

The importance of choosing the best software for the job

Alex and Jun are very selective with the software infrastructure they use to run their business. “We want that standard of quality to be evident to ourselves and our staff,” Jun says. “It’s like Jiro in his sushi movie. He talks about ‘if you’re a good chef, you have to eat good food to improve your tastebuds’, and Xero is kind of like that software for us. It’s beautifully designed, it’s simple, it’s really considerate of the user experience. Xero does that very well.”

Xero allows Jun and Alex to work closely with their accountant, Alex So, gold partner from Fastlane Pro accountants. In the past, Alex So could only provide reports monthly — including the cash summary and financial reports. With Xero, and the HSBC daily feeds, they can see up-to-date numbers at a glance. Daily bank reconciliations remove the guesswork, so they can see an accurate picture of their cash flow every day.

Xero’s powerful and flexible reporting let Alex and Jun make smarter decisions every day. “It basically answers all the questions I have about our company’s financial standing before I have time to ask them,” Jun says. “It’s the simplicity of showing you, giving you a clear picture. That’s what I love most about Xero,” Alex says.

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