“Never lose sight of the things that are truly important,” says Theodoric Chew, co-founder and CEO of Intellect, and member of the Robb Report Singapore Thought Leaders community
Theodoric Chew is living proof that taking the road less travelled makes all the difference. Foregoing the conventional route of pursuing a degree, he started his entrepreneurial journey in his youth. At 20, he had already experienced moderate success when he sold his self-help content platform Existgreat to American entrepreneurs.
Having faced mental health issues previously, Chew co-founded Intellect in 2019 to make mental health services more easily accessible. Rated one of Google’s ‘Best apps of 2020’ at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Intellect amassed over two million users in a year by providing them with seamless access to comprehensive self-care programs, as well as certified behavioural health coaches, counsellors and psychologists.
Despite the platform’s remarkable success—it’s now available in 14 languages and across 20 countries in Asia—Chew, now 27, indicates that this is just the beginning. “My next objective for Intellect is to create an entirely new mental healthcare system in Asia that’s meant for anyone and everyone,” he says.
How did you develop your entrepreneurial mindset?
Early on in my teenage years, I started dabbling with online businesses, trying out whatever ideas seemed viable. Naturally, most failed. But it was through this process that I discovered what it took to build a company, as well as the importance and value of focus. To date, all my entrepreneurial endeavours have revolved around solving problems that I’ve encountered myself.
What’s a common misconception about mental health that you hope to change?
I believe that mental health is just as important as physical health. A common misconception that people have about mental health entails a kind of binary thinking, where either you have it, or you don’t. The reality is that mental health occupies a spectrum and fluctuates at different points in our lives.
How do you feel about risk-taking?
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, risk-taking is essential to progress. Ideally, a calculated risk shouldn’t be a pure gamble. I took a risk not to pursue a degree, choosing instead to learn by putting myself out there and finding work that resonated with me. Even now, I never want to be stuck doing something that I’m not passionate about.
To me, success is about finding the right balance between fulfilment at work and a contentment with life and my loved ones. Never lose sight of the things that are truly important.
Photography by Eugene Lee, Enfinite Studio
Hair & Makeup by Sophia and Victoria, Suburbs Studio