Leanne Ooi, CEO – Rentwise Sdn Bhd
Leanne Ooi founded Rentwise Sdn. Bhd. in August 2001. Prior to this she worked for a division of Hewlett-Packard Malaysia currently known as Agilent Technologies in the manufacturing division and later on as the Business Development Manager for Frazier Malaysia. During her tenure at Frazier she was one of Colin Whitehead’s direct reports. When Frazier Malaysia was divested, Leanne and a few of the key members ventured out and started up RentWise Sdn. Bhd. She managed the company until November 2002 when she felt a more experienced general manager was required to grow the company to the next stage.
Leanne retains a significant shareholding of Rentwise and is a key member of the board of directors. Leanne Ooi started her computer restoration business in 2001 after her employer decided to shut down its refurbishment unit because she was confident of the potential in the segment. Ooi started her own company, Rentwise, a few months later and started refurbishing PCs, laptops and other hardware for lease and sales. Fifteen years later, her conviction in the business has been vindicated by the fact that Rentwise is not only surviving but doing quite well.
She enjoys being part of a green business that is able to make a positive difference to the well being of society in general. I’d like to see this business grow to more countries in SEA and possibly an even wider scale. Working with different and diverse organisations and people and having the opportunity to expand our product lines to encompass other green programmes is the most interesting part of our business. Know more interesting snippets from Leanne Ooi’s journey below.
What led you to the idea of Rentwise? What’s unique about the offerings?
Right time, Right place. I was working for a similar type business and the opportunity came about to set-up something even better.
Rentwise is a leading Technology Rental Solutions company. Coupled with a unique business model, our vision is to offer clients’ comprehensive, hassle free and cost effective IT Rental solutions while paying the utmost attention to Customer Service Excellence. We are looking for people who have great interpersonal skills, are resourceful, team players and go-getters. As we strongly emphasize and practice continuous self-development, our commitment is to invest in people.
We know how to manage and maximise the life cycles of the products we supply. We look for the best fit solutions-never overkill, support them throughout their lifecycles and coupled with funding options; this gives our clients a cost effective and seamless solution in how they manage their IT Infrastructure capabilities. Clients also work with us to give back to society and everyone benefits from this holistic approach.
What does it take to scale up your business & how do the people involved influence this?
It is a capital intensive business and we need to manage risk very well. The business requires a lot of automation to scale and this is something we are working on.
We also need to market ourselves better. We are still rather low key and this starts with our people. We need to educate them more on sustainable business practices so they in turn are better equipped in their areas of responsibility.
Do you face any challenges? How did you overcome them?
We are in an industry that is still evolving in this part of the world. In any new industry there are challenges from how well we are able to educate the market to how well we are perceived. We have always questioned ourselves as to be us good enough at what we do and looked to benchmark ourselves against markets that have companies of a similar nature to see where else we could improve.
A recent study done on Rentwise gave us confirmation we were on the right track. That affirmation was a boost to the team and me as well. I have come to accept business is full of challenges. Everyday there is something new to look into. In business, you need to have the stomach for excitement. There is no such challenge that cannot be conquered. It takes patience, resilience and a good team of people with you. Integrity is the key as well. Be honest with people and walk away from those who do not or cannot reciprocate.
If you were to do any one thing differently, what would that be?
I would have taken up Finance and Marketing and probably would have spent more time working for organizations to hone these skills, most essential skills for running a business.
What would you like to achieve in the coming years?
I’d like to see RentWise become a major player in Asia in the green IT Infrastructure arena. I’d love to see more CSR work done, benefiting more people especially our young, future generation.