Alexis Bauduin exudes energy not unlike a fresh budding entrepreneur who just got approved for his preliminary round of funding. He seems to eat and breathe YOLO, possessing a good blend of positivity and tenacity – someone who has set out on his own on the entrepreneurial path and never looked back. We tapped his enterprising mind to find out more on his experiences of moving from the highly charged corporate world to starting YOLO – a healthy food business based on the philosophy that healthy food can actually taste great.
Tell us a bit about what you were doing before YOLO
I was part of the corporate rat race for about 10 years. After working for a few start-ups, I joined LVMH in China, focusing on their wine and spirits area of their business. I quickly became Asia Pacific Director for a couple of their brands, taking care of 27 markets.
I also participated in the famous AXN TV show, the Apprentice Asia with Tony Fernandes, where I got noticed by the man (Tony) himself and got offered a position as the Head of Business Development for his Caterham Group. A great experience.
You seem to have had it made. What made you want to make the switch to being an entrepreneur?
I always felt constrained working for large corporations. I didn’t like having a ceiling or limitations in terms of decisions, strategic directions and career progression. Working for Tony Fernandes gave me a taste of a hybrid between the corporate and entrepreneurial world. Speaking with him convinced me that i had to follow my gut and my heart as I had been working on the YOLO concept for a while. I believed in my vision more than I had ever believed in anything… I just didn’t want to be the one who chose comfort over ambition!
How was starting out on your own? We know it’s almost never a bed of roses…
It was a roller coaster! I definitely needed a transition period between being an individual in the corporate world to an entrepreneur. There are a lot of areas of business that you underestimate when you start your own company that are critical such as managing a workplace’s culture and environment. I was also new to this industry and the operational dynamics were problematic at first. Staffing was also a huge issue as the industry is tough, especially in Singapore. But nothing new to any entrepreneur out there… you have to muscle and hustle to make it happen and I faced the storm and came out way stronger!
YOLO: Then and Now…
The first 6-8 months were tough as I mentioned. Staffing, operations, industry… but being an entrepreneur is about problem solving. I decided to work in the kitchen for a few months to understand all the dynamics and make the changes that were necessary. I also listened to comments a lot more and i managed to solve the problems one by one. We now have come a really long way! Sales are increasing, feedback is the best we ever got and most importantly, the product keeps on getting better and better! And this is one area where I think we do better than our competitors, we work hard on understanding where we can improve and we really listen to feedback! Our product is 100 times better than a year ago and our product in one year’s time will be even better!
What are your plans moving forward?
Now that we have a good product and that we finalised our operational flows, it’s time to scale. We want to increase distribution and open two new outlets this year, along with a central kitchen! Our corporate business is growing rapidly, and we are expecting it to skyrocket since we have recently obtained our Halal Certification. YOLO is now bringing hearty healthy food that caters to the whole Singapore population!
Any advice for budding entrepreneurs who want to make the jump into the startup world?
Being an entrepreneur is not for everybody! I want to make that clear. People don’t understand the level of commitment and sacrifice it requires. There is a lot of sleep that has to be forsaken at the beginning. There is no period of peace, mostly stress… Aspiring entrepreneurs out there need to look at themselves in the mirror and wonder if they are ready for this… But if you can’t sleep at night because you have an idea that you believe in… and that you are ready to go all-in on it, no matter what I said above… then jump in, buckle up get ready for the ride of your life!
Find out more about YOLO and take a look at their varied list of exciting meal plans @ yolofood.com.sg
Visit YOLO @
ICON VILLAGE, 12 Gopeng Street
Tel: +65 6221 3029