At age 17, Technion International freshman Jordan Fung has a list of accomplishments and accolades that would mark someone twice his age an overachiever.
He is the founder and CEO of Pedosa Innovation, which has patented Internet-of-Things and wearables technologies, and launched the nonprofit online learning platform and community GLMET, which helps potential coders with many of the challenges Fung himself faced as he taught himself to code in his native Hong Kong.
His company’s tech has been recognized by the United Nations, European Union, and the Hong Kong government, and he has launched a local NGO to help promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship – a cause close to Fung’s heart, as he says that in many ways, from banking regulations to business ownership laws, society discourages young people from launching their own initiatives.
“I grew up in a normal, working class family, so I didn’t have tons of resources to do whatever I want,” he said. “I obviously tried my best not only to get stuff from the community, but also to give back. I really hope that as a teenager I can actually promote teenage innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity among the community. Teenagers who really have the aspirations, who really want to do this, should not be discouraged from doing so.”
Fung made himself available for an interview about how he got his start, what he predicts for the tech world, and why he chose to study at Technion International in Haifa.
You got off to quite an early start — what did you do before you became a teenage CEO?
Before that I’d been learning to code for a few years, trying to learn online, through tutorials, et cetera, because practically no one around me knows how to code – my parents don’t even really use much technology. So I tried to learn as much as I could on my own with books, and of course this came with lots of issues and difficulties in the process. That’s why I wanted to start an online learning platform and community to help people to learn how to code more efficiently, with a community to support them.
Can you talk a bit about your company, Pedosa Innovation?
Pedosa actually started back in 2015 as kind of a hobby project of mine. It actually began as a wearables startup based on a pair of smart glasses that is modular in design, so you can add components to the smart glasses like display sensors and touchpads. It was called Pedosa Glass and it was quite well received, so I decided to move on and make it more general, to make what we call the Pedosa ecosystem, which is an internet of things ecosystem. It’s basically an interface, a platform, all the tools you need to build your own internet of things application that’s comprised of cloud infrastructure, hardware components, software components, software, and more, all in one system. That is basically the idea behind this, and it can have an unlimited amount of applications, but we primarily apply this to education, industrial, and agricultural areas.
How did you become interested in Technion International?
In 2017, I participated in the first Haifa TeenTech conference [now called Israel TeenTech], along with 60 other teenagers from around the world, and we had all kinds of activities, and visited different tech companies here. And that’s how I came to know about Israel and about the Technion. Israel is a very nice place, and they’re also very nice people — innovative people, known for their startup ecosystem, and I thought studying at the Technion would be a good idea. That’s why I approached the Technion. They were very generous, they offered a scholarship and early admission, and now I’m here to pursue my engineering education.
Do your studies focus on a certain area of engineering?
Well frankly, if we talk about engineering, if you’d have asked me two or three years ago, I would have said I don’t want to go to an engineering school, I want to go to a business school. That’s what I always wanted to do – to combine business with technology.
But what I realized working the last few years with technology solutions and startups is that technical engineering knowledge is very important — specifically a broad range of engineering skills. And that’s why what I’m currently studying at the Technion is actually mechanical engineering. It is a very broad field – every application of technology, of engineering, involves mechanical engineers. The theme of mechanical engineering that we’re focusing on here in the Technion is actually robotics — and robotics itself is comprised of hardware, software, artificial intelligence, all these kinds of things. And this is where the future is trending – and I’m really looking forward to the new opportunities.
Are you learning anything surprising about robotics that you may not have thought about before?
Well I’m a freshman, so no. [Laughing] We’re learning the basics. But like I said, two or three years ago I didn’t really want to go to engineering school, so I didn’t really have the technical academic background. So, obviously I have to catch up. But so far it’s been a great experience.
What’s it been like for you outside of the classroom?
This is the first time I’ve been away from home for this long. It’s been almost a whole year, but Israel is a very nice place, Haifa is a nice place. Not as hectic as Hong Kong, and it’s really nice to live here.
We have a very vibrant, very diverse group of students here from around the world. For example in my year, some of my classmates are startup founders, they are inventors, robotics developers, and I really enjoy the interactions we have.
Can you tell us a bit about your future plans?
Like I said, I’ve always wanted to combine my business and entrepreneurial skills with technical engineering knowledge. That’s always been the goal — it’s always been about balancing the technical aspect and also the business and operations. And I think in a tech startup, the foundation is built on the technical engineering aspect, not on the marketing. Obviously business development and marketing are very important, but the product itself is what draws customers, and I think the knowledge I’m learning here at the Technion is going to be very, very useful. And of course I look forward to future opportunities and ventures here in Israel as well as around the world.