Today we will meet the first of our many members and friends who make TroubleMaker a special place to be. Say hello to Marvin, or 韩怡 (Han Yi) in Chinese.
Like most Troublemakers, Marvin’s path to tech entrepreneurship was unique, shaped by a desire to grow, innovate and improve people’s lives. Originally from the region around Chongqing city, Marvin got dual degrees in preclinical medicine and English language. Opportunities in a smaller Chinese city are often hard to come by, so he decided to move to Shenzhen to seek his fortune.
This illustrates part of what makes Shenzhen special. As a first-tier city and its strongest technology hub, it draws entrepreneurs and aspirational workers from all over China. Shenzhen is a migrant city that has sprung up almost overnight, going from a provincial township of 30.000 to megacity with over twelve million inhabitants in 20 years. As a result, it is probably the only large city in the world where asking people where they are from will almost always result in “somewhere else”. This melting pot character contributes to the city’s can-do, open-minded attitude. No matter where you come from, if you have ideas and are willing to work hard, Shenzhen will give you a chance to do something.
Ideas can come from the most unexpected places. During his first time in Shenzhen Marvin witnessed a tragic drowning accident at a public pool. Having volunteered as a lifeguard, Marvin knew that more could be done so he began to investigate the problem. In China’s hot summers, pools are popular and often overcrowded (locals jokingly refer to popular bathing spots as “dumpling soup”). Swimming isn’t commonly taught in schools and many lifeguards lack sufficient training. This led him to the realization that there was a great need for swimming safety in China that was not being met, and thus began the idea of the Baymini and Marvin’s company, Seenwater.
Founded just a year ago, Seenwater is developing innovative IoT devices that allow parents and safety staff to monitor swimmers and detect risky situations before tragedy strikes. The Baymini is an “anti-drowning” alarm designed for children. A transceiver connected to pressure sensors can sense if the wearer is sinking and will trigger sound and light alarms both at the wearer and at a parental monitoring unit if it senses a dangerous situation. It can also be triggered manually if the user is frightened or worried. Marvin hopes that the adoption of his invention will prevent swimming accidents and save lives.
Seenwater had a few struggles at the beginning, as startups often do, but Marvin received both personal and technical support from Henk “The Map” Werner. Henk, the current manager of TroubleMaker, volunteered to help out even though Marvin was a member of a different incubator at the time! Group swimming sessions were organized as both a social activity and and field-testing what would become the first iteration of the Baymini. When his contract ended, Marvin moved his company over to TroubleMaker. To use his his own words:
“People at TroubleMaker share with each other, it feels more like a community than just a collection of start-ups. If you want to start something new and only have yourself to rely on, it’s easy to get lost, but if you have support you will get set straight.”
What’s next for Marvin and Seenwater? Well, he is currently working on new approaches to water safety, including monitoring cameras that can be installed in pools and drone surveillance systems that can patrol beaches. These systems are being trained to recognize the movements of a drowning swimmer. He’s reaching out to both public and private partners to get his innovations into customer’s hands and into to the pools and beaches of China, where they can start saving lives.
If you wish to get in touch with Marvin, you may reach him at: