This 23 Y/O started a lekor chips brand that aims to take the Malaysian fish snack global

If you’re Malaysian, you’ve probably already had a snack Lekor crackers before. A traditional Malay fish cracker snack, Lekor crackers is made from fish flour and sago, it gives a fishy flavor and crunchy texture when fried.

At 23 years old, Jin Yeo may be more familiar with the snack than most, though.

“Coming from a family with over 32 years of experience in Lekor crackers industry, I fell into the business world from a young age,” he shared with Vulcan Post.

Growing up, he was never pushed to join the industry, but encouraged to explore his own interests. This led him to discover his true passion for entrepreneurship.

“The idea of ​​working for other people never appealed to me, because I believed that running my own business was the path I should follow,” Jin revealed.

This led to Jin establishing his own company named Fiskor while still in college.

Fish + Lekor

The story of Fiskor started out of boredom.

It’s during the pandemic and Jin is looking for snacks to buy online. However, he was met with repeated offers that did not meet his liking.

At the same time, he also noticed how neighboring countries such as Singapore had unique snacks such as Irvin’s Salted Egg Snacks, which people often buy as souvenirs. Meanwhile, visitors to Thailand can take Tao Kae Noi seaweed home with them.

Photo Credit: Fiskor

“These snacks have become iconic representations of their respective countries, and I realized that Malaysia lacked a similar signature snack that could be loved and shared with visitors,” he said.

That eureka moment pushed Jin to develop the idea of ​​a school snacks of chips.

Combining the traditional Lekor crackers with innovative flavors and packaging, Jin wants to provide a snacking experience that is both nostalgic and exciting.

Fueled by the idea, Jin began building Fiskor while pursuing a Bachelor of International Business and Marketing at Taylor’s University.

“Before I even graduated, I made the decision to fully dedicate myself to building the Fiskor brand and the company,” he said. “This risky transition in my life aligns with my personality and passion for entrepreneurship, which brings me immense happiness and pride.”

Benefiting from a legacy

Because Jin’s family actually owns a raw material factory Lekor crackershe was able to use their school base to create his own thin and crunchy version of the snack.

Jin’s whole idea is to keep the snack thin (about 1 to 2mm) to ensure its crispness.

“Remarkably, the product refinement process is fast due to the nature of my extraordinary secret recipe,” he said.

According to him, the core of his chips includes high quality fish and tapioca flour, fried with palm oil and coated with carefully crafted spices.

Using high-quality fresh fish meat eliminates the potential for “bad fishy taste,” as Jin puts it.

But the challenge doesn’t end there.

“Throughout the beginning of building Fiskor, I faced the challenge of getting a suitable place for my business. As a new kid in the market, I surveyed and visited more than 10 factories in many places and it took me more than three months to find my current place.

Photo Credit: Fiskor

Five months later, Jin finally acquired the factory that Fiskor is now based in, a manufacturing plant located in Kapar, Klang.

“We have made a large investment in establishing a dedicated facility to ensure complete control over the production process and maintain the highest quality standards,” Jin explained.

“Owning our own manufacturing facility gives us a distinct advantage, as we can deliver a reliable, high-quality product that meets our customers’ needs.”

Between traditional and modern

Jin revealed that the decision to sell the snack as school chips instead of just fish chips or Lekor crackers is a strategic one, done with international audiences in mind.

“By highlighting the term school, we use its authenticity and heritage as traditional Malaysian food,” he argued.

“The term ‘school chips bridge the gap between familiarity and novelty. While ‘fish chips’ or ‘Lekor crackers‘ may not reflect everyone outside Malaysia, ‘school chips’ offers a more approachable and memorable name.”

Additionally, the term ‘chips’ implies a snack that is easy to eat, share, and enjoy on various occasions, Jin pointed out.

Photo Credit: Fiskor

In Lekor crackers being a popular and accessible snack, however, it may be difficult for Fiskor chips to set itself apart. However, it is not Fiskor that wants to change Lekor crackers completely. Instead, it’s just another option.

The founder emphasized that Fiskor chips are healthier compared to others Lekor crackers options as the team uses premium frying vegetable oil and also has high-tech de-oiling machines.

RM12.90 for a 150g bag of chips isn’t cheap, though. Other than competing with others school snacks, Fiskor also has to deal with a competitive snack market in general.

“The pricing may not be considered cheap, but it reflects our dedication to using premium and fresh ingredients in our manufacturing process,” Jin reasoned. “Our focus is on prioritizing quality rather than making price the main priority.”

“As someone who lives next door Lekor crackers Throughout my life, I believe it is important to maintain its reputation as a quality snack rather than cheap and low-standard.”

That said, the team aims to introduce smaller and thus cheaper packages of their snacks.

Other than chips, Fiskor also has Signature Chilli Sauce. It’s made in-house to complement the chips, which feature a blend of chilli and garlic to add tanginess and a hint of heat.

Photo Credit: Fiskor

Things go swimmingly

In Fiskor’s first six months of operation (November 2022 to April 2023), it generated an impressive revenue of RM200,000, selling over 15,000 packs of its chips.

According to Jin, these sales come not only from Malaysians but also from customers in various countries such as Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, the UK, and even the US.

While Fiskor only has one variation of its product right now, it intends to launch product size variations as well as combo or bundle deals. The team also aims to build a strong distribution network and fill in more places.

Looking at the bigger picture, Fiskor hopes to expand its global distribution channels and reach more international customers.

Photo Credit: Fiskor

Although Fiskor’s startup capital came from the support of Jin’s family members, the team plans to take on investors in the future to grow further.

“As a young and inexperienced entrepreneur, I encountered many unfamiliar situations,” Jin revealed. “Each day presents new challenges and dangers, which have taken a toll on my mental well-being.”

Starting the business as a one-man operation, the pressure and risks involved in entrepreneurship turned Jin’s life upside down. He had to sacrifice many things such as leisure time, sleep, and even friendships.

However, the young businessman said he understands that the sacrifices he made today will lead to the result he wants tomorrow.

“Knowing that the road to success is paved with sacrifice and unwavering dedication, I do not regret my choices to this day.”

  • Learn more about Fiskor here.
  • Read other articles we wrote about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Fiskor

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