1314T2g1 South Korea/Participant Information/Jeremy Zhong Jiahao/DuringTrip
The following section focuses on the reflections and learning points for all the companies that we had visited! Indeed refreshing and I've learnt heaps! Let's go.
After we arrived at the airport, we went straight to visit our first company - TwinWord.
One crucial problem that Twinword identified is that computers can't interpret associative words accurately. For example, if I were to say, "sky, cold, high"… a computer may not be able to interpret that as a cloud. This gap is where TwinWord comes in.
- Data Collection process are all crowdsourced-based - this strategy is really smart as they left the entire data collection process to the users. The users use it for free. In exchange, TwinWord gets your valuable data to further improve its search algorithm with other data mining techniques.
- Identifying a Market Gap - It's very important to identify something that's lacking in the industry. If no one sees that gap, no one is going to invest in you (e.g. Smart Content)
- Always create an API - And make it easy for developers out there to invoke them. Through this, you would be able to grow exponentially on your data collection process. More developers = more of their users using = more data
- Support from Higher Management - It's very important to get all the support from them. One of the examples that was drawn are these phones that are readily available for them to test across multiple platforms.
- Unfortunately, that isn't (from what I heard) what IIE offers. Phones are not readily available for students to borrow and test on - which is something they can look at
Interestingly, SmartContent, the incubation for global & small giant smart content companies (e.g. Twinword) spoke to us and gave us a quick rundown on the company. More details can be found here.
- ZERO Equity - Amazing! These government incubators provides full support for all their startups without having an equity in them. This isn't the case in Singapore where the government takes a huge equity in the startups that they are investing in. Such strong support from the government encourages budding entrepreneurs to step up and start innovating!
- Just Innovate - I love how they just kept emphasise the point of "DO IT!". Don't worry even if you fail. Just try again.
Ian and his team are so awesome to make time down for us during labour day to share with us an interesting social music app - listr.fm
Listr.fm's main motto is to make people's life better by allowing people to share their love of music with others, and allow others to discover their own music.
My first reaction to this concept is, "hey! How about Spotify? How is this different?". It seems like Ideaabove focus a lot more on the social aspects of music, getting people to share their playlist, and eventually recommend them musics.
I would love to see their growth in this! "Easily sharing & recommending music to friends"
- Backend Analysis Platform - I love this one. IdeaAbove would be collecting data on how people are sharing musics and recommending musics to one another. With all these data, they would be able to spot interesting patterns and be able to sell to music companies. This is a huge B2B model which I believe would make lots of money! Unfortunately, they didn't have an example to show us yet.
- Have a Well Thought Mitigation Plan - There are some angles which Ian and team weren't able to tackle which I felt is very important. For example, IdeaAbove is heavily dependent on YouTube on their daily operations. What if one day YouTube's API gets completely eradicated? Are there any mitigation plans in place? Right, we can argue that, that is highly unlikely - but it's still possible. We should have a plan, somehow for every single scenario. Ian's pretty grateful that we raised up this point!
- K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Silly) - It's the CONCEPT! We were lucky to bump into the CEO of another company - MyRealTrip.com. This startup has an interesting concept of getting local experts to become tour guides to make money! (e.g. if you're an expert in Singapore and would like to tour foreigners around Singapore. All you have to do is match your itinerary with your knowledge. Match? Let's go! - It's that simple but interesting.)
Oh, Ian mentioned that they would like to have some exposure in Singapore. Thankfully, I have some connection with a writer from VulcanPost.com and this would be a great opportunity for them to do so. Will be doing so the moment we land.
I'm really interested in this company. They were the ones that created the couple app called "Between". Yeah, they're one of the first movers. This app is truly value creation to the end-users - Allowing them to keep their memories. It's amazing when Edward shared with us that they had saved a couple of relationship when couples went through their uploaded photo album and eventually "reconcile their love relationships".
- Solving Vendor Locked-In - This one's extremely tough as they are so many competitors out there (e.g. LoveByte). How are they going to poach existing active users from another app over to their, or even keeping their existing users from moving to another app. They have no solution to this except to make their application extremely IRRESISTIBLE to switch to another app. One of which is offering awesome/cheap couple deals. Or making it even more personal than other applications (e.g. personalised icon, emoticons)
- Have a balanced Company Culture - Always have a mixture of both tech & business people. It's always good to have a balance.
- It's about the Dynamics of the Team - Yes, it's always good to have a mixture of both technical and business people. However, it's far more important to note that the dynamics of the team is KEY to the success of the company. So what if you have 10 big brains, if they ain't gonna be able to work together, then naaaaah.
- Importance of Company Culture - Make everyone responsible and accountable of their own actions. Give them authority.
- Take data security and privacy seriously - You wouldn't want to lose your user's trust by exposing their data. Especially if your focus is like the Between App, where personal space is extremely important. Thankfully the CTO places huge emphasis on Security.
- Have cool "rules" - Look at these cute images that VCNC had created. These are the values that they instil in their employees.
I've always heard of the cosmetic industry being HUGE and profitable. Memebox had grown from a Single-Page product to having an e-commerce site of almost 3,000 products; ranging from drugs, skincare, etc… Won Shin did an amazing job in taking us through the entire journey!
- Law of the Fews - Amazing how they practiced this strategy; which means contacting people who are highly influential. This technique works wonders because there highly influential people has HUGE connections to their readers/viewers; and any recommendations from them are probably gonna garner a lot more sales conversion.
- They have reached out to bloggers (for Korea), and YouTube stars (for Gobal Markets). All they did was to send them a product and hope that they do a review. That's it!
- Since MemeBox would be further expanding in Singapore, Xiangrui and myself will be sending them a list of Bloggers that we had compiled for our Social Analytics project. Hopefully that helps them speed up the process of finding bloggers and their contact details.
- Figures speaks for itself - To get companies to invest in your startup, you need to provide lots of revenue figures and other stats to convince them. It's not just about pitching your idea. You need to substantiate with actions and results.
MemeBox are also going to provide us exclusive coupon codes to their products once they launch in Singapore. Stay tuned!
This concept is simple but extremely valuable! It's getting local experts to do translation and make money or earn points. Wait, there's Google Translate isn't it? - Yeah but it ain't accurate!
Flitto currently have over 3 Million users, 170 companies and $0 marketing spend. $0 marketing spend! - WHAT? Amazing story of how they were also branded as "Flitto is a company that translate tweets for celebrities"
- Revenue Model of "Translation Database Sharing" - Really intrigued to see how they made full use of the translation volumes that they receive. They have over 300,000 translation daily. With all these data, they would share it with Google and Microsoft and have a percentage-cut on each of these translation. That's where the bulk of money comes in!
- Crap Your Way Through - But make it convincing. You need to have a poker face! An example was when he explained how "Flitto" came about. Hahahaha
- "Act even if you're not" - If you are drinking in a club instead of working, do NOT post on Facebook that you are drinking. This is especially true if you are acquired by VCs. VCs are always keeping an eye on your Facebook and if they were to see you drinking away. They might think that you're using THEIR money (that they invested in you) to drink, drank and get drunk! Interesting tip.
- Follow your Passion - It must be something that you are passionate about! Do NOT do for the sake of doing it. The love will eventually die out.
- Don't lie - it will come and bite you in your butt, especially if your "small lie" snowballs into "bigger lies" and get exposed.
I've learnt so much from all these 3 companies!
More to come!