Category Archives: Web

The Start-Up Entrepreneur Series: HealthWorks inspire you to be a healthier and happier you! Part 2!

Rue-Hann Lim, the Co-Founder of www.healthworks.my. She is on a mission to inspire fellow Malaysians to make better choices for their health and wellness.

Health Works

Getting to know about The Start-Up

1. Tell us more about Your Company – What have you built? What is your product or service to your customers? What is your track-record so far?
HealthWorks.my is Malaysia’s online health hub. Our mission is to build the largest health community in Malaysia and inspire Malaysians to make better choices for their health, fitness & happiness. It will serve as Malaysia’s one-stop-health-hub for education, shopping and community.
Driven by the purpose of providing localised health information and making healthy living easier for people, our approach is multi-fold:
1) Education through expert advice and interesting localised health content
2) eCommerce with health-related products & services
3) a thriving community of health enthusiasts.
Ending our first month, we’re quite amazed that during the first 10 days after the launch of our website, we had over 10,000 unique visitors. This shows that Malaysians are indeed interested to know more about health.

healthworks

2. Why did you decide to go into this business? Is it because it is a lucrative market? Is it a Blue Ocean which your talents and expertise through your business can provide?
We couldn’t find a user friendly interesting health site that serves multiple purposes in Malaysia. For urban young people like us especially – we tend to neglect the importance of health when we’re busy with work and social life (not forgetting lying on our bed scrolling on social media networks). We’re busy people who want to know “what to do now”, “how to do it”, “where to get it”. On the other hand, we have great local healthcare professionals that are yearning to reach out to people too.
With this gap not being filled, I see a need to provide an online one-stop health hub for younger Malaysians where they can find practical, enjoyable health information, purchase health-related products/services and get into action, and find suitable community to embrace this active healthy living lifestyle together! It’s that one place which empowers you to take action and live healthy.

rue - healthworks
(right) Rue, (left) Jolene, the content strategist of healthworks.my

4. Where do you see your business growing into, for the next 5 to 10 years?
There are many opportunities in the area of Health. In the short term I see HealthWorks.my to become the first place Malaysians go whenever they want to find health information, buy health-related products, or connect to other health communities or services.
In the longer term, I am looking forward to work with hospitals, clinics, beauty parlors, gyms, health insurance companies and various healthcare providers to streamline a person’s healthcare experience in Malaysia. It will be awesome if one day we can build a Health Village in Malaysia!

5. What is your vision for the industry that you are in? Do you see a trend coming up that your business can capitalize?
There are two trends on the rise in Malaysia. One is the trend of going mobile (even baby boomers are on mobiles now!) Second is the increased consumer awareness for preventive healthcare which leads to the rise of self-directed consumers. Gone are the days where consumers wait for the doctor to give them answers. Now, we have more people using the internet to get health information to help them make a decision throughout their health journey. They consult the internet before and after visiting a healthcare professional. What they got from the internet, helps facilitate their discussion with healthcare professionals. I see an opportunity for us here in Malaysia to tap on technology and help the community to get what they are looking for. In simpler words, facilitate their journey of living a healthy active lifestyle.

 

HealthWorks

 

 

 

Find out more about HealthWorks: www.healthworks.my & Follow them on Facebook!!

To be continued… The Start-up Entrepreneur Part 3

Joot Ventures, Joota – Social Content Network just secured a total of USD 700K funding from two investment sources!!

Joot Ventures, Joota – Social Content Network just secured a total of USD 700K funding from two investment sources!!

Joot Ventures Sdn Bhd, the company that developed Joota, a social content network, today announced that it has recently secured a total of USD 700K funding from two investment sources – USD 500K in funding from Interactive E Solutions JLT of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and, USD 200K in funding from an individual angel investor. The new funding will be used to finance product development of Joota’s social content network platform, as well as, to support its global marketing and promotional efforts.

Company Overview: http://feedback.joota.com/knowledgebase/articles/189017-company-overview

The Joota web-based platform was released as public beta in June 2012. Joota takes a unique approach compared to existing platforms today by making social networks dynamic and connecting people through content. It helps users build meaningful social networks around content that matters to them.

Joota

Mr. Ashran Ghazi, co-founder and chief operating officer at Joota said, “We are excited to receive this new round of funding. It allows us to support our technology team to continue to improve Joota as well as our increasing efforts in marketing and promoting our universal social content network platform to Internet users around the globe. We are thankful to Interactive E Solutions JLT and our private angel investor for granting us their trust and recognizing our strategy to grow.”

Mr. Shahid Mahmud, Chairman/CEO Interactive Group said, “We are extremely excited about Joota. There is an information overload on the Internet and having Joota Internet users can easily filter the content into manageable information clusters. The way Joota engages online community around content is very interesting. Broadband markets offer immense appetite for social networking and content sharing. With Joota we will usher in a new era of Internet usage proliferating the positive effects of content sharing amongst the people. We at Interactive E Solutions JLT are equally excited about Joota’s approach to making the social network a meaningful experience.”

Prior to these latest investments from the two sources (Interactive E Solutions JLT and an individual angel investor) Joota had raised approximately USD 1.6 million in funding from various other investment sources.

Joota is a social content network accessible via web-browsers. The platform allows users to build their community based on shared interest around content.

Upon signing up, users will be able to utilize features such as, a Joota bookmarklet. The bookmarklet not only helps users collect content from the Internet but also start a conversation immediately after the content is bookmarked and a Joota card opens up; all without having to leave the webpage from which the “joot” originated.

Joota is also built with integration in mind, so users can choose to share content they have collected and curated with friends on social networks and embed “joots” on blogs and websites.

Joota

“Joota wants to help people build meaningful social networks around content. That is why we are making this a reality using our platform that connects people through content that they’re interested in. On Joota, we provide users with a tool to easily select content that are relevant to them and discover like-minded people on the same platform. This is important in building a meaningful relationship,” Mr. Ashran Ghazi added.

About Interactive E Solutions, JLT (an Interactive Group Company)

Interactive Group is the leading ICT provider in Pakistan and provides a vast portfolio of products and services in the ICT domain to the public and corporate sector in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey. Interactive has undertaken large telecommunications infrastructure project like establishing Paktel Limited with Cable & Wireless; now Zong a China Mobile a cellular company, first Nationwide VSAT networks for the Public sector, free to air TV channels over satellite; National Police ICT infrastructure; building tens of data centers; a public safety network that interconnects all the police stations in Pakistan amongst others. Interactive Group’s Ultimate purpose is “To solve pressing issues of society” by leveraging technology to address the challenges of the 21st century.

About Joota
Joota helps users build meaningful social networks around content. With Joota, users can easily collect and socialize around images, videos, text and more. Joota is owned by Joot Ventures Sdn Bhd and is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with an office in Portland, Oregon, USA. Visit Joota at www.joota.com.

iMoney Appoints COO, Captures More Markets in Asia

iMoney, one of the region’s fast-growing financial comparison websites, has officially captured its fifth and sixth territories in Asia with the launch of iMoney Hong Kong (operating under the name “BestMoney”) and iMoney Thailand today.

imoney-logo

With the addition of its Hong Kong and Thailand sites, iMoney expects to generate more than USD1 billion in businesses for banks and insurance companies in South East Asia within 2013.

An online portal offering free comparisons of financial product such as mortgages, loans and credit cards; iMoney had been expanding at rapid pace over the course of the last 18 months since its inception. Starting out from its home base in Malaysia, local versions of the portal are now available in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, along with Hong Kong and Thailand.

Co-founder Ching Wei Lee, who started iMoney in 2012 in order to solve “a personal frustration with the banks”, attributed iMoney’s success to “being in the right place at the right time”.

“When we first started iMoney in Malaysia, the country had been experiencing extended period of consistent growth in GDP, the middle-class demographic as well as the Internet population,” Ching explained. “Add to this a growing demand for retail financial products, and what we had was a perfect environment with strong fundamentals on which financial comparison websites such as iMoney could thrive.”

 Imoney

“It didn’t take us long to realize that the same model that applied to Malaysia could also be replicated in most countries in South East Asia,” Ching added. “Thanks to backing from Asia Venture Group and the Malaysian Government, we were able to ride on such favourable conditions and expand rapidly, landing in five new territories over a relatively short period of time.”

The Company also recently confirmed the appointment of Group COO & Co-Founder Kai Kux. Kai has an extensive background in investment banking, having most recently worked in the M&A division of JP Morgan. With his analytical background and experience in project management, Kai will play a pivotal role in managing the Group’s regional expansion.

“We have reasons to be optimistic because conditions remain favourable for our niche sector,” said Ching. “In Thailand, for example, it is our understanding that there are now over 20 million Internet users in a market where loan growth is expected to top 13% this year, which bodes well for a business like iMoney that is reliant on the growth in Internet adoption as well as growth of the financial sector.”

Imoney“Meantime, Hong Kong has more than 5 million Internet users and had just experienced growths of 9.6% for loans and 9.3% for deposits within 2012,” Ching added. “The high internet penetration rate and the resiliency of the local banking sector are important factors that will power iMoney’s operations within the territory.”

Furthermore, iMoney sees the emergence of financial comparison websites as natural progression in consumer behaviors stemming from the availability of the Internet.

“With consumers becoming more net-savvy and sophisticated in Asia, we believe more people are going to rely on impartial financial sites like iMoney, which empower them to make better-informed decisions with their money based on updated, unbiased data,” Ching said.

“In Europe, financial comparison sites such as Money Supermarket are already a mainstay on the Internet, and to a certain extent, we’re already seeing the same trend in Malaysia and Singapore,” he added. “We believe it’s only a matter of time before this becomes a fully-embraced concept throughout Asia.”

BestMoney Hong Kong and iMoney Thailand while still in beta version, now provide free comparison services for credit cards, housing loans, personal loans and deposits offered by major banks and insurance entities; as well as a Resource Library offering free financial information and tips.

The site can be accessed at www.imoneythailand.com (Thailand) or www.bestmoney.hk (Hong Kong) to begin using the free financial services right away.

Continue reading iMoney Appoints COO, Captures More Markets in Asia

The Start-Up Entrepreneur Series! Part 1!

The Start-Up Entrepreneur Series Interview Campaign! Part 1

 

(A) Getting to know The Start-Up Entrepreneur

Choong KarFai1. Tell us more about yourself – Who are you, what do you do, what are your qualifications (If any) and what have made you into the successful entrepreneur that you are today?

My name is Choong Kar Fai. I obtained my Bachelor of Mathematics (Information Systems) from University of Waterloo and MBA(Entrepreneurship) from University of Louisville. I wouldn’t say I am a successful entrepreneur(just yet) but I hope to be one in the very near future. I would attribute my success to positive thinking and passion. I am running 2 related companies, one of which is a MSC awarded company.

2. Why did you get started on this path towards building your own business?

I have always been techy and I have always taken pride in the solutions I provide, especially system related solutions. My passion to use technology to enhance or change lives the way Apple does it. This has been one of the reasons I started my own business.

3. Was there any inspiration or anyone who inspired you to pursue your dream to become an entrepreneur today?

As cliché as it may sound, Steve Jobs certainly was an inspiration. My father is also my inspiration, he built his business by sheer hardwork.

4. In your experience, what are the 3 Winning Traits that Entrepreneurs should possess when they start their business?

Passion, Hardwork and Persistence

 

(B) Getting to know about The Start-Up

Omniphics1. Tell us more about Your Company – What have you built? What is your product or service to your customers? What is your track-record so far?

We have a few solutions namely OunchKiosk (interactive info kiosk with swipe gestures), OunchKIT (platform that keeps relevant information together), OunchScreen (Screens that play video and slide show concurrently), OunchTag (QRcodes and nfc enabled tag) and OunchScan (QR code reader on iOS). All these Ounch Solutions may seem isolated but they are inter-connected and there is a purpose of it when the time comes. I have tractions for all the solutions mentioned, some of my clients are from Singapore.

2. Why did you decide to go into this business? Is it because it is a lucrative market? Is it a Blue Ocean which your talents and expertise through your business can provide?

I saw a need and I endeavoured to meet the need, that’s how I decided to go into this business. It is definitely more of the blue ocean where there is a gap in that our talents and expertise can meet the need.

3. Please share with us, when you established your organization during its early days – How did you fund it? Any tips on raising the funds? Any tips on convincing investors?

It was from my savings and I was fortunate to have some financial backing from my family. There are many avenues to obtain funding such as MDeC’s grant and Cradle Funds, etc.

4. Where do you see your business growing into, for the next 5 to 10 years?

I hope that my solutions will be widely adopted by businesses and end-users, not just in Malaysia but globally. Maybe Google will take notice and we get acquired… ;)

5. What is your vision for the industry that you are in? Do you see a trend coming up that your business can capitalize?

Smartphones penetration is increasing at an alarming rate. Mobile internet is touted to overtake desktop internet in the coming years. These are all in line with my business solutions.

To be continued… The Start-up Entrepreneur Part 2

 

Learning to Build & Learning to Sell: The 2 Concepts You Ought to Learn If You Are Running A Startup

 [This article was originally published at www.BobbyOng.com. Bobby is a UCL Economics graduate and self-taught web developer. He is a keen follower of technology and is passionate about entrepreneurship, education and the pursuit of happiness. Read more about him at bobbyong.com and follow him on Twitter @bobbyong]

I wished someone had let me read Dan Shipper’s article on Why Are You In a Rush when I was starting out on my first website as a 17-year-old high-school boy. Many young entrepreneurs, according to Dan’s observations, seem to be in a rush because they believe their idea is The Next Big Thing and become so focused on their artificially set time-constraints that they “ignore doing the one thing that will help them the most: building tangible skills”.

My friend, Alan from Startup Chile once told me the following: There are only 2 things to focus on in a startup, Building and Selling – Everything else is peripheral.

books

Why Learning is So Important

I wished I had taught myself the different parts of building and selling on the Internet more aggressively earlier on. It took me several unsuccessful attempts to finally realise that themost important investment I can make is an investment on myself.

Warren Buffett did say that knowledge is like compound interest; it builds up from reading 500 pages every day. In my interpretation, knowledge learned is cumulative and will build upon what you already know. If you believe that you are in the online entrepreneurship game for the long-term, the best investment you ought to give yourself is learning how to build and learning how to sell successfully online.

Learning How to Build

The first step in launching any online project is to build the website, web app or mobile app. If you are a non-technical person, the first instinct is usually to find a technical person to partner up to build the online product.

I would strongly suggest that instead of finding a technical co-founder, you learn how to code and prototype your idea out. It will not be an instant process nor will your prototype look fabulous, but the process of learning how to code will build a very strong foundation for you in understanding how to build for the web.

You may simply discard this advice of learning how to code and just hustle your way to finding a technical guy. Unless your good friend happens to be a good coder, I would tell you that the journey of finding a technical co-founder is a long and tough road.

A lot of non-technical guys will also dream of raising millions of dollars of VC money because they read about all the awesome startups on TechCrunch raising so much money. I usually tell everyone to STOP reading TechCrunch because TechCrunch emphasises the wrong points in a startup by glorifying the act of raising millions of dollars as an end-goal. Besides, TechCrunch is focused on Silicon Valley and you are most likely not based there. Read HackerNews instead and all of Paul Graham’s essays especially this piece where he defines a startup.

Read deeper into the blogs of Silicon Valley founders and you will soon realise that without a prototype built, it is very hard to raise any funding as a first-time founder. Traction is the key to raising funding as a first-time founder and this is what you should be working on before you even consider going to VCs or angel investors for money.

Learning How to Sell

The next thing you need to learn after the ability to code, is to learn how to sell what you created. I used to naively believe that once you build something, people will flock to your product like hot cakes. Turns out that more likely than not, most people won’t care about your product. This comes to the question: is the product you build what other people want?

If you are thinking of launching a startup, it is imperative that you read The Lean Startup. Instead of writing a 30-page business plan, do it with a Business Model Canvas. Experiment with what your customers want and learn how to reach them and sell to them.

You will soon realise that selling online is pretty much a marketing funnel and there are many things that you need to do to optimise that funnel. Some startups might choose content marketing as a start to their marketing funnel. Some might then use gamification to increase engagement level. Either way, you ought to know about cohort analysis and A/B testing to see what works best in optimising your funnel.

sales

What Will You Learn Today?

There are tonnes of things that you need to learn if you would like to stand a chance of succeeding with your startup idea. Nobody said the journey will be an easy ride. The point is to start learning every day because your lessons will accumulate over time.

Oh, and not forgetting, if you are impatient and can’t wait to launch your startup with your friend right now, do read up about shareholder vesting. Investing in your learning is the single best thing that you can do for the long run. Start investing in your education. Good luck with your learning.

 

Online Branding Fails 1

Having a consistant brand is very important for any organization especially if you want people to remember it. For example if you look at a brand like AirAsia. Their branding is consistant in all important online channels. If you want to go to AirAsia’s website, it is airasia.com and if you want to like their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AirAsia. It is the same on twitter which is https://twitter.com/AIRASIA.

Unlike the example below.

branding fail

Branding Fails

Growth Hacking Tools

I have been helping several startups on growth hacking in the past couple of months: working on customer retention, key metrics analytics, data analysis, A/B testing and more. In this article, I’ll highlight a huge part of growth hacking — the tools. Rather than building your own, here are some of the tools available for everyone that will save you both time and money.

 

Visual Website Optimizer (VWO)

Visual Website Optimizer (VWO)

VWO has made it ridiculously easy to implement A/B testing, multi-variate testing, and split testing on the web. Just paste a JavaScript snippet and you’re good to go. The reporting is both easy to read and insightful. And if you run out of ideas for testing, you’ll have access to a library of real world case studies from the dashboard.

mailgun

MailGun

Mailgun doesn’t just send transactional emails, it also lets you tag them with campaign-IDs for in-depth analytics. It’s incredibly useful for A/B testing purposes to see which version of your transactional emails perform best.

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Intercom

Intercom hooks up your users’ profile and activities with a simple JavaScript snippet, then provides you a bird-eye view of them on its dashboard. It allows you to easily send message to users through the dashboard. What’s awesome about Intercom is the ability to setup automated email based on the activities performed (or not performed) by the user.

rjmetrics

RJMetrics

RJMetrics connects to your database, analyzes it and serves up valuable business analytics such as Customer Lifetime Value, Repeat Purchase Probability, and Cohort Analysis. As someone who have just picked up some SQL chops few months ago, I can tell you this is a huge timesaver.

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Geckoboard

It’s important to be able to keep your team on the same page for your company’s key metrics and analytics. That’s where Geckoboard comes in. Geckoboard comes with preinstalled widgets for Google Analytics, MixPanel, and more. It’s also easy to create your own custom widgets simply by passing JSON/XML.

What are some other tools that you’ve found useful for growth hacking?

Top Facts You Need to Know to Market Your Products Online: An Entrepreneur’s Guide

The most recent ‘Shake-Up’ by Google’s Panda and Penguin attacks have crippled many age-old strategies used by internet marketeers and entrepreneurs to push their services and products to consumers online. Perhaps, in order for entrepreneurs to anticipate what may come next for their marketing strategies online, they would need to look back and understand the trends that have painted the evolution of Digital Marketing, and how they can apply them to their businesses. Continue reading Top Facts You Need to Know to Market Your Products Online: An Entrepreneur’s Guide