This week we have with us Christina Yip, Co-Founder of AirVTing, a upcoming platform focusing on the live-commerce sector. Read on to find out about Christina's journey to disrupt your online-shopping experience!
Tell us more about AirVTing!
Airvting first started when I returned from China after tending to the overseas expansion plans of a UK company. I was thus amazed by the changing landscape and how technology impacted the social media consumption of many. In particular, live-streaming was a hot tool used by many and some started experimenting it in the e-commerce world.
Going back to Singapore, I started discussing this concept of using live-commerce (live streaming + e-commerce) with my now co-founder Ryan Ong and we started testing this concept by boot-strapping. At that time, both of us held full-time jobs - I was a legal technology consultant, and Ryan was in the real-estate industry. Late last year (2019), we received a chance to be accelerated by a German government initiative focusing on media technology. It was then we both decided to quit our jobs and moved everything to Germany!
Having the chance to work with many world-class start-ups, we have learned a lot and focused on building a committed, vibrant team as we believe teamwork is the key to bringing us nearer to our goals. We are now a small team consisting of 16 people!
Who will be your closest competitors in this market!
I will say the most relevant are Shopee and Lazada but the live-commerce sector is just coming up. With these two big players in the industry, it also shows that we are heading in the right direction. However, live-commerce is a really big pie and without proper education and awareness, it can be difficult for the industry to pick up. Therefore, instead of looking at it as a competition, I would say that the more important thing to do is to promote the benefits of live-commerce as an industry at this moment, especially when now is the time where our consumers need it the most!
In view of the current Covid-19 situation, do you see opportunities in a market where other industries may be struggling?
Live-streaming should be a tool that facilitates mobility and gives access to consumers who want to reach out to their audience through authentic engagement. Most users should have already experienced this added-value before the current situation, however, this present scenario has also caused many potential users who may not have been using this tool as a daily necessity to take notice of this benefit and jumped on the bandwagon too. We hope that by utilising our technology, we can help more businesses go digital and find ways to reduce costs while capturing & retaining consumers.
Tell us more about yourself and Ryan!
I had graduated with a double Honor degree in Finance and Chinese, and received a Master in International Policies & Trade in Singapore. Later on, I did a conversion degree in law in the UK. As a result, I was always working in related fields such as Asian/Chinese market expansion for technology firms and blockchain companies. As for Ryan, he has a technical background and studied business administration. With his experiences in dealing with many C-suite level clients, including Microsoft & Netflix, he now handles the operations and technical aspects.
What are the difficulties that you face when starting out?
We both faced many setbacks even in the early stage of the ideation phase. We initially had a supportive friend who was interested in the project. As the same for many, we were thrilled to be working with close friends on a project we were all enthusiastic on.
As this friend has a strong financial backing, he wanted to propel the business by allowing his family office to come in as an investor. However, we were told we had to give up more than 95% of our shares for this investment. It was a difficult choice at that moment but we decided to discontinue the working relationship because of this conflict.
After this incident, Ryan & I decided to boot-strapped our startup instead, and even took up personal loans to finance this project. Many people are skeptical of what we are doing and why we threw away stable incomes to start a company with not much resources given. Others even mentioned that it sounded too crazy to be moving to Berlin for something so uncertain.
Luckily, we both have supportive families who understood our passion in our startup so that is a consolation. I looked to Ryan a lot, especially during our most difficult period when I wanted to give up on the project even though we already took on tens of thousands of debts at that time.
It is very important to have the right co-founder because being in a start-up is an extremely difficult journey and you need that support from each other especially when outsiders may not believe in the same things you pitch about.
What satisfaction did you gain from taking the plunge?
We gained our first sense of satisfaction when our pioneer users told us what a wonderful job we were doing! We are still pretty new in this, so every encouragement is even more prized to us!
"Start working on your goals instead of procrastinating!"
Will you go through the same process if you have a chance to decide again?
To be honest, we would but there would be some areas that we would probably want to improve on. For example, start earlier and reach out to users faster to get tons of feedback instead of waiting for your product to be perfect!
Where do you see AirVTing landing 3 to 5 years from now, or even tomorrow?
We want to work with more consumers to create more meaningful content. Of course, we also do plan for financial goals but when it comes to deciding what is best for our platform, we do not hold the decision, but we let our users decide and we will do our best to complement how they use our platforms by constantly upgrading our technology and listening to their feedback.
About AirVTing: For individuals & brands looking to engage their audiences efficiently, Airvting provides a one-stop user-friendly platform. Airvting creates a positive & safe social-commerce experience for streamers & viewers by intensely focusing on generating authentic live media content. Our products inspire credibility and education among our talented streamers. We consider the technological advancement of our products a great importance in order to continuously improve the platform for our users.
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/airvting Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/airvting/ Twitter : https://twitter.com/AirVTing Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/company/airvting/?viewAsMember=true LINE : https://lin.ee/zoBPWyC