Wander is a messaging platform that connects people with common interests. Pre-launched on Apple’s App Store on 8 September, Wander will be powering communities and conversations around the Singapore Beauty Week in November.
Based in Singapore, CEO and founder Krystal Choo is a two-time TEDx speaker. She has also been named as one of the chief executives with a LinkedIn Power Profile for two consecutive years (2015 and 2016).
Here, she talks about the startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia and what networking means to her.
What are some of the challenges your company faces and how do you solve them?
Choo: We've been very lucky to have talented programmers and supportive investors who contribute to a strong foundation for a startup.
The ASEAN startup ecosystem is markedly different from Silicon Valley, so it's been challenging to find investors who share the global vision of our social messaging product and who both understand and support our non-SaaS (software as a service), non-marketplace business model. Facing ecosystem-wide doubt as an individual, non-technical female founder was enervating. However, we were able to successfully raise the funds we needed through sheer thick-skinned tenacity and unwavering belief in the vision for Wander.
Building communities in a lonely world is an uphill climb. We do this by caring for our users very personally – I'm on Wander chatting every day – and listening to them. Users tend to appreciate the effort, and they scale our progress significantly.
Onboarding the right partners – those who understand the need to market through engagement and will invest in building communities around their vision and products – can also be challenging. This is because we have all been well trained to create content, post it, throw money at it and hope it converts into sales. At Wander, we explain how conversations drive genuine interest and patiently onboard partners. We believe investing in people always pays off. Users are people, and so are brand and marketing managers.
How do you network or build new relationships for your business?
Choo: I don't actively network. But I do have clear goals at any time, so I'm able to clearly articulate them when I meet someone who may be able to connect me with the right people.
How would you prefer someone to reach out to you?
Choo: I prefer that people email me, and immediately and explicitly state what they're looking for. It saves us time, and I can easily know if I can help. I hate small talk.
What is your most effective tip for increasing the sales of your service?
Choo: Take the time to understand the needs of your target, and appeal to them in a personal way so that you can solve their problem.
What is your most effective tip for improving your own productivity?
Choo: Set goals with clear deadlines, and only work on tasks that are exigent and critical to those goals. Everything else can wait.
What do you think about a business card management service such as Sansan?
Choo: Anything that increases efficiency directly – such as Sansan – gets a star in my book!