AN AWESOME INTERVIEW WITH THE OWE$OME TEAM
THE Owe$ome Interview:
The Owe$ome team lead by Ms. Joann Soon, Creative Director and Ms. Sue Lin, Managing Director had won the AngelHack Malaysia competition in June and will be competing at AngelHack World in Silicon Valley, San Francisco in September. Despite being full time employees, the entrepreneurial spirit of the team brought them together in this designing an application that would help solve our daily problem of “splitting the bills”. With their trademark, “Bills divided, friends united!”, the team is dedicated to bring this creative smartphone app global, placing Malaysia once again in the global radar. The OWE$OME’S TEAM AWESOME APP!!
Q: Can you briefly tell us about your product?
Owe$ome is a fun and social interactive bill divider. It is not the usual bill divider app with an Excel sheet. The app allows you to snap picture of the bill, and the system will convert the bill image into text. You can then tag your friends to the items and a notification will instantly sent to their app.
Q: How do you make sure your bill divider app continue to standout from other similar apps?
Unlike other bill divider apps, fun factors are added into Owe$ome. They have created cute avatars such as Red Devil and Angel. There is this “demonic” reminder that Joann likes most. The app allows you to send a reminder which comes with the Red Devil running towards the screen and splat on it. It has adopted the local loan shark’s way of collecting money by splashing red paints to your walls. To wipe it off, simply shake your phone and the screen is clean to use again. Owe$ome really allows you to owe money the fun way!
Q: How do you cope with the rapid transformation in your entrepreneurial experience?
Besides many hard works and overflow passions, Joann believes in her idea. Sacrificing to work every night and during Sundays is what keeping the brand new experience driving. Frustration in daily life limitations have definitely motivated her to go further. “A mental game” is how she described the whole process and therefore stresses that without her wonderful team, she wouldn’t have coped the new experience and be where she is today.
Q: What does it takes to be a Global Entrepreneur like you? Can you provide 2 tips?
The very things that started as local and not seeing others as competition is Joann’s strategy to go global. She explains further that the dedications to the idea and entrusting others as a team are very important. Also, persistence and keep putting in your best effort in all that you do.
Q: How important do you think Globalization is for entrepreneurs? And why?
Joann thinks that it is only logical to put an idea global in this era. For the sheer idea that we are now living in the age where everyone is connected, there shall be no limitation to go global. Therefore, no one shall limit themselves to do only local. And also, “to know that you have touched someone across the world with an inspirational story, that is really something”.
Q: What are the 3 tips to confidently present your idea to you Venture Partners?
The first tip Joann gave is not to give too much data. There is usually a limited time for you to pitch an idea and so within the first minute, you got to hook them in to like your idea. Which leads to the second tip – sell the story, not just the product. Have a story that relates you with the idea you came out with. In the end, it is you and the story that bring everything forward. Lastly and most importantly, be able to connect. A lot of people can communicate very well the idea, but the audiences are not necessarily connected to it. Be genuine while pitching your idea, try to connect you, your idea, and the audiences all together.
Q: What’s next after Silicon Valley?
Coming back from Silicon Valley, Joann hopes that she can bring the whole team from a simple idea to a start-up model where ultimately there is no full time job and no more daily struggles. That is why she also hopes that more and more investors will come in to catalyze the whole process after Silicon Valley. On an individual basis, she hopes to go back to doing what she was inspired by a cartoon called “Igor”, to continue creating original and innovative ideas.
Q: Any last advice for aspiring young entrepreneurs to go global?
“Go watch ‘Igor’” is what Joann responded immediately. Jokes aside, she encourages every young entrepreneur to build your mind whenever chance is provided because chance favors the prepared mind. So keep building your mind, work yourself in a very independent mind, and chance will always be with you.
Joshua Kwong Der Hao is a double major student in International Business and Management at INTI ICS. He is a King’s Scout awardee and a member of Association of Top-Achievers Scout – World Chapter. His experience in Rovering ranging from starting up new district to servicing in international platforms to participating in the Asia Pacific Regional policy making (Rover = Youth Scout). A strong believer in the importance of having an entrepreneurial mind-set, Joshua is always excited to share and educate others while learning as much as he can. With the information easily accessible through technologies, Joshua agrees that having a globalised mind set is important in entrepreneurship and JWEF is the right platform for it.
Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum (JWEF)- Malaysia Chapter
The first edition of JWEF Malaysia was launched on July 2nd 2013 at INTI International University & Colleges, Kuala Lumpur. It is a collaboration between Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle) and INTI International University & Colleges (INTI). It aims to provide Malaysian youths with a unique global platform that connects aspiring entrepreneurs and allow them to step out and aim global from day one, as well to grow the entrepreneurial spirit in our youths in the nation.
About INTI International University and Colleges (INTI)
Spanning across Central, North and East Malaysia, INTI International University and Colleges was founded over 25 years ago and is a leading provider of quality education, among which includes the subject on Entrepreneurship. Over the years, they have formed solid ties with top tier universities and key industry to ensure that the right skill and winning spirit in the graduates. A key differentiator at INTI is that our students are part of the world’s largest operator of private universities, Laureate International Universities.
For more information: http://newinti.edu.my/main/about-inti/laureate-international-universities
About Cradle Fund Sdn. Bhd.
Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle), an agency under the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia (MOF) is a not-for-profit organisation that manages the RM100 million Cradle Investment Programme since its inception in 2003. They aim to encourage, support, stimulate and nurture the development of Malaysian entrepreneurship in ICT, bio-technology and life sciences, material sciences and high growth technology industries, and the generation of ideas for an innovative knowledge-based society and economy.
To read more: http://www.cradle.com.my/about/
About the Chairman of JWEF, Malaysia Chapter
Michael Teoh Su Lim is passionate about developing the potentials of young people to succeed, through his role as a certified trainer and speaker for youths internationally. He is the co-curator of TEDxKL in Malaysia and the Hon. Advisor in ‘Youth & Economic Affairs’ to the World Youth Parliament in Switzerland. He has worked with organisations from Governments, Companies and NGOs across 25 countries in the fields of Talent Development, Humanitarian and Environmental work. He is a columnist with Malaysia’s New Straits Times newspaper on topics related towards Personal Excellence. He has been recognized in the Malaysia Book of Records, PRESTIGE Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 and as the National Youth Icon by the Prime Minister for his contributions towards youth development. He studied in New Zealand, majoring in Marketing & International Business, before furthering his studies in ‘Entrepreneurship’ programmes in Stanford University, USA and INSEAD, Singapore. He can be contacted at http://www.michaelteoh.com
About the Project Director of JWEF, Malaysia Chapter
Mallory Loone Li Mei has developed a reputation for being a young leader in her active social community involvements. Inspired to be a role-model for youth and women, Mallory invested her time, participating and leading initiatives like TEDxKL, Young Corporate Malaysians (YCM) and AIESEC (The world’s largest youth organisation) during her university days, all devoted to create positive impact in the lives of others. She frequently attends workshops led by world renowned thinkers and professionals, as she knows that learning and personal development is a never ending journey. Passionate about Entrepreneurship, she believes that youths should be equipped with the entrepreneurial spirit no matter which career they embark in and find solutions to todays’ problems.