The story of three young Singapore entrepreneurs
Chinab Chugh, Tan Kuan Yan and Errol Lim are all students from the National University of Singapore (NUS). However, they grew close to each other during a trip to Stockholm. All three of them had startup internships there. They often got together while in Stockholm and discussed many startup ideas. Being the doers that they are, they immediately fueled their thoughts into actions by starting matchNhack - a series of Hackathons in Europe and London. During their one-year stint at Stockholm, they organized many events, but something else also happened. They understood how events worked, and identified lack of organized networking as one of the key problems. Once they were back in Singapore, they set out to solve the problem. Thus was born Jublia.Let us find out more about them, in conversation with Chinab.
What is your background?
My parents are from India, but I was born and brought up in Indonesia. I came to Singapore to study at NUS, and I am loving my time here. NUS encourages students to startup, and there is a lot of entrepreneurial activity here.
Since you started up in January 2013, how is it going so far?
After organising the matchNhack events as well as attending a number of conferences and hackathons around Europe, we were in a unique position of understanding the pertinent pain points as an attendee as well as an organiser. That led to the birth of Jublia in Stockholm in 2012, and we returned to Singapore to execute this project. It is going good so far.
We have signed up with 8 event organizers in Singapore and Europe to use the product. Our European customers come from London, Sweden, and Slovenia. We are really excited to scale in the near future after seeing the response from our first set of customers.
Explain the product in detail.
We help each exhibitor/attendee discover the best networking opportunities and schedule relevant face-to-face meetings at an event via our app. The organizers do not have to pay us up-front, they just have to pay basis the number of users/sign-ups at 2 dollars per user, which is very economical, compared to some of the other players in the market that charge upfront.
How did NUS support your startup journey?
We are funded by the ACE startup grant by Spring Singapore. NUS has something called ideation grant of 10,000 dollars which is easier to get, but there are other grants worth 50,000 dollars and 250,000 dollars which are harder to get, as you need to show customer traction and validation. NUS supports entrepreneurship quite a bit. We also get legal and financial support from NUS; so, that helps us cut costs.
What are your plans for expansion?
Currently, we are understanding the type of events which happen around the world and which fit into our niche for speed networking. We are expanding our efforts at looking at helping the stakeholders (e.g. Sponsors, Exhibitors, Attendees, Organizers) maximize their event ROI and satisfaction. In terms of product, we are pleased with the initial traction that we have garnered in our market. In the tech pipeline, we are building tools to analyze event data.
We will look at raising the next round in the coming year.
What is your USP?
For organizers, setting up business meetings manually can be a laborious task. We achieve this fully automated via our algorithms at a very small cost. At the same time, attendees can prepare for their networking efforts before the event itself. An interesting statistic shows that less than 28% of name cards are actually followed up on, so we want to empower relevant face-to-face meetings and reduce name-card spamming at events.
Being in a B2B space, clients always want us to customize the product to suit their event needs. To solve this, we have built several packages, like the Master pack and Booster pack, which they can purchase as add-ons on the Match platform itself. At Jublia, we focus largely on providing the best user experience. We have continuously iterated our product to suit the needs of these different types of users.
Personally, for me, convincing my parents was hard initially, but over time they got adjusted via a lot of persuasion.
What drives you?
Being the CTO of a growing startup is definitely very enriching. Everyday is something new - I not only focus on programming and making a scalable product, but have to participate in client meetings, sales strategies, etc. There is a sense of excitement on what happens every day as you are well acquainted with the whole picture. Its truly amazing how much I have grown personally and professionally since the time we started. Our big goal is to enhance face-face networking at events leveraging technology.
We wish the young blood all the best, and we shall certainly keep you posted about what happens in the Jublia journey. Stay tuned!