Pioneers Asia was the 3-day startup event hosted in ToKyo, Japan on MARCH 23. The event welcomed 1200 leaders and innovators, entrepreneurs, executives and venture capitalists in a dynamic and inspiring atmosphere where Top 5 startups pitched for the Pioneers Asia Challenger title.
Our interviewee, Brian Wong was one of the invited speakers among the myriad of successful, renowned entrepreneurs, CEOs and Investors.
Brian is a founder of Kiip (pronounced “keep”), the venture-backed company that redefines how brands connect with consumers through a rewards platform that targets “achievement moments” in mobile games and apps. He’s been recognized with many awards for his accomplishments and leadership, including: “One of Canada’s “Top 20 Under 20” and Business Insider’s “Top 25 Under 25 in Silicon Valley,” “30 Under 30 in Advertising”.
Q: How did you get to speak at the event?
Pioneers Asia came on my radar through Holly Liu, the co-founder of KABAM whom I have known before. After some research, I learned that this is a mega event in Asia that attract many brands, both local and global, and it appeared to be very well-structured. I wanted to meet new people and more importantly, give back to the startup community.
Q: What was your favorite pitch/product/company?
There were a lot of interesting companies but my favorite one was TapTap, a wearable device that senses your “taps” and instantly transmits them to the paired wristband worn by that special someone. I thought this was a very neat, cute product that suits for the Japanese market.
Q: What did you speak about on the stage?
I was on the academic stage and the topic I shared with the audience was around building on top of consumer needs. I brought up my own company Kiip as the example of how a startup can develop an integrated platform that makes consumers feel appreciated for engaging various activities on a company app. Aside from user Interface, end users care about moments that trigger their next best action on mobile. For example, it could be a moment of work, a moment of to-do, etc. Our company focuses heavily on capturing that “moment” of truth for consumers and how they interact with various brands across multiple touchpoints.
Q: Have you raised any funding since its inception?
Yes, certainly. We started Kiip back in July, 2010 and raised $300k three month later. As of today, we raised three rounds totaling $25M.
Q: How do you think about the emerging startup scenes in Asia?
I am quite impressed by the hyper-growth of tech markets in Asia. Some countries are still underdeveloped but I’m hopeful that more and more countries become more involved in building out their own startup ecosystem like Silicon Valley.
Q: Does your company have presence in Asia?
Making partnership with other brands is crucial for success as a mobile advertising company. We have been working very hard to serve customers in the U.S through domestic partnerships, and we are trying the same in Asia. The very first partnership deal we’ve made was with Cheetah Mobile, a Chinese mobile internet company headquartered in Beijing. It’s our goal to continue to do well in the states and increase our footprint in China and few other Asian countries.
Q: Could you share any advice for young, aspiring entrepreneur?
I would say that when you’re starting out, don’t always copy what everyone else is doing. Be original. Testing your idea/product often and early is important. Build something quickly, whether it’s a mock-up design or MVP(Minimum Viable Product) and ask people for their input. That way, you can fail fast and iterate your idea/product. Also, wear a learning hat with the mindset that you need to be learning constantly and gain as much experience as possible, and this is especially important for young, first-time entrepreneurs.