Ang Kok Seong is the founder of Helpr, an app that helps Malaysians to do their personal shopping and other menial tasks.
Human Asia caught up with Ang in this exclusive interview.
Tell us why you started Helpr. Was there a market gap or pain point you were trying to solve?
Ang: A few years ago while I was working in a fast growing e-commerce company, I needed to outsource a lot of menial tasks but there wasn’t an easy way to do it. Leveraging on the rapid growth of messaging app users, we started Helpr to serve as a chat-based personal assistant to help people to get things done easily. Help is just a text away!
Explain how it works, and also how pricing works for customers
Ang: Users can choose to chat with us via Messenger or a live chat widget on our site to send a request, and we will respond with the quotation of service fee to complete the task. Once agreed by both parties, we will send the user a payment link and will get the request done after payment is made.
What kind of tasks are most requested?
Ang: We receive lots of delivery, personal shopping, and gift-buying related requests. For simple delivery tasks like pick and drop, it will definitely help to save our customers a great amount of time.
What difficulties did you face with Helpr in the initial stages, and what is your main challenge now?
Ang: The main challenge we initially faced was providing a “one-stop-shop” service, which made it harder for us to be in people’s mind when someone needed a specialized service. Since then, we have trimmed down Helpr’s services and now focus on personal shopping only. As for gift purchasing related needs, we’ve set up a marketplace platform called Giftr, which connects gift buyers and sellers. Right now, the main challenge for us is growing two different products and brands at the same time.
What are your expansion plans for Helpr going forward ?
Ang: We are thinking of expanding into neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia by the end of 2017. Achieving a break-even point and becoming profitable would be our next milestone after that.
Ang, tell us about your family background and your memories growing up.
Ang: Both of my parents are teachers and I grew up in a small town in Penang, a northern state in Malaysia. Just like other Asian families, I took the conventional education route, completed my degree and was advised to find a stable job before having my own family.
Why did you pursue entrepreneurship?
Ang: There’s always an urge in me to push myself to do something greater that can add value to the community. We are in a digital era where there are abundant opportunities and funding solutions that enable young entrepreneurs to build something great. So far, I have experienced nothing but an intensive personal development growth through this pursuit, and I definitely have no regrets at this point.
What is your philosophy in business and what gives you the most satisfaction in life?
Ang: Build something that solves real problems. Traction will come along if your product is able to add tremendous value to solve the pain points of what people are facing. Realizing that what we’ve built has benefited our users gives me a great sense of satisfaction.
Tell us about your management style and what culture are you trying to build in your company?
Ang: When you’re working with young people, empowerment is crucial. I believe in building a company where people are happy and motivated to come to work, and also working together as a team to achieve greatness that aligns with the vision and mission of the company.
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Ang: Fail faster, succeed sooner.