From Failure, Millennials of Singapore Create “Startup” Millions of US Dollars

Bamz Ola
Read Time:2 Minute, 22 Second

These six millennials from Singapore can be used as a winning strategy after they turned their failures into millions of dollars in international business.

Henry Chan and five other people founded ShopBack, an e-commerce platform that provides cashback for purchases made from one of more than 1,500 of their partner marketplace.

In the past four years, this startup has provided cashback of more than US $ 25 million to 6 million users throughout the Asia Pacific. However, it is not as easy as it seems.

Because, their two previous businesses failed and several changes to get to that point. Next, how the founder of Shopback told his story to CNBC on Friday (11/2/2018).

1. Finding ideas

When ShopBack’s founders decided to break away from their permanent jobs at Zalora, they were sure they could shake an industry they considered inefficient. Having worked in the US shortly after completing his bachelor’s degree, CEO of Shopbak Henry Chan said that he was shocked by “the power of technology” and wanted to find a way to use it to help brands and consumers in his home country.

However, finding the right ideas is easier said than done. In early 2014, this young man arranged how to create a site that would help buyers save money while increasing marketing and reducing costs for retailers.

2. Continue to study

Initially, the founders created a flash sale site to hook buyers a day while gathering business people on one platform, such as the American shopping holiday party, Black Friday.

However, the team soon realized that the idea would not support them throughout the year. So they set about the next phase. In the second phase, the business, dubbed “Great Online Sale”, turned into a three-month discount site.

Once again the founders found that there was a flaw, that retailers struggled to receive big discounts even though marketing did indeed increase, while consumers wanted to see a discount agreement throughout the year.

So, finally they set a model of around 3-6 percent of annual cashback on purchases from ShopBack retailers.

3. Continue to evolve

Even after ShopBack sets a strong idea, the team still adjusts its model to respond to users. To begin, they designed and launched a trial site which became known as ShopMoolah.

They conduct trials for 24 hours. This is the same as the way Jeff Bezos launched a basic site in the early Amazon. That evolution continues to this day. Lai said he had taken many experiments to revive business and educate consumers that they could save money when shopping. Today, ShopBack processes sales worth 45 million US dollars per month.

However, Chan said, the company is still in the learning process and maybe other failures they will experience during the trip will be part of a long journey ahead.

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