BLOCK71 Singapore Entrepreneurs Feature — joyTu.be
In this week’s Entrepreneurs Feature, we speak to team joyTu.be, an interactive video SaaS platform for businesses. joyTu.be is currently incubating with STARTUPAUTOBAHN Singapore, a corporate co-innovation platform powered by Mercedes-Benz focusing on several domains including Customers, Automotive Retail, Aftersales, Corporation and Infrastructure Management.
1. What is joyTu.be and how did the idea behind it come about?
joyTu.be is an interactive video SaaS platform for businesses. It’s a new way for businesses to attract & inspire their customers, to promote & sell their products through videos. Technically, we help businesses transform their existing videos into interactive formats, so their customers can get relevant info, share, bookmark, discuss, ask questions, and/or even buy anything they like in the videos.
For example, when seeing a beautiful scene of Singapore on a joyTu.be interactive video, a foreign traveller may want to know where it is, how to get there, and related prices (air tickets, attraction tickets, hotel prices, etc.). She can simply click on the video to get such information. She can also bookmark it for later viewing, ask questions, share the video and discuss it with her social networks. She can even book air tickets, hotel rooms, tour packages directly from the video, contact businesses (e.g., via WhatsApp), or get a discount code/voucher.
Customers can interact with these videos on various digital channels (e.g., business websites, news articles, blogs) and physical channels (e.g., showrooms, hotels, malls). Therefore, businesses can also understand their customers’ preferences and marketing return-of-investment across channels and time.
joyTu.be is a product of multiple years of research and development in the NeXT Centre and Interactive and Digital Media Institute, with funding from Interactive Digital Multimedia Program Office and National Research Foundation.
We developed our core technologies in NUS and tried various ways to commercialise the technologies. Surprisingly, many people didn’t care about the coolest parts of our technologies, but they loved some small features in our concept product. So, we changed our direction and focused on what they loved. Since then, we have been developing and evolving our product based on customers’ and users’ feedback.
2. Describe your typical day.
I don’t think there’s a typical day. Different days will have different priorities, from supporting existing clients, finding new customers and partners, to working with our team to improve joyTu.be.
In general, I try to find time to keep track of market/technology trends, exercise, and play with my son every day. He’s 3 years old, and at this age, children are very curious, joyful, risk-taking and risk-averse at the same time. We entrepreneurs can learn a lot from them.
3. Where do you see joyTu.be in 5 years?
My hope is that within 5 years, interactive videos will be the norm. But realistically, it may take 10 years. In the next 5 years, we want to make joyTu.be interactive videos popular enough that people will demand/expect every video should be interactive like ours.
I also hope that within 5 years, joyTu.be will have enough resource to create a non-profit operation for the education sector. Children spend a lot of time with videos. It’d be wonderful if they can interact with any video to get relevant, educational info whenever they like, to share and discuss with their friends. That is, any video they touch will offer an active learning experience, instead of a passive watching experience like now.
4. What are some of the greatest challenges in the course of your entrepreneurial journey and what did you learn from them?
I think two fundamental, greatest challenges for any business are survival and profitable growth. All small problems along the way fall into these two categories.
We faced similar questions and challenges like other start-ups: should we go B2C or B2B, how to find the right product-market fit, how to get the first commercial trial, how to get the first paying customer, how to price our product, how should we go to market (sell directly or through partners), which market, how to find a right partner in a market and so on and so forth.
What did we learn? I think what has helped us till now are persistence, adaptation, and luck. Initially, there’re lots of doubts, but we strongly believe in the future of interactive videos, so we keep marching on. Our professors, advisors, users, customers, VCs gave us many valuable suggestions, so we can adapt and make joyTu.be better along the way. And we are very lucky to have gotten the right support at the right time, at many critical transitions.
5. What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
My favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur is flexibility, that is, the chance to work on what I like, when and where I like. Besides, you don’t have to wear office attire all the time.
6. What are the benefits of joining the STARTUPAUTOBAHN Singapore accelerator programme?
For us, the biggest benefits of the programme are the chances to work with international corporations like Daimler and Jardine, and a better exposure in Singapore market.
It is privilege for us that Jardine Cycle & Carriage was willing to use our solution in their recent sales campaign for Mercedes-Benz C-Class cars. We worked really hard for it, but it’s still a surprise to see their willingness and commitment to try new innovations in a very short time.
We also received lots of help from the team. They’re really supportive and want us to succeed.
7. How did joytu.be build its customer base?
For now, we have accumulated customers one by one. Interactive videos are new, so we want to work closely with clients in each industry and market to understand their specific needs, what they really like about our solution, and what we should develop further.
However, our model is selling through or together with partners (e.g., creative, media agencies, production houses). They have better local understanding, better networks in our targeted markets, so they’ll help us to expand our customer base much faster. For example, we just found another great partner in Vietnam, so we’re expecting more good news from Vietnam this year.
8. What was your most memorable moment in BLOCK71 Singapore?
I almost got hit by a Lexus while walking to a meeting. It was raining; the driver rushed by so quickly and close to me and I was splashed by a lot of dirty water. It was unpleasant, but definitely the most memorable moment. Besides that, I love Kopi Chat sessions. They’re always my favourite time in BLOCK71.
Are you an entrepreneur working on a cool product and looking for more than just a co-working space ? Do apply for a hotdesk here and become part of the exciting community that we offer at BLOCK71 Singapore.
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