BLOCK71 Singapore Entrepreneurs Feature —PigeonLab Pte Ltd

In this week’s Entrepreneurs Feature, we speak to Lyon Lim, Cofounder and CEO of PigeonLab Pte Ltd, the start-up behind Pigeonhole Live, a mobile, real-time conference question and answer (Q&A) tool. Lyon studied Life Sciences in National University of Singapore, but has always had an interest in computers and the Internet. In 2010, Lyon and his classmate from university started PigeonLab, growing it as a bootstrapped startup catering to hundreds of multi-national companies, government agencies and small businesses. To date, Pigeonhole Live, the product/SaaS by PigeonLab, has customers in over 50 countries.

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1. What is PigeonLab and how did the idea behind it come about?

Our product is Pigeonhole Live, and we work with companies to drive audience engagement through live Q&A, polls and surveys at their events and meetings. Joon and I were at an event with a livestream between audiences in Singapore and Silicon Valley and there were connectivity issues that prevented audience members from engaging. At the same time, we were developing ideas on an e-learning platform and Q&A was one of the features of the platform. We thought our Q&A idea would have improved engagement during this event!

2. Describe your typical day.

I start and end the day with emails, prioritising those from customers and the team. I tend to go through my emails when I’m commuting on the train to office. Once in office, I allocate some time to plan and review the team’s progress. I also make use of this time to write up product requirement documents and more. After lunch is when I tend to have my internal meetings. When there are no meetings, I will follow-up with the team on the improvements that we’re working on. I also get on sales calls with customers, which is great because I can understand how customers are using Pigeonhole Live. There’s a ton of other work as well, and it’s impossible to finish them every day but my goal is each day should end with a measurable impact that takes the company forward.

3. How does Pigeonhole leverage intelligent automation to deliver its product/services?

Our internal systems are closely integrated. For example, our source of truth for customer information lies in Salesforce Sales Cloud. So when a new customer signs up, purchases and sets up their event, all this information gets channeled into Salesforce. We also link Salesforce with Zendesk, which we use for customer support, Xero for our accounting and invoicing needs, and HubSpot for our lead nurturing and inbound campaigns. Our engineering and infrastructure teams tap on monitoring agents that continually report real-time metrics of our platform and surface any potential issues.

4. Has Pigeonhole tapped on digital transformation/intelligent automation for its own business processes? If yes, what were the considerations and barriers faced in doing so?

Yes. As a bootstrapped start-up, we’re mindful of efficiently allocating our resources, whether it’s time or money. We default to automation for admin-related work. For example, account reps do not have to manually create invoices. When a new deal is closed on Salesforce, with a click of a button, an invoice is automatically generated from Xero and stored in Salesforce. Upon receiving a payment, be it through a manual reconciliation or a payment made online, the payment status is automatically updated on Salesforce. Account reps save a ton of time and can focus on having conversations with customers and working on deals.

Because we use software from different companies, we encounter challenges in getting them to speak to one another easily. We try not to be vendor locked-in, which sometimes exacerbates this. In the past, we had to engage consultants to solve some of these issues. There’s also the challenge of retaining the agility throughout all this to accomodate changes as we evolve our processes.

5. What were some of the greatest challenges in the course of your entrepreneurial journey and what did you learn from them?

Being first-time entrepreneurs and fresh from university, both Joon and I had no working experience before this. Iterating on an interesting idea is vastly different from executing it, bringing to market, and building a team. Structuring a company, creating the right incentives, engaging your team, establishing the processes, there’s always a new challenge every day. There’s so many…I don’t know where to start. I think it’s important to keep an open mind. We have a really good team and there’s a lot to learn from them. I guess I’ve also conditioned myself to take on each new problem as a new challenge and a learning opportunity.

6. What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

The idea that you can work towards realising your vision.

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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NUS Enterprise nurtures entrepreneurial talents with global mindsets, while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at Asia’s leading university.

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