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Singapore start-up ShopBack pays you to shop online!

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A new Singapore start-up, ShopBack is tapping into South East Asia’s US$60 billion e-commerce market. ShopBack offers a novel approach to online shopping, providing users cashback when they shop at over 300 online stores. Although this is a unique service in Asia, it is a wellknown concept in the West. ShopBack was founded in 2014 by six Singaporeans– Henry Chan, Bryan Chua, Derrick Goh, Joel Leong, Lai Shanru and Samantha Soh. ShopBack is supported by NUS Enterprise.

In 2014, ShopBack raised over US$500,000 in seed funding from Accel-X and other investors. These new funds will allow them to scale the company and expand operations regionally.

ShopBack’s cashback model adopts a ‘stacked’ approach, where cashback is given on top of any existing discounts or credit card rebates. This means greater savings for the users. ShopBack’s all-inclusive concept differentiates itself from online group buying sites or credit card rebates, which typically are limited by availability (eg. discounts for just a few days/weeks) and type of purchases (eg. deals are only relevant for specific items).

With ShopBack, online shoppers receive a portion of the amount spent, when it is made through ShopBack’s website (https://www.shopback.sg). ShopBack is designed to be easy for online shoppers through three simple steps:
1. Users create a ShopBack account. This allows them to browse through ShopBack’s wide selection of stores and make purchases across categories such as Fashion, Food & Drive, Electronics and Lifestyle. There are currently over 300 online stores, with well-known brands like ZALORA, Lazada and Groupon. The ShopBack team continues to grow its selection
of merchants.
2. Once the user has confirmed their purchase, they click ‘Get Cashback’. This automatically directs them to the merchant’s online website. From here, online shopping is carried out exactly as it would be at the merchant’s online retail outlet. Payment is made directly to the merchant.
3. After payment is made, the users’ cashback is added to their ShopBack account within a few days. This can be ‘cashed out1’ and transferred to the user’s PayPal or local bank account. This feature is unique to Shop-Back as other cashback companies typically enable transactions to be made only to PayPal.

 

“ShopBack is fuss-free to use. It was a life-saver for me, during last year’s Christmas shopping, where I saved more than S$100 via ShopBack alone. I was pleased to get the cashback, in addition to my regular credit card rebates. Not only did it save me money, it also saved me time as I avoided the hassle of long queues, carrying heavy bags and getting to and from the shops,” said Jessica Lee, aged 27 years.

“In five months, Shopback has become one of our top five partners. They have driven significant orders for ZALORA, especially during our 12.12 Online Fever. It’s also risk free for us as we only pay when they bring in an order for us,” said Dione Song, Managing Director, ZALORA Singapore.

 

“The idea for ShopBack emerged when we saw the popularity of the cashback concept in Western markets, and how there was a gap in South East Asia. We want to capitalise on this opportunity and present the concept in a user-friendly and accessible manner,” said Lai Shanru, Co-founder and Marketing Director ShopBack. “We are tremendously excited about ShopBack’s growth potential and the value it can offer. There are some 200 million internet users in the region, who are potential online shoppers. Having launched the company in August 2014, we have seen a 50% month-on-month growth in shopping transactions. During the 2014 holiday season, we saw some 10,000 transactions on Shop-Back. As we expand the platform regionally, this will increase further.”

 

ShopBack’s eCommerce experience
The ShopBack team have 10 years of cumulative experience in ecommerce. They previously held regional key positions in ZALORA and TMG. As avid online shoppers themselves, they were insistent on building a product that they would be happy to use themselves.

Untitledgroup
L to R (Seated) Derrick Goh, Samantha Soh, Lai Shanru and
Bryan Chua. (Standing)
Henry Chan and Joel Leong

Henry and Joel first had their entrepreneurial spirits ignited while on the NUS Overseas College programme. They spent a year in the U.S. and Shanghai respectively, interning at high tech start-ups and studying entrepreneurship modules at University of Pennsylvania and Fudan University.

ShopBack has set up offices in the United States and Singapore and grown the team to some 20 employees, including part-timers. The company plans to expand into regional markets in the near future.

 

Callum Connects

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

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Agnes Yee started Space Executive in Singapore, which is a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

What’s your story?
After graduation, I joined a design media company as a Business Development Executive, during the era when ‘reading a magazine online’ was unheard of. I believe that laid the foundation for being unfazed by rejections.

I fell into recruitment pre-GFC and rode the highs and lows in the early years. A decade later, I decided to set up my own recruitment company, partly because I could. I’m acutely aware of the face that being an Asian female in Singapore is sometimes a privilege, and that many women in the world are living a very different existence.
Thereafter, we joined Space Executive as part of a merger. I am currently the Partner of Space Executive, a recruitment company focused specialist disciplines, including Legal, Finance, Digital, Sales and Marketing and Change. We also run Space Ventures, a venture capital business, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
On a daily basis, we’re influencing how one spends a third of their day. It is interesting how the Internet has transformed the industry, and I’m excited to see how we can harness technology to bring us to the next phase of this business.

The VC is an extension of applying our skills and experience in reading people. We very much invest in the people as much as the idea. Being a native Singaporean, it’s been exhilarating watching Southeast Asia becoming a hotbed of ideas; and young entrepreneurs simply daring to dream.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I love that I speak both English and Mandarin, grew up playing with Indian friends and eating Malay food.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore for the low barriers of entry to set up a business, but has to be China (and Hong Kong) for their hunger and constant innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
青春不要留白 which translates to ‘Don’t waste your youth.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who has gone against the grain.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It wasn’t recent but reading the article on https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html never fails to blow my mind how little time we have left. Charting our lives in weeks, and realising I only have enough time left to enjoy 60 Christmas turkeys, read 300 books (all if I’m lucky); and mostly, I’m left with the last 5% of the time that I spend in-person with my parents.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m cognisant that every decision I made in life has brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change one thing. But I’d really like to have had more time to travel.

How do you unwind?
Exercise and wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Trekking any mountain in Asia. It brings us back to the most basic. To overcome elements of nature and our own mind.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive started in Singapore, a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We assist organisations in accessing a targeted and specialised, and often times transient talent pool.

Out of Singapore, we have recruited across 14 countries; and have embarked on our global expansion plans with offices in Hong Kong and London this year, and US, Japan and Europe in the following years.

Space Ventures provides funding, management and financial guidance to young businesses with original ideas. We have invested in peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring, social media education, and other start-ups spanning diverse industries. We are always interested in hearing more about new ideas.

How can people connect with you?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnesyee/

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Connects

Chrystie Dao-Szabo, Founder of iPayMy

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Chrystie Dao-Szabo founded iPaymy for Business – a secure and easy to use
platform enabling SMEs to pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today.

What’s your story?
I’m Chrystie Dao-Szabo, and I’ve worked as an international banker for over 22 years. During that time, I travelled through Asia, Australia and Europe, and everywhere I saw how my clients struggled with managing their finances and keeping cash around.

I wanted to use my experience to help them, but I also knew the solution they needed didn’t exist yet. This pushed me to give up on my secure career, and instead look into the innovative world of FinTech for an answer.

This is how I founded iPaymy – at its launch, a platform to help consumers pay their monthly expenses using their credit cards. We’ve grown a lot since, and today, iPaymy for Business is a platform that allows business owners to use their credit cards to pay for rent, salaries, invoices and taxes, freeing up their cash for business-critical operations.

What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me most about FinTech is it’s culture of constant disruption, thanks to cool and innovative products and services coming out every day.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Vietnam, grew up in Australia and worked in Asia, Europe and Australia. Being raised by traditional Vietnamese parents meant that deep down I was still an Asian at heart, so I have a strong connection with the region.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore of course. It’s easy to do business, English is the main language, and the infrastructures like public transportation are great. Also, the government supports local innovation in multiple ways, like giving grants for SMEs and FinTechs.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Keep giving, and one day you will receive.

Who inspires you?
My parents. My father had a successful business in Vietnam just before the fall of Saigon in 1975. After the war, my father was sent to a re-education camp for three years, which meant my mum had to bring up two young kids – a 3-year-old, me and my 4-year old brother on her own.

In 1980, we all fled Vietnam on a boat and arrived in Sydney, Australia via refugee camps in Indonesia and Singapore. There, my parents had to start over with nothing to their names and only AUD 50 given to them by the Australian government.
They went on to build several businesses in Australia!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The number of young and smart people who have carved out successful careers by founding their own startups (or joining really cool ones). When I was starting out my career, doing any of these was not a viable option; it was either working for an accounting firm, an insurance company or a bank.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I were starting out my career now, I would choose the path of joining a startup as you get to learn so much about running a business and how to assemble a winning team.

How do you unwind?
I like travelling to a beach or a resort destination and just relaxing by the pool or beach. I also like to unwind after work with a glass of champagne or wine, and a bowl of truffle fries.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Thailand. I love the people and the spicy Thai food.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The E-Myth. It’s a book series that dismantles common myths about entrepreneurship in different industries.

Shameless plug for your business:
With iPaymy for Business, SMEs can pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today. SMEs love iPaymy because it works like a credit card, but pays like cash.

iPaymy’s secure and easy to use platform reliably delivers payments to vendors while freeing up cash and providing access to interest free credit. Forget the delays and aggravations that come with traditional SME financing options. Schedule recurring payments, manage invoices, set payment reminders, and monitor payment status all from one dashboard.

It’s never been easier for SMEs to meet monthly payment obligations while keeping cash available to fuel growth, bridge receivable gaps, and make immediate investment in the supplies, services, and expertise needed to drive a growing business forward.

How can people connect with you?
You can find me on LinkedIn or contact me by email.
My LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrystiedaoszabo/
My email: [email protected]

Twitter handle?
https://twitter.com/ceedeees

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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