Amelia is CEO and co-founder of LoveByte. She is passionate about anything internet-related and have a keen interest in the progression of technology and digital tools. With a strong interest in businesses with positive social impact, she joined her co-founder to work on LoveByte. She first kickstarted her own mini-series of paper goods, and deal aggregator.
Her working background included experience in marketing communications, internal communications and company culture. Always enjoying good conversations with like-minded people, she loves listening to others share their stories.
The Asian Entrepreneur speaks to Amelia this week about LoveByte and app development.
What exactly is LoveByte?
LoveByte is a mobile app providing loving couples a private space for two to communicate, share things and remember precious moments. LoveByte is designed to enrich the relationship between you and your loved one by creating a private space for both of you to easily communicate, share and store memories. It also encourages you and your loved one to spend more time together by recommending interesting date ideas and things to do.
How did LoveByte come about?
Not all relationships are ﬁlled with fairy tale moments. The love story behind LoveByte is a humble one with many lessons to learn. In every romantic journey, there are bound to be ups and downs. In his relationship, Steve, founder of LoveByte, often experienced cold wars caused by minor miscommunications with his girlfriend. Determined to keep his relationship, Steve strived to build an app which could improve communication and foster understanding between them. LoveByte improved their relationship greatly and the cold wars no longer exist. That is why Steve wants to share LoveByte with the world. With the belief that the future is mobile, LoveByte pivoted from a web application to a mobile application, attaining more than 40,000 downloads during beta launch in Singapore and is now gaining popularity world-wide with over 400,000 downloads from 108 countries.
Tell us about the process of starting up LoveByte.
In terms of starting up, as an aspiring, first-time entrepreneur I guess there were too many things we did not know about, or didn’t even know what to expect. There’s so much you can read up on, but in life you never truly understand how it really is until you experience them for yourself. I would say we learned a lot in this journey than we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to if all we did was to just read news from articles; it just wouldn’t be the same thing.
You spoke of uncertainties, could you tell us more about these uncertainties?
There’s a lot of uncertainty, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. You may not know how to do things because it’s new to you, and end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed. You might wonder and ask yourself, “why am I doing this?” but you will just have to grind it out yourself. Having a network of support .. like-minded friends makes it more tolerable.
At what point did you guys decide to go for the full launch?
Initially the team felt hesitant to launch because the product felt “incomplete”, “can be improved on” but remembering Reid Hoffman’s quote: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” We put it on the App Store anyway. Open beta in July 2012, reaching 20,000 downloads within 3 weeks on the iTunes Store. It attained #1 in Lifestyle category and #10 in Top 25 within the first ten days in SG.Now, we’re half a million downloads and the app has been downloaded in 108 countries with minimal marketing.
How do you compete with the other apps out there?
On the surface, there are similar apps out there but actually, we are all different in our own ways – appealing to different geographical regions, demographics, with different monetization models and features. We try not to be obsessed about the competition – with competition it means we are doing something right. Instead, we focus on bringing most value to our users with our product, strongly believing that if we build something people see value in, the users will come.
What do you think about getting into the app development scene?
There are tons of mobile applications out there. Think twice before you think you pay a developer to develop your concept or idea for you. You can get many downloads within a short period, but attention spans are short. People move on to the next newest app within a matter of weeks; how will you keep it sticky?
What do you think about startups in Asia?
I think it’s a really exciting time to be doing a startup right now but remember that Asia is not Silicon Valley.
What are some personal principles or personal values that guide you and your career?
Be kind; be genuine. If you are sincere, people will accept you. see past your flaws, and help you. The more you give, the more you get. Although sometimes it doesn’t always happen, but don’t get too disappointed and understand everyone is different.
What is your definition of success?
To me, it is being balanced in the different aspects of life. We shouldn’t harp too much on material wealth but cherish relationships, family, health, interests as well.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I realised I had a desire to create things – since young, I found myself initiating projects and was always very passionate about learning new things. I discovered that I loved to create. Anything that interested me, I would find ways of recreating it on my own. My first project was a paper goods project when I used to make cards for my friends with handwritten notes in it, and wanted to encourage more people to express their feelings to special ones in their lives.
What do you think are the most important things entrepreneurs should keep in mind?
You cannot neglect other aspects of your life, just because work seems never-ending. Spend time to bond with your family and loved ones – these should never be considered a waste of time. Sleep is not for the weak. Take care of your own health and treat yourself right because you only have this one body.
Any tips on achieving entrepreneurial success?
An intrinsic motivation to not give up easily and stay positive even during tough times. There will be times you find yourself questioning “wtf am I doing?” and that is a question you truly have to ask yourself: what is the “why” behind what I am doing? It will help give you a clearer picture of choosing risk over security. It’s easier to be an employee – trust me on that. Taking calculated risks.
Connect with Amelia Chen and LoveByte today: