Nicolas Vanhove setup TUTOROO after travelling and connecting with people from all across the world.
What’s your story?
My name is Nicolas Vanhove. I am a 29-year-old French entrepreneur established in Singapore, a sales coach and founder of a marketplace that connects people with native in-person language tutors near them. I have lived and travelled throughout 45 countries before settling in South East Asia.
What excites you most about your industry?
We live in an era in which most industries are being disrupted by the rise of new technologies and more importantly, by a new freelance economy, along with new trends lead by the soaring sharing economy. I am excited about these new trends and transformations in our economy. People, especially companies, must adapt and evolve in a more dynamic world than ever before.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I used to live in Canada, literally the other side of the planet, and very different weather! I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and at 25 I decided to quit my job as Head of Sales and Marketing for a Montreal SME and moved to Hong Kong. At first, it was a culture shock. I started a last-minute deal project there. Then, when I realized that I would have to work on that project for several years to reach a critical mass of users, I decided to shift to sales consulting in order to stop burning my savings. That’s how I have discovered that in Hong Kong, a lot of people actually hire private coaches and personal tutors at premium prices to help them improve their communications skills in English and in other languages. That is how I got started with my new company, TUTOROO.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Your favourite city in Asia for business will obviously depend on which industry you are involved in. Investment bankers might prefer Hong Kong whereas private bankers would rather live and work in Singapore. I believe there are good reasons why I have settled in Singapore and the business-friendliness aspect of this country is definitely one of them.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t wait until your product is perfect to launch. It will never be perfect and this will only delay your launch. I forgot who or in which book I once read that but this is a rule I am constantly trying to apply. Design and unexpected glitches can drive me nuts but it’s crucial to deliver and release new website features and let users decide whether or not they can stay.
Who inspire you?
Barack Obama, for his leadership.
Bono, for his perseverance with world leaders to make the world an even better place, and for his work with U2 of course.
Leonardo DiCaprio, also for his perseverance and his works.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Thomas Pesquet, the French astronaut who went up to space for 6 months, came back 5 milliseconds younger than the people who stayed on Earth due to Albert Einstein’s theories of time dilatation.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am 29, I hope I haven’t had my time yet!
How do you unwind?
I am a wine lover and I love to unwind with friends, great conversations and a glass of Tuscan wine.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
1. For the food.
2. For the massages.
3. For the incredible landscapes.
4. For the food… oh wait I think I have already mentioned that. Landing in Asia 4 years ago made me fall in love with spicy cuisine.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The 4-hour week by Timothy Ferriss.
Shameless plug for your business:
I am proud of our community: 100,000 private language lessons have already been taught to over 3000 students by TUTOROO tutors in Singapore, Hong Kong and now in Australia. We are expanding to more cities and by the end of 2017 our goal is to inspire twice as many native speakers all over the world to teach their mother tongue to people near them. While social media makes the world more and more interconnected, our vision is to help people engage with each other in the real world. 100% of the private lessons taught by TUTOROO tutors are in-person meetups.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>