Ray Dipasupil is founder, CEO, and product engineer at StanceTrader, an enthusiast and community marketplace for gearheads and hot-rodders to connect, buy, sell, and discover car parts seamlessly. He leads a small team and they just beta launched in July 2013. He works with David Ernesto Rodriguez, JC Elamparo, and Allan DeCastro who are also founders of StanceTrader.

Prior to StanceTrader, Ray worked at Warner Music Group as a financial analyst and prior to Warner, The Walt Disney Company in accounting and contracts. Ray studied economics and accounting in Loyola Marymount University and is a CPA Candidate with the California state board. He’s also a full-stack software engineer in Ruby, Javascript, Ruby on Rails, HTML, and CSS. Ray’s also a classically trained Yamaha pianist and performed in many recitals and he parlayed this talent during and post university by playing the keyboard in a hip-hop, jazz band. At some point, he’d like to get back playing the piano.

Ray had always been passionate about automobiles growing up as a kid in the Philippines and wanted to contribute to the automotive community by building a seamless and easy-to-use car parts marketplace that would make a profound fundamental impact. StanceTrader is the result of this grand vision. The marketplace is just the beginning and the team is working diligently on a new idea that has the potential to revolutionize the way car parts are used by gearheads.

The Asian Entrepreneur visits Ray’s story today as part of the feature of the week.

What is StanceTrader?

StanceTrader is an enthusiast and community marketplace for hot-rodders and gearheads to connect, buy, sell, and discover OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket car parts seamlessly.

What led to the creation of StanceTrader?

It was definitely a personal experience. Being a passionate gearhead myself, I found eCommerce through forums and other websites to be clunky, impersonal, and an unenjoyable process. I was in high school when I first realized this but figured someone would tackle this problem by providing a simplified solution but it never happened. My team and I built StanceTrader to be an easy-to-use platform for gearheads to search, list, and discover car parts. The entire premise for building StanceTrader is to continually focus on our core group of gearheads and hot-rodders and provide them valueadding products and services.

How was it like starting this up?

Starting StanceTrader is like jumping off a cliff while building a plane along the way. The feeling of starting something in a brave new world is a surreal feeling. We wireframed our idea and design and took it from there. What was just as complexis the engineering of the product based on financial limitations, and not on talent, nor manpower, we are blessed in these areas, but we knew we had a good shot. For us, we bootstrapped our initial alpha and beta build out of our own pockets with no other initial outside investment.

85

So what kind of difficulties did you face initially with starting up StanceTrader?

It was a bit challenging to go from known stability, working for a large company with a guaranteed paycheck, to a world full of invariability and instability. I had to refactor my perspectives in business and life, which helped me accomplish our milestones. I’ve found myself to be a bit more philosophical during the process. Personally, I always think that every problem I encounter is solvable since every problem has a solution on the other side of the equation. Many times I just thumb my nose solving the challenges I encounter but it should also be noted that it’s healthy to take breaks in between solving challenging situations. I’m also blessed to have the best co-founders and best supporting team of family and friends that help me get through the speedbumps.

StanceTrader is indeed quite unique, how was the initial reception for it?

We just beta launched in July 2013 and had about 500+ signups and close to 100 car parts listed for sale with little marketing involved since we’re such a small team. As an entrepreneur, I’m always thinking forward and looking to grow our customer base.

How did you build that reception?

Several things, word of mouth, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook page. We allotted a very small portion of our funds for Facebook and Twitter marketing, mainly to really learn from the experience, and it has surprisingly worked well for us. Also, we look to incorporate SEO and participate in motorsports events into our marketing model. It’s important we explore all viable options to increase awareness for StanceTrader and our product offerings.

84

Did you come across any important realizations as an entrepreneur working on StanceTrader?

It’s good to be a bit naïve. If a person knows too much, they’d be too aware and rationalize that embarking onto the unknown is highly illogical. When my team and I embarked on our journey, we were oblivious to many things in starting a business. We had the skillset in getting started and continue to learn many more as we grow StanceTrader. I also learned to be more compassionate than ever because building something great is truly humbling.

And in your opinion, what do you think it takes to become successful as an entrepreneur?

You must be tenacious and be courageous at all times. There will be times when you feel like giving up but it’s highly imperative that you find a way to keep going. You must. It’s also important to listen to your gut and your intuition. You won’t always get it right all the time, but in due time, you will get most of it right. ‘Luck’ happens at the intersection of persistence.

So how has it been like working on StanceTrader ever since?

It’s great. It’s amazing to see the team’s passion and vision transform into reality.My team and I have many other ideas for StanceTrader that have the potential to revolutionize the automotive parts industry. The eCommerce marketplace component we have is just the beginning. I’m redesigning the StanceTrader user interface in order to create and deliver a better user experience for our customers.

Any parting words of wisdom for the readers?

We have done so much, with so little, for so long, that we can now do anything with nothing. Listen to your gut, your intuition and keep at it. There are no failures, just lessons.

83

Connect with Ray Dipasupil and StanceTrader today:
Website: https://stancetrader.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StanceTrader