Many of us crave authentic encounters, personal moments, memories we can take back and reminisce about with fond nostalgia.
Ryan Chew understands this desire.
Empowering individuals to turn their passions into a profession, the Managing Director of Verlocal in Singapore (and soon Southeast Asia!) has established a community of such passionate people.
Made up of a diverse group, which comprises bakers, craftsmen, even shoemakers, they provide uniquely Singaporean experiences we would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
“We want to grow this marketplace organically!” said Ryan.
Expanding into Singapore last year, they have since grown exponentially – starting with “completely nothing”, they have now made around half a million dollars in revenue. How have they achieved that?
Failure is the Mother of Success
A serial entrepreneur, Ryan was the Co-Founder of Fixir, a platform where car owners and workshops can communicate in a manner that is transparent and efficient. However, it being a two-sided marketplace, he realised after a while “that the marketing spend was incredible.”
“People say that there’s a low cost to a tech start-up,” shares Ryan.
“But when you become more competitive, you’ll start to see the marketing cost increase exponentially – so much so that it doesn’t justify what you’re getting at the end of the day.”
Shutting down the business eventually, he recalls it being depressing for him to let go of valued and trusted employees.
“One of them just had a kid, and suddenly, he lost his job.”
As an entrepreneur, Ryan recognises that uncertainty and insecurity is part and parcel of his journey. Sharing his moments of self-doubt, he elaborates on his attitude in overcoming the lows of a career.
“I always questioned myself. Am I saying the right thing? Can I bring in the next pay check? Are we even cut out for this? But, you have to push through it and keep the bigger picture in mind.”
What then, has he done differently in Verlocal?
“We have two key features in Verlocal: the booking management systems, as well as marketplaces,” shares Ryan.
“This combination helps our hosts increase their branding, as well as grow the marketplace organically.”
Thinking from another perspective, Verlocal now has a feature, which allows their hosts to convert any of their websites into e-commerce booking sites, linking to their marketplace.
“This streamlines the business process, which brings them more business! Smoothing out this process brings them more clients.” Ryan says gleefully.
With a focus on helping a myriad of businesses, Ryan is aiming high. Recognising that his business has seasonal trends, his next step is to upgrade the product to capture different markets.
“Right now, we’re very strong in baking and arts and crafts. But we also want to diversify – freelance fitness and yoga instructors, football pitches, even KTV’s!”
We are Here Together
When asked to share on how his team contributes to Verlocal, Ryan replies without hesitation.
“What gets me to the office every morning is my team. The real reason why anyone of us works so hard, is because we are here together.”
Visibly excited, Ryan elaborates that the entire team works hard not just for the company, but for each other. However, it’s not just camaraderie that keeps them tight-knit. Apparently, it’s the friendly competition too!
“You can think of it as fighting a battle, and we play a game to see who hits the most targets!” he laughs.
Taking it down to a more serious level, Ryan emphasizes how important it is for his team members to trust and depend on each other. The start-up scene is one that is volatile and tough – everyone must have a common goal in mind and work towards that together.
But of course, being volatile means lots of opportunities for growth – something Ryan is quick to point out.
“Being in such an early stage, your options are wide open. Career progression is certain. You don’t have to wait for the person above you to leave, or for yourself to leave before you progress to the next level. It’s an environment for growth and learning here.”
A place that not just promotes local experiences, but a great working experience as well – Verlocal is definitely the go-to company.
Are you ready to meet Ryan and the rest of the Verlocal team? They want to meet folks, who are just as passionate and driven as them. Hurry to make the first introduction - request to visit Verlocal here!