From left to right: Tan Yong Boon, Zolven (CEO) and Chan Jia Hui Andy (CPO)
Hailing from humble backgrounds, Singaporeans Andy Chan and Zolven Tan both had zero entrepreneurial experience. However, they knew deep down that they were entrepreneurs at heart.
The duo then separately explored their own creative ways to seek business opportunities. Zolven had profited from selling merchandise in school, only to get into trouble with the school, while Andy had embarked on multiple business ventures that failed to take off.
Despite the several challenges, they were both unfazed. In fact, they knew exactly what their business ventures were lacking: the right people and talents. While lamenting over the fact that they had no access to established networks over lunch and coffee, the duo was inspired to start Collab - a smart platform for connecting talents, facilitating entrepreneurial ventures.
Collab is a smart platform that connects business ideas to co-founders and team members. This also extends to advisors, investor and mentors. The platform utilises Artificial Intelligence to ensure that talent matches are accurate. All the user has to do is to simply answer some questions and hit ‘Match Me’. The algorithm then works its magic to ensure the best matches are made.
Singaporean startup founders face many unique challenges, with the lack of the right talent being simply the tip of the iceberg. The Collab team does not stop at helping startups build their team. They aim to provide a foundry - a collection of articles, courses and explanations, enabled by AI to enhance the user experience.
Andy shares humorously, “Our startup helps other startups start up!”
Collab’s vision is to radically simplify and assist the arduous process of starting a business. They envision a world where even a mechanical engineer from Namibia will have a chance to collaborate with a Fortune 500 company director on a startup venture.
Andy shares that ironically, some of the challenges they faced as a startup are the exact ones their platform wishes to alleviate for fellow entrepreneurs. Such problems include difficulty in seeking advisors, the right people to collaborate with and limited resources. The duo also faced rejection umpteen times due to their young age and inexperience.
As a resilient individual, Andy advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to persevere despite difficulties. He also emphasises the importance of having passion and fortitude.
He shares, “We were already thrown a truckload of obstacles before we could even think of a name for the company. At the end of the day, even if the world comes raining down on us, we are still powered by the fact that this is something we love to do and something we really want the world to have.”
In the next 12 months, the team aims to gain a foothold within Singapore, starting by going live with their prototype and allowing users to test their product. They will also be launching a few courses on entrepreneurship on the platform to test their readability algorithm. The beta version of the platform will be launched at the end of Q1 2019, serving startups at all stages.
The team plans to eventually expand into the SEA region and eventually support the entrepreneurship community in Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand as well.
Collab's beta platform will be launched in Q1 2019.