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7 Questions with Christina Yip
7 Questions with Christina Yip
Name: Christina Yip
Current title: Co-Founder
Current organisation: airVting
I used to work for 2 startups in the Blockchain & Payments industries. I was part of their founding teams which grew from less than 5 members to more than 500 employees. Now, I aim to bring about all the experiences learned into my new start-up which emphasizes live-commerce.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Wearing many hats at a go! Going into a startup, there is no financial security and you have to build everything from ground zero. In order to reduce costs, many things have to be done by yourself e.g. accounting, finance, marketing & legal.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
airVting first started when I returned from China after tending to the overseas expansion plans of a UK company. I was thus amazed by the changing landscape and how technology impacted the social media consumption of many. In particular, live-streaming was a hot tool used by many and some started experimenting it in the e-commerce world.
Going back to Singapore, I started discussing this concept of using live-commerce (live streaming + e-commerce) with my now co-founder Ryan Ong and we started testing this concept by boot-strapping. At that time, both of us held full-time jobs - I was a legal technology consultant, and Ryan was in the real-estate industry.
Late last year (2019), we received a chance to be accelerated by a German government initiative focusing on media technology. It was then we both decided to quit our jobs and moved everything to Germany! Having the chance to work with many world-class start-ups, we have learned a lot and focused on building a committed, vibrant team as we believe teamwork is the key to bringing us nearer to our goals. We are now a small team consisting of 16 people!
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Meetings with the internal core team in the morning, followed by client meetings after lunch and finally catching up with our consumers' communities at the end of the day.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
To be upfront & truthful about your capacities & deliveries. It is alright to be slower yet stable but do not over-promise just to clinch a deal!
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Leaders eat last.
There are many amazing stories on how leaders who build meaningful team cultures succeed. There is just so much you can do as a single but when you have a great team, wonders happen.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Eat last. Serve first.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
We faced many setbacks even in the early stage of the ideation phase. We initially had a supportive friend who was interested in the project. As the same for many, we were thrilled to be working with close friends on a project we were all enthusiastic about.
However, we were told we had to give up more than 95% of our shares for this investment. It was a difficult choice at that moment but we decided to discontinue the working relationship because of this conflict.
After this incident, Ryan & I decided to boot-strapped our startup instead, and even took up personal loans to finance this project. Many people are skeptical of what we are doing and why we threw away stable incomes to start a company with not much resources given. Others even mentioned that it sounded too crazy to be moving to Berlin for something so uncertain.
It is very important to have the right co-founder because being in a start-up is an extremely difficult journey and you need that support from each other especially when outsiders may not believe in the same things you pitch about.