Hong Kong Business (August to September 2015)

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startups

TeamNote helps companies increase workforce productivity

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ounded in 2015 and spun off from AppTask, TeamNote’s mission has been clear since the very beginning and it is to help corporations unleash the productivity of their mobile workforce and maximise the working efficiency that mobile technology brings about. The platform provides both iOS and Android apps, as well as the web-based administration portal with the primary features of instant text/voice/video messaging, group chat, individual chat mode, as well as group announcements organised by the top management. It also offers GPS location tracking, news polling,

photo reporting, sales reporting and back-end reporting. TeamNote has various customised features, such as form filling, HR tasks, job dispatch and duty rosters. Founded by Roy Law, who has more than 16 years of experience in IT infrastructure and network security behind him, started TeamNote to ease corporate concern and aims at developing it as a design tool to protect industrial and commercial enterprises through digital communication. “Digital communication has replaced the email service and has become the primary communications platform. However, today’s popular instant messaging tools do not provide enough privacy and security. It is risky to transfer corporate internal information because a third party can hack and gain sensitive company messages or files easily,” says Roy. With TeamNote, corporations manage complexity more effectively through the all-round management of tasks, training, documents, team communication and so on. Currently, the company has received seed funding from YCombinator, JDB holding and Big Bloom Investment.

A new platform to buy and sell your pre-loved items

Launched in January 2015 in Hong Kong, Swapit is a mobile app allowing users to buy and sell second hand items. Founded by Patrick Kosiol, Jonas Hartmann, Teddy Ho, Boris Boege and William Wong, Swapit is turning the market for trading pre-loved items upside down, by focusing on the best experience for buyers. Patrick, one of the founders who recently became a dad, told Hong Kong Business that people don’t know where to find the items that they want 12 HONG KONG BUSINESS | SEPTEMBER 2015

to buy. Communication between buyer and seller is often difficult because usually they are not known to each other, and they find it difficult to link to each other due to rudimentary search options and lack of filters. “All in all, it’s not easy to buy nor sell items. That’s exactly what we built Swapit for: to buy or sell pre-loved items quickly. It comes with instant messaging that makes it quick and easy to sell,” he added. Swapit boasts of its uniqueness in reaching out to potential buyers in a location-specific, contextually relevant and immediate manner. It has HK$1 million in funding and is currently raising around HK$2 million to capture the entire market for trading second-hand items in Hong Kong. Patrick also shared that since the platform launched in January, the number of new users has been growing by 22.7% per month.

Email inbox turned into a chat box

When Talkbox, the first voice messenger app, was copied by many big technology companies, Heatherm Huang, who was one of the foundering team members, left the company and started his own. Introducing MailTime, an Open Messenger built with email technology. It’s email as quick and easy as texting, and messaging without forcing your contacts to all download the same app. According to Heatherm, the way people interact with emails today has changed dramatically, but the email experience has not. Users scroll through pages of copies, signatures, and metadata to find what they need. It’s all more reminiscent of the desktop paradigm than the modern mobile world. The MailTime Team wanted to build something different and open, so MailTime is a messaging service built on top of the open technology of email, that connects people and services. “MailTime disrupts the traditional email. We believe mobile email is about communication, not “organisation”. Therefore the best email app resembles a mobile messenger, not a tool for typing essays and moving emails around. We reformat your cluttered email threads into clean bubble chats, get rid of all those signatures, repeated data and formats,” he says. Heatherm stresses that people want what they are making because many of them download it on the spot once they are presented with the product. Just last year, with MailTime, he and his team became the first Chinese startup ever to enter into the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield competition. Currently, MailTime has USD 3M of Angel Investments behind them. Planning the move for now and the future The company plans to include a Referral mechanism by adding an additional account wherein users must invite one friend to Mailtime or pay 99 cents; a Viral loop whereby Mailtime signatures are set by default to advertise Mailtime, providing ads in every email sent. In addition, Network effects, @Mention feature and future ‘Seen’ features are available only between Mailtime users, so the more people who use us the better it gets. Finally, Service platforms, wherein users can use integrated services with their email contacts such as payment via MailTime which is also a good channel to acquire new users.