Today, we talked with Moya at LocationHunter to see what motivates her and why LocationHunter is primed take the global venue-booking scene by storm.
What is LocationHunter?
With LocationHunter, connecting people with beautiful venues has never been faster/easier. We know that finding a special location for a perfect event is time consuming—therefore, it has become our mission to provide a selection of unique venues, to save time and effort. With the LocationHunter iPhone app, event hosts can now look through an extensive and diversified list of wonderful venues straight from their phones. If you don’t own a penthouse, courtyard, gallery or theater, but would love to make use of them for your next corporate or personal event, enter your requirements on our mobile app and find an ideal venue with a few simple taps.
Considering this, LocationHunter is essentially a platform for booking high-end and unique venues. Since its launch in China in 2015, LocationHunter has covered 70% of the domestic first-tier and second-tier cities and launched nearly 5,000 high-quality venues of different styles, providing over 3,000 creative and exciting activities. Venues cooperating with LocationHunter include not only the Rose, Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La and a series of world-class five-star hotels, but more than more than 3,700 different themes and special venues, including locations in Britain, the United States, France, and Italy. We have actively participated in quality venues on the global market.
1. Who am I?
People said I would not make it.
When I was a kid, none of my parents, friends or my teachers believed I would make it in the future. But I turned out just fine. Just like how the ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan in the fairy tale, I am amazed by myself.
I come from a poor family in Sichuan province. Like many others, I dreamt about a decent life in a big city. But I don’t have rich parents or connections, so I have to try much harder in order to live the life I want. I made my own way to the top management level in a multinational corporation. I was appraised as an outstanding consultant in this company and became the marketing director of a public company.
Many people said, “Moya is successful because she has high IQ and EQ.” Actually, EQ is made from failure, confusion and struggle. I failed twice in the Gaokao (China’s university entrance examination), each time because my English was too poor. When I spoke English, my friend used to ask me, “are you speaking in a Sichuan dialect?” It was incredibly embarrassing and humiliating. I might look like a smart woman to you, but in fact, I am not. I think, if I truly am smart, I will not have chosen to start my own business, but to marry that ex-fiancé of mine in the USA who has a rich father. There are so many people who are smarter and more resourceful than I am. But also because they have too many options, they do not appreciate them or are as eager as I am when a glimpse of opportunity passes by.
2. A single woman who has no money, no connections, no tech background and she wants to start an IT company?
People used to say to me: I like you, but you are not entrepreneurship material. Not only are you a single woman, but you’re also an outsider of the IT industry. I admit that I know nothing about coding. But I believe a person who has more creative ideas can manage a tech company better than a coder. As long as I know what I want and communicate my ideas to tech experts, my ideas can become reality. That’s why I never argue with technology experts. Respecting and understanding technology makes me more competitive.
3. Is she just crazy about getting rich?
As an entrepreneur, I have been questioned by my friends. Am I crazy about getting rich? When I was younger, I told myself that someday I would become a CEO. Today my dream has come true.
To be honest, I never think about getting rich now. Jack Ma can create value for this society and make Alibaba a world-renowned corporation. If a woman can be as responsible, valuable and capable as Jack Ma, can she be successful as well?
Success cannot be duplicated, but we can learn from the best. I chose to stay in China because I have one point to prove: our product can create value for our users and the society. I am a woman, but I’m equally responsible, brave, altruistic and honest. I have a belief: if I can make it, then other responsible and altruistic women can make it as well. In my opinion, this is the spirit of the data technology era.
4. This is our time
When I was little, the definition of a middle class family was a black and white television. When I was in college, rich families could afford super-light color televisions. Today, many families have 3 televisions, but only one is in frequent use, while the other two are just there to make your daily life more convenient. For example, you can watch your favorite program in different rooms.
This is domestic demand after our life quality has been improved. This society needs more and more individualism. In the future China, more people will want to be rich and LocationHunter can help them to achieve their goals. I cannot change people who are already successful, but I can persuade people who want to be successful in an easier way. The future competition is about innovation among young people. In the old days, entrepreneurship needed money, resources and connections. Future entrepreneurship relies on technology, data and innovation because everybody has the chance.
LocationHunter provides a dynamic platform to survive, grow and develop boutique firms, young people and female entrepreneurs and to help other enterprises in this ecosystem to live better. I hope all of our consumers are more satisfied when making purchases and all of our business owners are more efficient when selling their products because of the service provided by LocationHunter. Our product targets the mid-high end market. Chinese society isn’t lacking information; on the contrary, we are flooded with too much inaccurate information. LocationHunter will remove the unnecessary information, thus filtering and tailoring the data to your needs.
In the next 15 years, there will be 500 million people entering into the middle class in China. What does that mean? There are less than 150 million middle class people in the United States and the domestic demand of the US promotes the development of the world economy. The domestic demand of China will be 3 times the size of the US.
5. Why did I have to start my own business?
As an entrepreneur, the question I’ve been asked most is “why did you have to start your own business?” It might be that I saw the underlying problems that our current society has and the opportunity that goes with it. If I chose to overlook these social issues and instead ran off to get married in the US, I would regret it for the rest of my life.
The market regulation used to be made by major corporations, but the future rules should belong to all of the buyers and sellers who are honest and obey the laws. In the past 10 years, I found many entrepreneurs have made massive profits from manufacturing and real estate. But today’s young people, female entrepreneurs and start-up companies lost the opportunity because of a lack of funding and technology. We can build up a fair trade platform using big data and connect all the innovative companies, so that more people can benefit from it.
LocationHunter’s vision is to help all the creative youngsters find their own venues and opportunities through our platform. What social problems have we solved so far? With the increasing number of middle class families and the increasing consumption, more and more people want unique experiences. But due to unbalanced information, it’s hard for people to locate a special venue that meets all of their demands when hosting an event, and it’s equally hard for those owners of the venues to reach out to their target markets.
6. Say No to old-school ideas
This year, one of the most famous high-end chain restaurants called Golden Jaguar (金钱豹) filed for bankruptcy. The service industry is in fear and complaining about the low profit margin. I think people always need to think ahead of time. China is going through a tremendous reformation. We are in the middle of transitioning from the IT era to the Data Technology era. Today, many IT companies are making their way into traditional industries because many of them haven’t realized we are entering into the era of data technology. IT manufactures but DT innovates. The real impact on traditional industries and employment is our old fashioned ideology; it is the ignorance and fear towards the future. I don’t know how many companies will close down because of old fashioned thought and how many of them will be brilliant because of innovation.
7. As a start-up company, what challenges are we facing?
For the past three months, I’ve been miserable, tangled and angry. As a start-up company, we often face team conflict, yet how do we resolve contradictions and transmute resistance into power? That’s my responsibility.
At the beginning, when I started my business, I was accustomed to a family-style kind of work atmosphere.
However, after LH was financed successfully, we gained more employees, and the work system has been perfected. The newly established system was difficult to adapt to, however, and conflicts and grievances have piled up.
So, I realized the seriousness of the situation, then put everything on the table to solve it face to face. Since there are so many complaints and so many grievances, we must face and solve them one by one. Finally, all the conflicts and misunderstandings were eliminated, and after removing the knot, we have become an invincible team.
8. How come many resourceful companies shut down, but we are still here?
A lot of people ask me why I started a business, and I explained it as sacrificing everything you have for your dreams and sticking to this dream. How many people will be like me 3 years ago? I gave up the well-paid executive life at an multinational company, and in the midst of Beijing’s most severe smog crisis, gave up moving to the United States to marry my boyfriend with a rich father. Instead, I chose to rent a bed and live with two female colleagues in Beijing and did not take wages for 2 years. I gave up the opportunity to travel abroad every 2 months, and gave up the opportunity to attend cocktail parties hosted by 3-5 international brands every week. I chose to give up this kind of life and chose to realize my dreams. Although I no longer have the aura of foreign executives today, as a single woman, I am passionate every day and stick to what I think is right. It not only requires courage, but also requires enduring action.
9. What’s new about our products?
Creative products need to attract others and arouse customers’ desire to buy. If you would like to see the products of LocationHunter, compared with the products of our competitor’s, LH is much more attractive and gives people the desire to buy. This is where the motivation of a consumer economy exists.
10. How to build up a good team
A. Seek a common goal
B. Promote a positive team attitude
C. Engage in effective team regulation
Is a start-up company difficult to recruit for?
At the beginning, our company was small and lacked funds, so we couldn’t offer a high salary for employees, but still there were a few professionals wanting to join the company. Knowing Pine and Andy is the best thing that ever happened to me. Pine holds both bachelor and master degrees from Nankai University. He was a product director at BreadTrip. Andy graduated from MIT; he was the General manager of Zygna, and helped Google extend their business into the Chinese market. The reason why they selflessly work for LocationHunter is not about the money, but because they are attracted by the concept of the company.
What made them decide to selflessly work for a startup company?
As the leader of the company, I have to learn how to make my employees believe they are sharing the same company objectives with me. I believe that corporate culture is a “human-oriented” management system with a corporate management philosophy and corporate spirit at its core to inspire the staff’s sense of belonging, initiative and creativity. It is more important to create value than to make money.
The start-up is made up of my team. They are my biggest asset. The work we do together and the decisions we make together will make or break my startup. During the first year of the company’s operation, because they believed what they did would succeed, no one asked to resign, even though everyone only received 50% of their salary those days. That’s why building the right team should be my top priority. Hiring the right people, motivating them, mentoring them, training them and collaborating well are all necessary things I need to do to build the right team. In a startup, everyone needs to be able to see the big picture, even while they’re working on the small building blocks. In addition to hiring those who are capable of that, I try to foster it in my own environment.
There are a lot of young people who ask me, as a leader of a company, “between the Western world and the Eastern world, which world is better?” I then reply “why am I the leader who mixes Western and Eastern principles?” As a good leader, I must look forward and start from the overall situation to assure myself that I am going in the right direction. The investors offered me new office space and resources in Shanghai and Chengdu, but I refused them. LocationHunter is a service-oriented business partner of high reliability in terms of quality. The service is the most valuable product at the moment. What I should do is improve users’ viewing experience and reduce and avoid complaints instead of extending to other cities.
11. How to do branding with no budget?
Branding is when you are doing the same thing as others and you survived but they did not. Spending tons of money on branding does not make you a hero. Branding that depends on one’s budget is not sustainable, let alone competitive. Good marketing is word of mouth. If a company can help customers grow, they would recommend us voluntarily. In my opinion, every standard is made by the market. Only when consumers believe that your company is worth recommending has good branding been achieved.
12. how will LH stand out among competitions?
Actually I prefer to call them examples more than competitors. There are many enterprises that are examples for LocationHunter: Alibaba, Uber, Airbnb and Huawei, just to name a few. In the battlefield, only one side can survive. But in the business world, all we need to do is keep learning. The ultimate goal of competition is not defeating the other side, but developing yourself. Choose your best competitor, appreciate your competitor and learn from your competitor.
Check it out for yourself at http://www.locationhunter.net/en.html