In today’s digital world, social media has become a big part of people’s lives.
And many brands have looked to social media influencers with large followings to promote their products. Leveraging on this trend, one of this year’s Expatpreneur Award winners, Vincent Yang (pictured below), co-founded influencer marketplace anyStarr last year along with his partner, Yoshiaki Hiyoshi. Also last year, the duo launched an e-commerce platform called abComo.
Their rise to anyStarr-dom
Engaging social media influencers to help promote a brand is one of the most personal ways for brands to connect with potential customers. However, it is a strategy often applied wrongly by brands. “Many of the current influencer platforms simply pair influencers with a certain follower range and by category to a brand, instead of whether the brand matches the influencer’s personality and own personal branding,” shares Vincent (pictured left above), who is originally from China but has called Singapore home for 10 years.
Yoshiaki adds, “This often leads to a poor experience for both brands and influencers, as there is a mismatch of expertise and experience.” He met Vincent in 2018 when they were both working for the same company, and they decided to create a one-stop influencer platform that understands influencers as individuals, and which would recommend brands that are a match with an influencer’s interests and preferred content. Fast forward to 2020, and anyStarr was born.
After realising that many influencers – in Asia as well as in Europe – were finding it difficult to connect with brands, they also observed that many brands were using conventional platforms like Facebook and Google to run paid ads. This would result in a poor market launch for the brand, due to a poor user experience.
“By promoting products cross-border through influencers, we believe that we are able to help global brands expand into tougher markets successfully,” shares Yoshiaki. anyStarr has successfully onboarded over 30,000 influencers since its launch, with a goal of attracting more than 120,000influencers in time. abComo has also completed the seed and angel round fundraising within a year, with investors who were key founding members of Alibaba Group, Meituan Group and Qunar.
Launching an app
Many influencers tend to hold another full-time job due to the unstable nature of the work. However, Vincent shares, “anyStarr hopes to change this and build a platform that is able to sustain the livelihood of influencers. ”The company has recently launched an app to help influencers source new campaigns and keep track of their campaign progress. “Over the next year, we are looking to launch new features to help influencers monetise their content and make their lives easier,” says Yoshiaki. Know any would-be influencers?
Read more about The Finder’s Expatpreneur 2021 Award winner, Vincent.
Started in 2017 by The Finder, the Expatpreneur Awards are intended to honour hard-working, successful, community-minded foreign-born business owners in Singapore. All winners must exhibit how their businesses help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s own mission. This year, marks the fifth annual awards. Find out more here.
By Jasia Shamdasani for The Finder Issue 307, June 2021 / Images: Courtesy of abComo Ecommerce Pte. Ltd.