In interview with Inisghts Success, Edwin Tay, CEO and Co-founder of EasyUni Sdn Bhd, shares contribution of him through EasyUni which is Asia’s leading education site. Edwin along with his team helps students and parents search, compare, shortlist, prioritize, and apply to universities or colleges of their choice. He started EasyUni with the aim of making the process of choosing a university easier for potential students. He is experienced Start-up founder with a demonstrated history of working in the digital marketing, internet and education industry. He is Skilled in Marketing Management, Digital Strategy, Start-ups, and Advertising. He provides mentorship and advice to other young startups.
Below are the highlights of the interview between Edwin Tay and Insights Success.
Give a brief overview of your background as a CEO. I’m 45 this year.
Graduated as a Materials Engineer and was working as an R&D Engineer before I left and started my first company called Netinfinium. This was back in 2000. Netinfinium is a digital agency and email technology company. Led and grew the company for 10 years before finally exiting via trade sale, after which I started EasyUni, my 2nd startup. On the side, I also mentor other startup founders that came my way, sharing my experience and knowledge of the market, funding and operational strategies. I am also an Endeavor Entrepreneur (www.endeavor.org), working to give back to the community, as I have benefited tremendously from many hours of help rendered to me by many mentors through the years.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience?
For us, it’s not just the quantity of information (institution database) but also localization of content – is key to providing good user experience. Hence for those non-Anglophone countries, we localize our content and information – not only by translating the content into local language but by having a local indigenous content writer to write original contents to suit the local psyche and style of writing. We find that this not only helps our user experience but also helps improve our ranking on search engines. Describe some of the vital attributes that every CEO should possess. Ability to see the bigger picture and communicate ideas/strategies to rally followers to be aligned with the overall objective. Able to see intrinsic strengths in your people and utilizing it. Work smart and inspire your team and organization to constantly be better tomorrow. Work harder than yesterday if you want a better tomorrow.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?
Our niche and strength is our location. We are in a hurry to entrench ourselves deeper into the region and win the market, by having on-ground local presence with local staffs. We have done so in Malaysia and Middle East and are now replicating our success in Vietnam and Indonesia. In addition, we tend to look forward and chart our path for the future; more than looking over our shoulders at our competitors. Our biggest competitor is ourselves. How do we ensure we constantly improve ourselves and provide better value/service to our clients the students? If we get that right, we are confident things will sort out by itself and EasyUni will grow.
What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as a CEO?
There was a lot of trial and error initially. I started my 1st company when I was 26 years old. Being young, I did not have extensive network to rely on. In addition, there wasn’t any structure in place to help young entrepreneurs. Not many investors are ready to invest in un-proven startups. You would have to quickly be profitable or you would have to close down. The co-founders and I had to hustle and grow the company in any way we could. As our business grew, so does our network and experience.
Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals?
EasyUni is growing well but there is still so much more to be done. I am currently busy growing our managers and identifying future leaders to help propel EasyUni to the next level. Ultimately our goal is to be the No.1 platform that students in South East Asia and Middle East goes to, when searching for tertiary institutions.
What is your advice for budding and emerging CEO’s?
Truly understand why you want to start your own company. It can be any reason and it can even change as time pass by. Just remember to constantly remind yourself of this reason and persist in chasing it. Be humble always and don’t be shy to ask for help and to give help. Treat your staffs as your business partners that should profit from the growth and not as steppingstones to your goals. Take good c