In an interview with Insights Success, the Founder and CEO of Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy shares her insights around her organization’s journey and its specialized solutions and services. Also, she broadly discussed her company’s core competencies and how the company is establishing itself in the market.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Janthana and Insights Success:
Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur.
Ever since I was a child I always wanted to run my own business, but I didn’t know where to start, so first I went into a normal corporate career and ended up working as an internal audit director at UBS. However, to get some experience as an entrepreneur, I invested a small sum in another startup on the side. I was also on the board as a non-executive director. Once I felt that I had gathered enough capital and experience to manage and grow a company of my own, I left my job and started Tapoly.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience?
Our target markets are the gig economy and the sharing economy which are both diverse by nature, so we offer a wide range of products to cover the participants in these markets. We make our insurance as customizable and flexible as we can.
Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess.
Focus – It’s important to for any entrepreneur to have clear goals and work towards them with purpose, without getting distracted.
Resilience – There will be many setbacks along the way, but a good entrepreneur learns from mistakes and bounces back to continue on their journey stronger than before.
Forward thinking – You should always be thinking ahead to the next target and the one after that. Otherwise it is too tempting to be pushed from one crisis to the next without making real progress towards your goals.
Integrity – There is a cliché of the ruthless businessman, but in reality it’s being consistent with your performance and delivering on your promises that will put you ahead. This applies both within your team, and also to external relationships with customers and partners.
Realism – Keep your goals and focus to realistic targets, because nothing kills a business faster than an inability to deliver. Also, if you are seen making grandiose unsubstantiated claims, then that can kill your credibility.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?
We operate in an under-served growing market with only a few competitors. This is an unusual situation to be in. I actually see competition as a good thing, as it increases consumer awareness about on-demand insurance in general, and that helps to drive take-up of the products.
What are the frequent challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the workplaces and what are the ways to tackle them?
There is still an expectation in society that women will be more family-focused than men. This expectation is particularly apparent in the investor community, which is predominantly male. I think there is a fear that women will not focus on their business as much because they have to spend time with their children. It may be true that women are more caring than men, but if so, that gives us an advantage in business, since it is essential to create a good environment for employees in order to get the most out of them. I think the best way to tackle misconceptions is simply to prove them wrong.
What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur?
I have chosen one of the most regulated industries in the world to build my first business, so that is not easy. Plus building a tech focused company is very costly, so raising enough money will always be an issue. Another issue facing early stage insurance companies is finding someone to partner with. Obtaining enough risk capacity to underwrite the variety of products that your customers need is not easy. For that you need to meet with established insurers and convince them that you are worth their time and effort. It was a long process but eventually we got there.
Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals?
Currently I’m focusing all my energy in growing Tapoly and I don’t have much time do other things. But I would like to help and inspire other women to follow suit whenever I can. I want to change society’s perception about women in business, and ensure there are opportunities for everyone no matter their background.
What is your advice for budding and emerging Shepreneurs?
Make sure you raise enough money to cover you for 24 months, because you can’t guarantee that your existing investors will reinvest. Most investors want to see a lot of traction before they reinvest but tech companies often take between two and four year before breakeven, and tech is labour intensive. So it’s important to raise enough money to see you through launch to the point you start getting traction. Many tech companies fail because of this issue.