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A Decade of Realising Dreams' Series (Ep 5)

Episode 5: Edwin Wong from Cloudbreakr

The Trend Catcher: Influencer Platform Founder Rides the Tide of Big Data

捕捉潮流的人:社交媒體分析平台創辦人「踏浪」記

Though challenges emerge every day, good things are bound to happen if you stick it out.

雖然每日有很多挑戰,但堅持捱過後往往就有好事發生。

Edwin WONG 王江源

Co-founder, Cloudbreakr 共同創辦人

cloudbreakr.com

Edwin, 28, gained insight into the social media’s ongoing momentum when he was studying marketing at PolyU. Aspired to ride this popular wave and leverage his expertise, he set up Cloudbreakr, a social media analysis platform. By analysing big data, the platform is helping SME users and big brands to understand the market trends, create unique content and improve the effectiveness of influencer marketing. ‘Cloudbreakr stands for “windsurfer”, who stays on top of market trends,’ Edwin explained.

28歲的Edwin 早在理大修讀市場學時洞悉社交媒體如同一股浪潮,他亦決意以自身的專長乘風破浪,成立社交媒體分析平台Cloudbreakr——透過分析大數據,協助中小企用戶及品牌瞭解市場趨勢,創作獨有的內容及提高網紅廣告效用。「Cloudbreakr 的意思就是『滑浪的人』,亦寓意著大家在潮流上。」創辦人Edwin說。

At present, apart from the local business, Cloudbreakr also operates in four important Asian markets - Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia - and has partnered with more than 200 international brands. With such a promising prospect, it has already raised tens of millions of funding. But Edwin admitted that his windsurfing endeavour has not been free of hardship and there were frustrating moments. How did he get out of the predicament?

現時,Cloudbreakr除了本地業務外,還有新加坡、台灣、泰國及馬來西亞四個亞洲重要市場,亦相繼與超過200個國際品牌合作,前景可謂十分樂觀,而融資總金額達到八位數字,但Edwin直言踏浪的過程中困難重重,亦不乏令人灰心氣餒的時候,究竟他如何衝出困境呢?

Averse to Study: The Beginning of Entrepreneurship

一切由「唔讀書」開始 畢業始創業

Never quite interested in academics since Edwin was a kid, he said this ‘disadvantage’ paved his way to entrepreneurship when he studied marketing at PolyU. ‘I didn't care for studying in university. Then the professors and the department staff advised me to take part in entrepreneurial competitions, which I’ve become fond of.’

Edwin笑言自小不大喜歡讀書,直到大學修讀市場學,這個「缺點」竟成為了創業的開端。「上到大學都不喜歡讀書,教授和教職員則建議我去參加創業比賽,反而令我喜歡上當中的過程。」

In his third year at PolyU, Edwin was awarded a HK$120,000 seed fund from the PolyU Micro Fund Scheme for establishing a social enterprise, which provided an online sales platform for restaurants and small and medium-sized brands to run one-for-one marketing on ‘suspended’ services as an effort to promote consumption with conscience. The experience has made him think a lot and led him to contemplate the creation of Cloudbreakr. ‘Following the experience, I really wanted to create a software to identify the right spokesperson and media for different brands, and find out how key opinion leaders and online public opinions have an impact on the brands’ value online.’

早在大學三年級時,Edwin獲批理大微型基金計劃的12萬港元資助,支持他創立社會企業,建立一個網上銷售平台,為餐廳及中小品牌提供One-for-one的待用文化行銷,推動良心消費文化,而這次經驗令他感受至深,繼而萌生創立Cloudbreakr的念頭,「這次經驗令我很想創造一套軟件,去為不同的品牌找到合適的代言人及媒體,找出他們甚至網上輿論如何影響品牌於網上的價值。」

Gain Experience at Work for A Better Foundation

創業後再打工 累積經驗重新出發

The experience in social enterprise was a practice for Edwin. Thereafter he briefly worked for a marketing company to gain experience and later formed a new team for the new venture. Cloudbreakr rolled out in 2016, which combines data analysis and influencer marketing to provide clients with marketing tools and service solutions. This project was also supported by the HKSTP-PolyU Tech Incubation Fund. He recalled that upon the company’s launch, for a client whose product design conveys a strong sense of social mission, his team helped the brand to identify bloggers and celebrities who are enthusiastically involved in charity, as well as media keen on charity news coverage. The series of publicity manoeuvres gave a significant boost to the brand’s charity sale.

社企經驗如同練習課,及後Edwin在營銷公司打工累積經驗,之後便組成新的團隊,於2016年推出Cloudbreakr,將數據分析及網紅營銷結合,為客戶提供營銷工具及相關的服務方案,而此項目再次獲得科技園—理大科技培育基金的支持。他舉例,公司成立初期有些品牌客戶,其產品設計具強烈的社會使命感,他們曾協助品牌搜尋熱心公益的博客、明星,以及熱衷報道有關慈善新聞的媒體,在一系列宣傳下,大大增加品牌的義賣成績。

Although the company fared well at the beginning, Edwin soon encountered the first challenge. He believed it was due to their focus on Instagram analysis - while their competitors in the market were running Facebook marketing or other related businesses. Many brands also did not pay much attention to Instagram and allocated bulk of their resources to Facebook. Edwin had to wait for the right moment. ‘It takes time to educate the market. When the growth of registered users failed to convert into business, we had to consider different attempts. Suddenly, the business opportunities come in.’

縱然公司的起步成績不俗,但Edwin很快就迎來了首個難關,即使當時市場上已有臉書營銷或其他相關業務的公司,但公司當時主要分析Instagram為主,不少品牌將資源集中投放在臉書,而不太熟悉Instagram的數據分析,所以Edwin唯有靜待時機。「因為教育市場需要時間,所以當有段時間註冊用戶的數量增長但未有生意時,我們只好考慮作不同嘗試,後來生意突然就湧進來了。」

Edwin went on to explain, ‘At that time, we must work hard at building customer confidence. We knew that, in the field of analytics software, we can’t compare with international and Mainland Chinese companies in terms of resources. Our edge, however, is the precise analysis of the local market – for example, users were able to know about market trends through emails and articles. It took only several weeks to see results.’

Edwin解釋:「當時要著力建立客戶的信心,我們知道以分析軟件來說,資源難以跟國際及內地公司比較,但我們較優勝的地方,就是能仔細分析本地的市場——例如透過電郵、文章來讓用戶瞭解市場的趨勢變化,幾個星期後就有成績了。」

Brace for Herculean Tasks and Keep Trying

面對重重難關 勇敢嘗試擁抱失敗

From the entrepreneurial practice in campus life to expanding Cloudbreakr into overseas markets, Edwin is a rare case of diving into entrepreneurship right after graduation. He referred to the whole journey as long-distance running, scattered with hurdles such as issues on personnel changes, products and data collection. Once overcome, they leave behind a valuable experience. Edwin recounted how a partner’s departure made him feel pity and worried about deterring the investors. Instead, investors remained full of confidence and supported Edwin with a cheque, saying, ‘I have faith in you, just go ahead with confidence.’ In addition to the courage of trying and optimism to embrace failures, he credited the team's eagerness to act and determination for being able to overcome every challenge.

由讀書時期的創業練習,到如今Cloudbreakr發展至海外業務,Edwin是少數大學畢業後馬上創業的例子,但他比喻整個過程如同長跑,途中遇到不少難關,如人事變動、產品、數據收集等問題,但跨過後往往有另一種體會。Edwin回想,當時公司有位拍檔離隊令他深感可惜,亦擔心影響投資者的決定,但投資者卻充滿信心,把支票遞到Edwin手上並說「我信你,放心去做」。憑著勇敢嘗試,樂觀擁抱失敗,Edwin認為,關關難過關關過,全因為團隊的行動力和決心。

The road to entrepreneurship often brings personal growth. Looking back at the three years since Cloudbreakr was created, Edwin saw a lot of changes in himself except for one thing – he still resists admitting defeat. ‘I was quite naive in the past and took action without much consideration. But with more experiences, I’m now able to see things from different perspectives, for instance clients don’t only care about effectiveness, but also policies, costs, etc.’

創業之路往往能令人成長,Edwin回望創立Cloudbreakr短短三年多以來,自身的改變亦不少,唯一不變的是不輕易服輸的性格,「以前較天真,甚麼都沒有多想就去做;但現在的經驗較多,看事情也會有不同角度,例如客戶著重的未必只是成效,還有政策、成本等等。」

‘Cloudbreakr is Like a Point-and-shoot Camera’

Cloudbreakr似傻瓜相機」

Nowadays, consumer brands, institutions or even political parties reach out to the general public through social platforms. With trending topics on the Internet changing at lightning speed, Edwin had high hopes for future developments in big data at Cloudbreakr. Big data will drive the application of AI, which will not only track trending keywords or topics, but also develop insights into the connections between hot topics and even predict future trends. ‘If a brand intends to seize on a topic, we can use our tools to identify what’s happening in different regions. Such data will effectively help customers to plan future marketing strategies, positioning, content and so on.’

現時不同品牌、機構甚或政黨均會以社交平台接觸群眾,而網上的熱門議題更是瞬息萬變,Edwin期望未來Cloudbreakr的大數據發展,能有助其人工智能的應用,不單是統計關鍵字或話題,而是能夠洞悉到議題之間的關聯及推算趨勢。「假設品牌要找一個議題的時候,就可以通過我們的工具找到不同地區正發生的事。這些數據有效幫助客戶計劃未來的行銷策略、定位、內容等。」

For an entrepreneur, the company is no different from his own child. Edwin felt that, however, Cloudbreakr resembles a point-and-shoot camera, and that he would be an enthusiastic photographer. ‘Not every shot by a point-and-shoot camera is a good shot. Sometimes it was overexposed and failed. Sometimes it took a great photo and I would ponder how to duplicate this success. For me, Cloudbreakr is where ideas come true. Without it life might be dull. Now I’m full of motivation to keep pushing for my goals.’

於創業者而言,企業與親生仔無異,而Edwin則覺得Cloudbreakr更像一台傻瓜相機,而自己則是熱愛攝影的人。「傻瓜相機不是每一張都影得好,有時太光失敗了,有時拍到好照片,又會思考怎樣可以複製這個模式。對我來說,這是實現想法的地方,如果沒有Cloudbreakr,可能生活會很沒趣,反而現在讓我有幹勁繼續衝。」

 

 

 

 

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