‘Owe$ome’ Malaysian team at AngelHack looking for sponsorship: Page 2 of 2
By A. Asohan July 29, 2013
Rivals and business plans
Soon is cognisant of the fact that there are similar ‘bill-splitting’ apps out there, such as BillPin. When asked how Owe$ome is different and what added value it brings to the table, she points to its user-friendliness and socially-interactive elements.
“Most bill divider apps out there currently use the manual key-in function – which looks and works kind of like an Excel sheet squeezed into your mobile phone,” she says. “So you manually key in your bill items and prices, and then send out notifications.
“Though we have this key-in function built in our app, it’s not our key function. We’re offering a more simplified, user-friendly option: Just snap the bill, the app will convert the image to digitised text, and then tag your friends (via Facebook Connect) to each item in your bill to send out instant, clear notifications.
“We also plan to make that process a lot more socially interactive, by letting friends take pot-shots at each other for not paying up – for example, splashing serial debtors with red paint – and using funny animated reminders!” she adds.
The Owe$ome development will be rolled out in several phases. The beta would be the first, the ‘MVP’ or minimum viable product, with key functions built-in for market testing and feedback.
“For Phase II, we plan to add in geo-location and easy auto-payment features – we hope to monetise the latter once we’ve built a bigger pool of adopters,” says Soon.
For the third phase, the team will focus on building partnerships with F&B (food and beverage) and entertainment outlets, and others.
“We aim to make the app globally appreciated, a core utility in everyday community life and sharing,” she says. “San Francisco will be a good gauging ground ... baby steps, first!”
When asked to elaborate on Owe$ome’s monetisation and business plans, Soon said that further down the line, as its user base expands, this would include the integration of an auto-debit payment system.
“This would allow users to pay the money they owe friends directly from a pool of ready funds – from which we'll earn a percentage of interest,” she says.
“As we build more F&B partnerships, we also plan to incorporate a plan where in return for the rich database and consumer information/ insights we can provide them, we'll get a commission off each bill snapped using the Owe$ome app at their eating premises.
“We'll also consider in-app advertising,” she adds.
The six team members from VLT KL are still gainfully employed at the digital agency. Soon credits their chief executive officer Warren Tan for being fully supportive of their participation at AngelHack Malaysia. She also calls out VLT KL managing director Eugene Lim and innovation director Andrew Tan.
The Owe$ome team, and not VLT KL, owns the app.
“After discussing with both my AngelHack team and my company, and getting their full blessings, we decided to own this thing as the Owe$ome team – possibly to incorporate after exploring possibilities in Silicon Valley,” she says.
“VLT KL will be investing in our startup in the form of man-hours – that is, releasing some of us who work there to pursue this venture – as well as offering digital marketing support,” she adds. “Currently, we are in our initial stages of seeking funding.”
The entrepreneur experience
It’s been quite a joyride so far, and promises to get even more intense as the team prepares for its Silicon Valley adventure, where Soon says it hopes to get “startup exposure and lifetime friendships.”
The toughest hurdle was not the sleepless nights, it was fear, she admits. “But we stepped on that by stepping out and just doing it.”
Soon – and her team-mates, come to think of it – has always had that entrepreneurial spirit.
“Many years ago, one of my bosses asked me what my five-year vision was, and I instinctively answered: Entrepreneurship.
“This desire has never waned, in spite of the pains! If there’s anything I’ve learnt from this experience, it’s that there are no short-cuts in life. It takes real sacrifice, hard work, and sincerity in building relationships – the last quality is key, I believe, to entrepreneurial success,” she adds.
Connect with the Owe$ome team via Facebook at www.facebook.com/OweSomeApp or follow via Twitter at @OweSomeApp. Check out the app on YouTube here.
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