Melvin is building a new startup but he definitely is not new to entrepreneurship. He has already set up (and sold) two companies in Asia, won industry awards and honours, spoken at many entrepreneurship conferences – and he has done all of this around 17 countries across the world.
Melvin Wong is a serial entrepreneur residing in South Korea that joined the Founders Program at STATION F last July to solve a pain point that many of us have experienced with sought-after events: exorbitant resell ticket prices and fraud in some cases. Many have tried to address this problem but few players have yet proposed a compelling solution. Find out what Melvin is doing differently and why he chose Paris to launch his startup.
What is 1Krowd?
1Krowd started in South Korea and we want to make ticket reselling fair and square for every party. Thus, we offer a blockchain ticketing platform that could stop and allow reselling of tickets and at the same time prevent fraud. Event promoters could earn a percentage for every one of their tickets that people resold or to disallow reselling altogether. We also able to control the price of the resold tickets according to the legislation in different countries and ensure every ticket is genuine. The name 1Krowd represents crowds of people who gather at events and the number 1 is our cheeky way of wanting to be on top of an alphabetical order. The other fact is, that was the best domain name I thought of that was available at that time.
How did the idea come about?
Originally the idea wasn’t about ticket reselling. It was more of an idea to raise funds for events via a crowdfunding mechanism that I coined called Ticket Token Offering (TTO) where event organizers pre-sell tickets represented by non-fungible tokens (NFT) residing in the blockchain. After many talks and walks, I decided to make a detour by going into the reselling arena where there’re more painful problems to be solved. Nonetheless, we are still using blockchain to empower tickets.
How do you choose where to set up your new companies and why Paris for 1Krowd?
E.U and U.S are our main markets. At the moment, different E.U member states have different legislations for ticket reselling – some allow and disallow reselling while some implement a cap to the resale price. Thus, I see a real use of our ticketing platform in this complex environment. Furthermore, we want to be in a startup environment that is conducive for us to thrive and grow. Station F happens to offer this and coincidentally your Batch 5 intake timing was fitting for us to apply. So, here I am and I hope the rest is history..
What are the 3 most important lessons that you have learned in building your startups?
I’d like to offer more than 3 lessons.
- “Effort is not negotiable” – I’m echoing what Diego Simeone said (manager of the football club Atlético Madrid) because the same is true for running a startup.
- Offer something that people can’t refuse – am I echoing the Godfather? Lol! Whether is B2B or B2C, people want real value or something that could really solve their pains.
- Listen to bad feedback – Most founders are naturally overzealous about their ideas and startups and fail to listen to people’s feedback, let alone the negative ones. Try to spend more time listening to comments – good or bad. I particularly love bad feedback because they help me to improve.
- Don’t listen and follow too much of the startup hype in the media – there’s always much talk about startups from Silicon Valley and people have the tendency to believe whatever is happening in Silicon Valley could happen in their areas too. Well, if Mark Zuckerberg were a Bangladeshi and started Facebook in Bangladesh, I seriously doubt Facebook would be what it is today (no offense to Bangladesh). So, the lesson here is to be realistic.
- Don’t focus too much on being a unicorn – Again, be realistic. To be a unicorn, you often need to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right team, using the right technology and the right resources to empower the right solution. It’s hard to get everything right! So, “work on what you got, not what you hope for” (a quote from Hotel Artemis by Sherman, played by Sterling K. Brown)
- Find a large enough market size – Ironically, startups should also focus on sizeable markets. Yes, there are lots of problems that still need to be solved today. But try to focus on those that really matter and could largely impact the economy or society. Because it’s hard to build a startup so make sure it’s worth your effort (see #1).
- More lessons here – https://www.quora.com/What-were-your-biggest-mistakes-in-entrepreneurship/answer/Melvin-Wong
Interested in joining the STATION F Founders Program (alongside entrepreneurs like Melvin and many others)? Applications are open until September 30 – apply now!