“Pursue your passion. That’s the most important thing” – Mr Trinh Tuan, the founder of Babyme.vn
If passion is your thing and what drives your startup, you have another advocate of passion’s role in a venture in Mr Trinh Tuan, founder of multiple startups in Vietnam, including babyme.vn. Speaking at the third event of Startup Grind Vietnam Ho Chi Minh chapter, Mr Trinh Tuan, interviewed by another entrepreneur – Ms Alex Tu, recalled his startup stories and shared his perspectives on multiple issues related to building businesses in Vietnam
"It all started with passion"
Our guest speaker attended Ho Chi Minh University of Technology because of his passion in making robots. It was that passion that drove him to the university and that delayed his graduation. So engrossed in Robocon, a popular competition for those who love building robots, he neglected university study and consequently graduated one year later than planned. Though Mr Trinh Tuan admitted that he barely had any financial gains from his success in Robocon competition, the biggest achievement was the fun derived from doing what he loved to do.
The same passion continued to drive him towards other projects including an online education project or a toy trading venture with his wife. Then, a tragedy hit when his wife, the mother of his beloved daughter, passed away in an unfortunate incident. Grieving over the death of his wife and struggling to find natural milk for his daughter, the young widowed man found the new passion.
On his journey to find natural milk for his daughter, Mr Trinh Tuan struck a life-changing observation. Believing that breast milk contained nutrition and materials that could protect his daughter from diseases and enhance her immune system and metabolism, he tried to connect with milk-rich mothers. He found some generous donators, but encountered a number of social stigmas protesting the sharing of breast milk. It is thought that using a stranger’s milk is not healthy and that powdered milk is already sufficient. Digging in research on the milk-sharing topic, Mr Trinh Tuan determined to overcome such stigmas and feed his small daughter, with breast milk. Amazed by the incorrect stigmas in our society, the guest speaker also noticed that there are many like him who is looking for breast milk and at the same time there are also many donators that are willing to share the nature-given material. Passionately striving to correct the stigmas and help spread the practice of milk sharing in the society, Mr Trinh Tuan went on to launch Human Milk 4 Human Babies Vietnam, Vietnam Breast Milk Community and recently Babyme.vn.
“Projects are like our children. It’s so happy to see them grow up and to become something. It means a lot. We as human beings tend to love to do things that are useful and to make some changes in the society”, said Mr Trinh Tuan, who has truly lived his life to such a belief.
“Don’t waste too much time on business plans”
Recalling his startup stories, the founder of Babyme.vn recommended future entrepreneurs not to waste time on business plans. Business plans were overestimated while the business landscape was always changing to fast, making whatever is planned likely outdated in the future? Instead, he strongly suggested that startups use one-page business canvas. The canvas will help convey the core of a business such as business problems, vision, solutions to the business problems and timeline while helping founders avoid derail his vision. . After the canvas, he suggested that startups focus on the development of both customer base and products or services.
Citing his own failure with the first version of Babyme.vn, he claimed that startups tend to succumb to temptation of having too many features and overlook what truly matters. His recommendation is to figure what target customers need (by using focus group, for example) and to fine-tune products or services to meet customers needs rather than offering too many features in one package.
“The first requirement when it comes to funding is your own personal reputation and credibility”
At the end of the interview, the atmosphere became more active with questions from the audience and answers from both our guest speaker and MC, Ms Alex Tu, CEO of her own company Alex Tu as well. Ms Alex Tu emphatically stressed that entrepreneurs must build up their personal reputation and credibility in quest for funding from investors. Our beautiful MC went on to remark that would-be entrepreneurs should lead a “well-controlled” life in which they should how to control their behavior and emotions. She insisted that showing composure and self-control is critical in investment-seeking success. Furthermore, another piece of advice from Ms Alex Tu centers on constant personal development. She urged the audience to constantly enrich their knowledge and self-study all the time to build not only their capabilities, but also their credibility.
This article only captures prominent highlights of the interview. The full version of the event can be found here. We thank both Mr Trinh Tuan and Ms Alex Tu for their generosity in spending time at the event and sharing valuable lessons and perspectives to the audience. We are grateful to ambitious and hungry-for-success attendants for their support.
Our next event will take place on 27th November 2014 with the appearance of Mr Trinh Tuan Anh, the founder of ticketbox.vn. Mr Trinh Tuan Anh will elaborate on the market of ticketing and event management as well as share his plan on keeping ticketbox.vn the market leader despite increasingly fierce competition.
Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs. This is the first chapter launched in Vietnam.