Jonathan Eg: Cofounder Basketball Dynamics, Influencer Marketing Strategies & Living Within Your Means - E137

· Southeast Asia,Founder,Start-up,Podcast Episodes English

We were always playing basketball together. We always did projects together and I think it built the foundation for our relationship and our trust having different roles. You know in sports right? I mean I think business, for me, or startups too, is kind of like a sports team; I think some people say that and you kind of know your roles - What do you do, for basketball, are you shooting guard are you this role right? Or are you a center? And what’s your job? So when this is outlined really clearly and we knew we had that trust and working relationship already in projects or on the court, playing sports, and I think it kind of went from there, so I picked them. Not every friend you can kind of work with in starting a startup.- Jonathan Eg

Jonathan Eg is the Founder & CEO of Partipost. Partipost is a platform that allows brands to connect with influencers across all tiers, from your nano influencers aka everyday people to your macro influencers, at scale and with speed. Since the launch of the Partipost platform in the beginning of 2018 till 2021, Partipost now has over 500,000 influencers and worked with more than 1700 brands on over 5,000 marketing campaigns.


Prior to this, Jonathan worked at United Crest Healthcare, taking care of the product and operations. Before that, Jonathan was actively involved at United Crest Capital, a boutique private equity managing largely funds of private families. Jonathan serves on the board of directors for United Crest Capital and United Crest Healthcare.


Jonathan has a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He enjoys reading, playing basketball, and watching TED Talks.

Jeremy Au: (00:30)
Hey, Jonathan, welcome to the show.

Jonathan Eg: (00:32)
Hey, thanks for having me, Jeremy. Appreciate it.

Jeremy Au: (00:34)
I’m really excited to have you on the show because you’re a founder in Singapore tackling advertising technology and it’s amazing to see that you’ve made a transition after a strong set of experiences as an operator and so I’m just kind of curious about all of that. Before we get into it, could you introduce yourself professionally?

Jonathan Eg: (00:54)
Sure. My name is Jonathan Eg. I am currently the co-founder and CEO of Partipost. We are a crowd marketing platform and we connect brands to influencers. Of course, for us, the definition of influencers is a bit different than the usual people with a lot of followers on Instagram and social media. For us, our original vision was to connect or allow anyone to be an influencer. You could have 200 followers, 500 friends on Facebook. So, we’re looking at how do we allow brands to connect to these regular people and be able to post about products as well and really be paid a little bit on the side for their marketing or whatever you call it. I think that was our vision, getting started, and now we’re in five countries in Southeast Asia. It’s been close to five years already, so it’s been a while, but, that’s the general description of what we’ve been doing.

Jeremy Au: (01:50)
Amazing. So, tell us what you were like in university because you started out in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois. So, I’m just curious about what were you like; were you already thinking about startups and technology back then?

Jonathan Eg: (02:04)
Actually, not at all. I think my mental state back then compared to now and I think even in high school, I was in Singapore at that time, looking at different colleges and universities in the US. I didn’t know where to go. I applied to a bunch of different places, this university is really good at engineering, this other university is good at business, and so I kind of asked my dad what should I do? He’s like son, I think you seem okay with everything, A’s here, but since you don’t know what you want to do, why not just do what I do and pick engineer, electrical engineering, computer engineer, that sort of stuff. So, I just kind of take that path and University of Illinois had an advantage, I think, to do electrical engineering. So, that’s kind of the path I took. At that time, I was just trying to graduate and get my degree, didn’t have any clue about what should I do afterwards. So, super lost at that time, but that was when I met my current co-founders there too. So, I guess everything happens for a reason. But, yeah, I really didn’t know what to do. After I graduated, I went back to Singapore, was looking for work to do there, I really didn’t know where to go. Then a few friends were like “Why don’t you go into the finance industry? That’s where all the money is.” So, I shifted over there and worked in a family office for a little bit, a few years there, right out of university and did some algo-trading, programming, traded at US times, 4am, you’re sleeping and stuff…life is probably not for me, after 20 years of doing this and sleeping at 4am everyday and decided to start this. So, that’s a little bit of background.

Jeremy Au: (03:42)
So, how did you go about starting this with your university classmates?

Jonathan Eg: (03:47)
I was working at the family office for four or five years already and, just nice, my cofounders. Actually, one is actually Indonesian and the other one is from Taiwan. We all met at the University of Illinois back like 10 plus years ago, super long ago. They were working in the US and Indonesia. One of them, the US one, was moving back to Taiwan. The Indonesian co-founder of ours wanted to look for a new job. So, everybody was kind of perfect timing, transitioning to something else, and I kind of had this idea. Pitched it to them. They were like, okay, let’s do it before we get too old and have kids and get married and stuff. So, let’s just do this, I think it’s a great idea and I think we really just wanted to work together and build something together. Of course, the idea had to be right and we had to believe we could see it happening. It could be kind of in the future and happening in the next four or five years, so that’s why we kind of took a stab at it.

Jeremy Au: (04:45)
What were they like in university; everyone was just hanging out at that time, was there an inkling that one day you’d go into business with them; what was it like hanging out with them?

Jonathan Eg: (04:55)
Actually, at that time, not at all, to be honest. Yeah, I can’t lie and say, oh, we we had this great idea we were working on ten years ago. We were always playing basketball together. We always did projects together and I think it built the foundation for our relationship and our trust having different roles. You know in sports right? I mean I think business, for me, or startups too, is kind of like a sports team; I think some people say that and you kind of know your roles - What do you do, for basketball, are you shooting guard are you this role right? Or are you a center? And what’s your job? So when this is outlined really clearly and we knew we had that trust and working relationship already in projects or on the court, playing sports, and I think it kind of went from there, so I picked them. Not every friend you can kind of work with in starting a startup.

Jeremy Au: (05:41)
So, let’s talk about that. How did you know they were the right people to work with because so many people have asked that question over and over again, what would be your point of view on that?

Jonathan Eg: (05:50)
Well, actually I think a lot of it comes down to the personality of us three founders together. I wouldn’t say we’re perfect for each other or something like that, but there’s a few rules we follow and we really all believe in these values, rules or values. We do disagree with each other. I’m sure most co-founders and any business, have disagreements and stuff, but we keep it inside and we’ve been doing that since, I think, day one, and we’ve always resolved any conflicts relatively well and just stuck by each other and supported them and thank God. I mean I came up with the idea, but they kind of lean on me for funding and that expertise which I had some experience in and I’ll lean on Ben, my co-founder in Indonesia for design work and he has the architecture background, design background and, of course, Tony, with his accounting background, masters in that too. So, it’s just really leaning on each other and really trusting each other and when we say something, we gotta do it, and if we can’t, we gotta explain to each other why and how do we resolve it together.

Jeremy Au: (06:55)
It’s interesting because a lot of the typical founding teams have two people, right, and three people is a little bit on the rare side. I, personally, have founded with a two-man or a three-man team in the past as well. What would you say are some of the differences from having one additional co-founder like the three of you rather than two?

Jonathan Eg: (7:15)
Three of us, I think, definitely there’s pros and cons. To me, I’ve never had just one other co-founder, we have three right now, in total. I think it gives another added perspective since we’re all kind of based in different countries right now, it’s really refreshing to hear what’s going on in Taiwan, what’s going on in Indonesia, and our personalities are similar, but also different. We have the values and core principles that we have aligned on but, on one hand, I think I could say this on air, but he’s more conservative, doing the forecast and stuff and he’s like I don’t know about this, let’s do it a little lower right? This would be more safe. You’re in Indonesia you have a lot of users there and people there. Why is it lower than Taiwan’s forecast? What’s going on? And then we kind of look at each other and kind of rebalance it and make it consistent and really keep each other in check. I think having two people. Maybe sometimes you might be like, is it just one person to go against me or what’s going on with this here third person. So, I think third person cannot be…three people might maybe make it a little more objective in some sensible, or just add a different opinion.

Jeremy Au: (08:22)
Co-founder dynamics is always tricky and, obviously, all of you had some prior relationship with each other. How did you guys do some team building or trust building activities; how do founders build trust over time?

Jonathan Eg: (08:37)
That’s a great question. For us, I think it’s about consistency. A lot of times we have our…we’re now based in different countries. When we started off, we were obviously in Singapore at the beginning, first year or so. But after that we moved into different countries, expanded to different countries, and they’re now based there for the last 3-4 years. So, we’re actually pretty far apart. Before COVID, I think every quarter we would decide to meet up, have our board meetings, have a bunch of different discussions with our senior team, regional teams, and you know, take turns with the Singapore or Indonesia or Taiwan or different markets. We just really want to be consistent with that, I think. Of course, we have our Sunday late night calls every Sunday to kind of go through things and just letting each other know and communicate all the time what’s going on? Yeah, I think that’s been super helpful in building the trust so we’re all really accountable to each other.

Jeremy Au: (09:29)
One thing you mentioned earlier was how you guys came together. So, why tackle advertising and crowd marketing technology? Previously, you were working more as a trader in the financial markets and, obviously, with the computer engineering background. So, why advertising tech as this initial jump off point?

Jonathan Eg: (09:49)
I would say we really didn’t think of it as advertising tech or in terms of verticals at that time. We were really thinking about the problem where you felt wanted to solve and we would go to work on every day. So, it was in like oh, okay, for the brands that we were going after were in the advertising budgets and in the advertising tech kind of vertical. So, we weren’t, we didn’t really tackle from there, right or wrong at the beginning, anyways, when we started. When we did more research, we’re like oh, that’s how you do it. But, primarily, initially, at the beginning, we were just seeing how to empower everyday people to make a little bit of a side income, make a little money on the side to post about things which they’re already doing. Post on social media and stuff. And in earning a little bit of cash on that based on that. Of course, we did more research into them, we’re like, oh, influencers do that only the ones with bigger followers and we kind of looked into that industry a little bit more and saw the pain points there. How do we allow brands to connect to 2000 of these everyday influencers in like 2 days, to post? So, how do we do things and use technology to kind of enable that?

Jeremy Au: (10:58)
What are some common misconceptions about this vertical?

Jonathan Eg: (11:02)
I think, obviously, if you think of it from a more surface, more kind of a clickbait kind of article, kind of feeling, you would think oh influencers this is influencers and you look in the past and kind of put us into that category. You’re like, oh, they do some influencer marketing thing, it’s done before, a lot of people are doing it. What’s different about it, right? I think that’s good and bad. I think at the same time we have a lot of clients and brands that work with us, they’re just like, okay, I think you do influencers, can you give me like…show me some profiles of these big celebrities and then I’ll work with them. We don’t really do that. We really work with everyday people. We can get you the right profiles or right demographics, the ones that live around there or something and then they’ll go down to your store, buy something and post about it for you and we really enable a lot of them through that, so that’s our unique selling point, speed and scale, and, of course, the data that comes with that, so I think that’s a misconception. But of course, when you’re, doing a startup and it’s kind of a slightly newer thing for most people, then I think that’s what you have to go through, and it’s challenging, but it’s also fun and trying to educate people on what you’re doing. Hopefully it adds value to the client side.

Jeremy Au: (12:20)
Let’s talk about influencers because it’s very much a pyramid with celebrity influencers at the top, and you have your relatively standard influencers that a lot of people are following as well the local domestic ones, then you got the micro, then you got the nano. So, tell us more about that pyramid, the ups and downs and the trade-offs.

Jonathan Eg: (12:41)
Yeah, I would say I think every category of that pyramid has their own pros and cons, definitely. We’re definitely dealing with the lower tier, I mean, the bottom tier there with the micros and nanos which I term the everyday person can be a nano influencer so I would say different tradeoffs. I think, logically speaking, celebrities and stuff, they have certain pull on certain products and different countries also use different celebrities or tiers of these pyramids to do social selling, live streaming, and selling it that way and it works, it works really well. Of course, nothing against those celebrities and bigger influencers. I think they’ll continue to do really great; I think our proposition is how do we get to those? How do we bring this new supply of micro and nano influencer into the pool and enable them to be as effective or potentially more effective than bigger influencers or some brands? Of course, if you’re a brand that’s in the luxury vertical right? Maybe you still want to be associated with a celebrity or something, but sometimes maybe work with a few micro nanos also helps the campaign and the ROI. Ultimately, we think that using everyday nano influencers has more trust and when you hear your friends talking about something, which is a nano influencer, assuming that they’re saying stuff authentically that you believe them, and you know them really well yourself, they like Italian food and they post about it, you’re likely to go try it out too if you like it, so I think that’s the differences.

Jeremy Au: (14:17)
That’s the tricky part. You talk about authenticity and one of the tricky parts is that a lot of the influencer activity out there doesn’t feel authentic. How should brands be thinking about how to maximise the authenticity of their influencer budget?

Jonathan Eg: (14:33)
Yeah, that is a tough balance to strike, I think, at times, and something we’re always trying to work on, to aspire to do. I think whenever you throw money into things, it gives off people’s impressions that you are just doing it for the money, or is it authentic and it becomes a question mark. Maybe they do love the product, but you kind of get the sense that it’s a little tainted, maybe, and you’re not sure as a viewer or consumer, if you’re looking at a post of an influencer. I think what we try to do with our platform is that we have a bunch of different polls or questionnaires and we asked a bunch of different questions like - Let’s say what sports do you like to do so will have a bunch of questions like that, or what products do you like to buy, beauty products, hair products or whatever? So, we really give that list out and we want these nano everyday people to influencers to answer these authentically when they complete this questionnaire or these surveys, then we’re able to give them the campaigns which are associated these brands that they like. So, I think we start with find out how they’re authentic first, what they’re truly like, and then we show them the campaigns to fit them and hopefully they’re doing stuff that they’re already trying out on different products, eating at the restaurant that they already like, and they’re just kind of pushed a little bit to post about it, and I think that’s kind of how we’re figuring out that balance right now.

Jeremy Au: (15:55)
There’s a lot of truth there because you’re providing that middleman or intermediary dynamic to help match the right person to the right brand. So it is, at least, there’s not visibly and obviously a mismatch. I think there’s a lot more value there, and I guess that’s true of every type of celebrity, nano, whatever it is. I guess I want to kind of circle back to what you said earlier, which was the brand always makes a decision between OK is a celebrity or top influencer versus micro and nano influencer. One thing you mention, of course, was brand prestige. So, that’s one as well, that’s obvious. What other criteria would push a brand to go more for the micro and nano dynamics?

Jonathan Eg: (16:38)
I think definitely another factor besides prestige, like you mentioned, is just the advertising budget that they have as well, the marketing budget. So, if you’re a small-medium business or enterprise, you may never or may not be able to afford a celebrity and sponsor them with $1,000,000 products or pay them in that sense. I think money is definitely something that is one factor. Another factor is, I think, also the type of industry they’re in. If it’s FnB, they just have to think about word of mouth marketing, which is what we’re trying to do right and scale up in our platform. A lot of things can be done through word of mouth and that’s also not to say that celebrities aren’t working when they push out a restaurant, it doesn’t go, and we’ve seen many examples of that. But to have a strategy that can incorporate both or several different tiers of influencers, right? Whether it’s from celebrities, macro, micro, or nano, and we’ve done several campaigns like that for different FnB’s for different FMCG brands as well so they incorporate multiple levels of tiers of influencers that kind of execute their strategy.

Jeremy Au: (17:46)
How should a brand make sure they succeed in getting their brand goals within their budget or making sure there’s a high ROI. Let’s just say they hire the right team, they choose the right level to go after, what else should they be doing in order to make sure that they don’t just blow it and say that was a waste of time versus that was a good ROI here, we should keep doing it. What is it that they need to do?

Jonathan Eg: (18:13)
That’s a great question. I think, our team, when we approached our clients and all these brands, the number one question we always ask them is what’s your objective and what’s the KPIs straight off the bat, we want to really understand where they’re coming from and do we even match that? Is what we are offering the services in terms of our micro nano influencers, actually able to achieve that? If we can’t, maybe next time or later when we have different features with different objects that we can handle. Maybe we will catch up next time and do that for you. But the easiest one is definitely, just general brand awareness and we’re able to help them reach thousands of these nano influencers to reach out through their friends and followers through social media. I would say a lot of it comes down to also the timeline because of the platform, we’re able to kind of reach out to 1000 people really quickly right through the app. It’s self-served and you could see a really rush campaign happening and coming in today and then tomorrow we could see one to two thousand people posting about it, so I think that’s where the automation comes in and you know, a lot of brands are always super busy all day. Marketers are super busy. They’re doing a bunch of different things advertising here there wherever, so, I think what we want to offer is that ease and that efficiency for them. That’s another thing that we’ve been able to do. I think we’re also trying to experiment with, and we call them, these nano ambassadors, nano influencer ambassadors. So, it’s kind of really similar to you know how a brand would sponsor or have a celebrity as an ambassador and you know, work with you for a year, they’re kind of tied to exclusively. Let’s say it’s drinking coke for one or two years or whatever, so forth, and all the commercials feature that celebrity, so, similar in that sense. Well, we want to get these called nano influencer ambassadors to be part of the brand and not just posting one-off. Really find these loyal, authentic, nano influencers and get them to be part of this multiple campaigns so they’re stuck with that brand. Just think of it, if you’re a friend or follower of these nano ambassadors and you see your friend eating at this Italian restaurant, trying out for the first time, he or she posted once, it’s not a big deal, right? That happens all the time. He goes two weeks later. Posts again brings his family, he’s like wow, this is great. Just trying out another meal, another pasta. This is an awesome place. You guys should try it, and maybe the next third time next month he brings you over. So, I think that kind of a consistency and hopefully authenticity gets his followers and his friends to be like that is actually legit and it’s a restaurant I want to try. So, I think similar to how ads work with retargeting, we got to see an ad several times to be able to convert. I think it’s the same with ours, but it’s coming from your friend. You know it’s coming from someone you know very closely, so we think you don’t have to see it that many times to be convinced. So, I think that’s something we’re doing to potentially even achieve conversions in the future.

Jeremy Au: (21:22)
You mentioned something interesting which is that a lot of these marketing contacts are busy juggling different things, different channels, and so, do you feel that influencer marketing is a complement to paid, complement to SEO; how should a marketer think about balancing or mixing or matching these channels in a way that makes sense and be more cohesive as a portfolio of a different bunch of approaches rather than a separate piece?

Jonathan Eg: (21:49)
Wow, that’s a really tough question. If I was to answer perfectly, I’d be doing a job which is tough. I think different brands obviously have a different mixture of baskets, maybe 20% in these types of ads, digital marketing or paid ads, and 10% influencer marketing. So roughly from my knowledge, I think in Southeast Asia of course on average is about 5% to 10% of most brands’ budget is into influencer marketing and we think it’s growing, according to some reports and statistics, but of course, I think, definitely, the beauty industry is one that uses influencers a lot. Whether it’s celebrities or macros or nano and it’s growing increasingly as well for the beauty industry. We can see that the right balance still needs to be there. This is what I personally think. I think if you go all in on one and I’ve heard marketers and brands tell me this before that, it kind of maxes out as well. You’re spending all you’re your budget on that and it’s not effective for every incremental dollar that you spent, the reach isn’t there anymore and the reach that you got is exhausted as well. I think the right mixture is there. I can’t really give exact percentages or anything right now, but I would say that having the right balance really comes from testing and a lot of the brands that we work with. They started testing with us ‘cause we were new at the beginning to them. These nano influencers? Why am I paying you and some regular people? What’s going on? Then they tried it out. It was effective. Not for all, but for, hopefully, most of them, and more than 50-60% of our clients, after they run one, they do come back and say, oh, it’s actually pretty effective. You know, I want to experiment a little bit more or I think I want to, you know, it’s working, let’s do more and all these AP testing and marketing, so I think hopefully if we collect more data on our users or nano influencers understand more about what campaign mechanics really work for different industries and verticals we can generate better ROI as we collect more data.

Jeremy Au: (23:46)
Are there geographic difference between the various micro and nano influencers because you’re doing five different geographies, you must see a lot of variation, not just in lifestyles of the nano influences, but also different approaches, right?

Jonathan Eg: (24:02)
Definitely, just comparing let’s say like Indonesia to Singapore, right? Indonesia is huge and just alone there we have over half a million users using our app as nano influencers. So, I would say they also have more followers as well, right? Just on average just because of the population. The definition for a nano influencer there is a little bit different. The range is a little bigger. Maybe they could. Some of them have like 3000 followers and that’s normal, whereas in Singapore it could just be me also, but from our from our stats, we don’t have that many followers on Instagram or friends relative to like Indonesia, let’s say, or even the Philippines which is really social country and they’re using Facebook to search for things like Google from what I hear. So, I think every country has their own definitions of what are nano, micro like you said is really different definitions and also the way they interact and how the clients perceive them. I think there’s also definitely some local differences as well. For example, you know Taiwan has a lot of celebrities, they have a culture of that and super famous ones, right? They go to China and become world famous. So, they do have would you say…that environment in that population that hey, you have a lot of followers and I do trust you more so our nano influencers there, I would say, that range is even bigger, even though it’s a not a huge population like Indonesia. But, from 10,000 followers and down, we still call them like a nano influencer.

Jeremy Au: (25:32)
One interesting thing is that you see a lot of brands struggling between creating like a total global/regional marketing campaign versus more localised to the region, localised to the country level and localisation can range from media sets all the way down to the choice of influencer and recently we saw in Singapore, Lazada and Shopee had totally different approaches to their influencer strategy about who they pick. I think one chose a much more Korean star to cover the whole region saying K-pop is consistant love and someone else picked more country specific top influencers for their country, but definitely a contrarian pick for most that wouldn’t be heard of in other countries. What do you think is the right balance for a regional brand to be thinking about influencer marketing in various countries?

Jonathan Eg: (26:25)
That’s a great question too. The few regional brands that we worked with, they do really appreciate that we’re in several countries, five countries right now and hoping to expand to two more in Southeast Asia. They’re really looking at a, I would say, mixed approach. I think that’s a term that they’re using. They do want some celebrities who will be a little bit more well known in the region. It could be a global star even from the US or from Korea because K-pop’s huge now, but they also want to mix it up with a few local stars too. I wouldn’t say it’s either/or, but what we suggest, especially at the beginning, is to try it out, try a few. Whether it is a mixture of local and regional or global type of strategies and influencers, but also try to mix it up with the type of influencers. We know we specialise in or we focus more on micro and nano influencers, but we also work with a few bigger influencers as well, celebrities and stuff, sometimes and that’s just doing partnerships with other agencies and influencers that we’ve worked with. So, I would say that a mixture is probably the best way to go because it does really depend on the brand itself. At first, they’re growing from the grassroots or they're growing from below and you’d apply a more local approach first with influencers and then maybe the timeline shifts later to something else.

Jeremy Au: (27:52)
It’s interesting because when you talk about the mixed approach, it feels like it makes the most sense and it’s interesting because as I reflect on it, it feels like influencer marketing has definitely stabilised and matured, I think, in terms of the professionalism of the influencers, the understanding of what it means from the brand’s perspective and also the maturity of the intermediaries and a safe space. So, I guess, in my brain, is influencer marketing a mature industry or is it something that still has a lot to grow, but in different ways…what do you think?

Jonathan Eg: (28:27)
My personal opinion is the latter. Definitely I think it has matured in some ways when you’re working with the celebrities, and that’s in the macro/bigger influencers. That’s been going on for the last…ever since social media has been around in the in the current sense, right? But even before then, there was influencers putting quotations in…and maybe they represent your brand and commercial back then. So, there were always these influencers around. It’s just really what channel do they use to promote stuff. But in the current sense of the word influencers, I think the bigger ones, like I said, has kind of matured that trend. The standards are set already on how to interact, like you said, the transparency. What they should do? What’s the order of things? What’s the rates? Pretty much standardized for the big ones, but for the micro and nanos, I think there’s still a lot of room to grow. I mean, we just started 3-4 years ago and, back then, people were asking me what’s a micro or nano influencer? Never heard em. What is that? Just a small, very small one. What’s going on? They’ve been asking me that, so, there’s a lot of room to grow up because we feel we have a lot of room to grow and to kind of push this industry forward. Definitely there are other players, probably around the region, and we respect all of them, but I think we can grow the pie together. I think the key is really getting the best ROI for the client, but at the same time helping the nano influencers feel like they’re pushing for a product that they generally like. I think that’s the most important thing.

Jeremy Au: (29:54)
A product that they really like…so, how would you define success then? How should they be thinking about success because it feels like a lot of marketing continues to be stuff like can you measure, can you not measure? And a big part of it, these days, of course, is less ad attribution from the changes driven by Apple, so on and so forth. So, it feels like a lot of stuff is becoming less measured as a result. So, how would you normally push people to be saying like this is the results we can expect from this budget. How would you set it out for them?

Jonathan Eg: (30:26)
Yeah, I think it’s also on their objectives, like I mentioned before, some brands are saying okay, I need to reach out to a million potential eyeballs and reach within a short period of time. Can you do that? We’re able to hit these numbers for them. Some might say it’s just brand awareness, it’s reach; where’s the sales and stuff? Of course, we have a lot of SME clients as well, talking to us and saying, I mean, they’re not working for reach. They’re saying I had spent advertising budgets and I need sales pretty soon. You know, I need my business to sustain. So, we totally understand that which is why the nano ambassador campaigns came about as well to see how can we help them and really use these nano influencers to generate sales which we know they can’t. It’s just what’s the mechanics? What’s the right way? What’s the requirements of the campaign what do they have to post and in what order? What we’re trying to do is make it a lot easier for these estimates to do that. They have, we call this like, a self serve campaign manager for them where they can log in and click on, look at the different templates based on their objectives and kind of give them suggestions of this template would work for you, try it out, putting a little bit of budget first. Give it a shot. If it works you can ramp it up. So, we really want it to be sort of like the Google ads you know or the Facebook ads of nano influencers, if you will. So, I think that’s something we’re aspiring to. We’re definitely not there yet at all, but I think we have the foundations there and I think we’re getting there.

Jeremy Au: (31:58)
Amazing. There you are, you’ve learnt so much over the years, could you share with us a time when you had to be brave?

Jonathan Eg: (32:05)
Brave…I think it took some bravery not a lot and definitely not saying I’m braver than anyone else, but to me personally I think it was a big step to be committed to starting Partipost personally. We had to think about the opportunity costs and things like that. You look at the financials and the numbers and things and thought would I regret this, if I didn’t do it thinking like 30 years later, would I regret not taking a try? Taking a stab at this, the answer was yes. So, I think given all the unknowns and the risk, there was a little bravery there, I hope, I’d like to say. I think the people who are braver than me are probably my team. The people in my team are taking the chance with me and the co-founders. I mean the cofounders, I have two, are taking a chance. I think believing in me at the beginning too and to believe in this idea based on my not so good persuasion techniques with them at that time. So, yeah, I think that’s what I think was the bravest moment for me and braver for them to kind of tag along.

Jeremy Au: (33:08)
How did you get past that fear and opportunity cost calculation?

Jonathan Eg: (33:12)
I think I’m also lucky in the sense that I want to say I don’t have to worry about money or anything right, but I don’t feel the need to buy a lot of expensive things. I think living within your means is normal for me. It’s not something I had to work at; to could tell myself, don’t spend on things, so I think I was lucky with that. Same with the other two co-founders. We were kind of also thinking about. Maybe we should push our having kids and getting married a little bit down the line, right? So, I think that played into a factor as well. Talking to our partners about that just being super lucky. So, was I super brave? I think maybe the people around me were braver to kind of give us an opportunity to take this plunge right into doing a startup so. But yeah, I overcame it because of the people around me. I have to thank them for that.

Jeremy Au: (34:02)
Yeah, you said something which is very true which is you’ve talked and implied it’s really about the financials but not just about having the savings and all, but also about the lifestyle in terms of the expenses you were making and the choice that you’re saving and something else as well which was postponing some life decisions and I remember personally that, and was always told, if you want to build something, make sure that your expenses don’t grow faster than your or don’t grow as fast as your income for many folks. Do you have that similar thought process or feeling about that?

Jonathan Eg: (34:37)
Yeah, for sure. I think expenses and all these things definitely plays a part in all the decisions that we make. Definitely, I’m doing the calculations before we start the startup, I’m doing projections for the startup and all the projections you can do and sometimes you got to throw it out the window, it’s never super accurate. So, you can only kinda do them and hope for the best. Ultimately, it comes down to how much passion and do you really want to take a leap of faith, no matter all the numbers and projections that you do, you got to do something to make sure it makes some kind of sense, but after that, you’re not sure how accurate it is, but let’s just do it, guys, let’s do it.

Jeremy Au: (35:16)
Thanks so much. I appreciate you, Jonathan, for coming on the show. I would like to raise the three big themes I heard from you. The first thank you so much for sharing your personal founder journey. I thought was an interesting dynamic to hear about. The fact that you didn’t know what was going on for university, so you just did what your father suggested to working in the finance industry like so many folks in Singapore to eventually deciding to strike out on your own. And I really appreciate you for being honest about the various tradeoffs and decisions that you make along the way, and I thought it’s not an easy set of conversations to have at any point of time
The second, I thought was really interesting was talking about obviously our domain dive into micro and nano influencers across the various geographies in Southeast Asia and thinking about how to think about it from a brand perspective, but also thinking about it from how to maximize the ROI from it, which is both useful for brands, but also useful for many startup founders who will also be thinking about and if low budget along the way.
And, lastly, I think thank you so much for talking a little bit about, I think, the true founder dynamics about what it means to work as a co-founder, what it means to work with two other co-founders and how you guys actually met. And how it kind of makes sense backwards, but maybe not so much at that point of time when you’re just playing basketball together. And also, I think talking a little bit more about how to manage and minimize risk and calculate opportunity costs and be thoughtful about how you’re going about it. Thank you so much Jonathan for coming on the show.

Jonathan Eg: (36:48)
Thank you, Jeremy, thank you for having me, appreciate your time.