Startups / Entrepreneurship

Top 4 Overcoming Challenges I Have Faced As a Female Entrepreneur

Posted by Andrea Loubier on February 26, 2017

As a millennial female entrepreneur, I am acutely aware of the challenges we face in the business world. As more and more industry leaders such as Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt are speaking out about the importance of hiring women in tech, progress is being made to give women equal opportunity to be successful in business. However, there are still hurdles we have to overcome. Here are four challenges I have faced as an entrepreneur in my tech startup journey and how I have overcome them. 1. Fundraising in different time zones One of my biggest challenges, when I started Mailbird, was finding investors. However, it was not because of my gender. I think investors are more open to supporting Southeast Asian female entrepreneurs. This was confirmed by Rosaline Chow Koo, founder and CEO of the first private insurance and workplace wellness exchange in Asia, who after pitching her startup idea to American investor was told that his firm typically multiplies the potential revenues for females by ten, and divides by ten for male entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur based on a small island in the Indian Ocean, the hardest part of fundraising was doing it remotely and contending with investors different time zones. While connecting with investors in different countries sometimes means late nights or early mornings, the lack of sleep is worth it. However, I would love to see more female investors in different regions of the Southeast Asia so that we can grow and support each other. 2. Not…

The Rise Of PANKs And What That Means For Startup Culture

Posted by Andrea Loubier on February 20, 2017

No, PANK isn’t another way of saying pink in a country accent. PANK is a new acronym used to describe a market of women that, until now, have been overlooked. It stands for Professional Aunt, No Kids; a term coined by Melanie Notkin founder of SavvyAuntie.com to describe her websites demographic. PANKs are digital influencers like myself who play a financially meaningful role in the lives of other people’s kids, are active on social media and influence the purchasing decisions of those around them. Why is the rise of PANKs important? The rise of PANKs is important because we live in a world that is obsessed with when a woman becomes a mother. No matter what she has achieved career wise, in pop culture becoming a mother is still the greatest thing a female can do with her life. It’s created a societal standard that women, even highly successful ones like Jennifer Aniston, should be looked down upon because they are not mothers. The PANK acronym shows that a shift is starting to happen in our society. No longer are career driven women being called childless spinsters. Instead, we now have a term that celebrates this childless status and acknowledges that women who choose this alternative lifestyle play a major role and have untapped influence and purchasing power. PANKs, Startups and Entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia Over the past few years, there has been a steady rise of female-lead startups. I had started Mailbird before I turned 30, and there are numerous…

Talents Beyond Childbirth: Why Tech Startups Need To Hire More Female CEOs

Posted by Andrea Loubier on February 14, 2017

We don’t usually invest in female CEOs. It’s not because of any kind of prejudice. Just think about it carefully, besides giving birth, what can women do better than men? Nothing. This quote by Luo Mingxiong from Jingbei Investment in an article by Tech in Asia almost made me spit out my morning coffee. With all the positive work being done with organizations like HeForShe and the topic of equality in the workforce becoming an increasingly hot topic, I never expected to see a quote like that from a Chinese businessman in 2017. As a CEO of a tech company myself, who just so happens to be a woman here in Southeast Asia, reading this was completely enraging. Unfortunately Luo is a little behind this age in time given the supporting data, proving the positive implications of women in leadership roles within tech companies. I’ve gone through the gauntlet of fundraising for my company, it’s not easy. I’ve talked to many VC’s in the U.S. and Europe who are incredibly supportive of female founders. I find it sad that there are still some people that are missing out on the opportunities that female leaders can bring to innovation, technology and business in both products and services, because the company is led by a woman. With only 29% of employees that are women and an even less that are CEOs it is more important than ever to encourage gender equality. Studies have shown that diversity is a key element in the workplace. It makes teams…

What To Expect Of Women In SEA In Tech For 2017

Posted by Andrea Loubier on February 7, 2017

I don’t know about you, but 2016 was a whirlwind. My tech startup hit one million customers, we launched our integration with Slack, expanded to three offices worldwide, won a Windows 10 Download Editor’s Pick award and I had an article published in Forbes. To say that I am excited about what 2017 has in store for my company is an understatement. However, I am equally excited to see what the year has in store for South East Asia’s women in tech. Even though 2016 held a stronger spotlight on the tech industry’s lack of a female presence, there is still much work to be done regarding equal pay and gender equality in all stages of the tech corporate ladder. Despite this, we still saw progress in 2016. The business world is finally starting to recognize the importance of values brought to the tech business ecosystem by women. These include diversity in collaboration and problem solving, nurturing qualities and conversations about the strength of being a woman instead of the perceived weaknesses. In a region known for its high cultural expectations of women, we have seen the rise of many powerful women in tech work hard to disrupt the status quo. It is because of those who were not afraid to defy traditional norms that more South East Asia women have been able to join their ranks. I predict this will continue to be a driving force in the coming year. Here’s what you can expect from SEA female tech…

How To Turn Your Struggles As A Female Entrepreneur Into Opportunities

Posted by Andrea Loubier on February 3, 2017

Learning To become a Female Entrepreneur Entrepreneurship is no longer a man’s game. More and more women across the world are trading in their traditional roles for a pair of heels and a killer power suit. There are nearly 6 million formal, female-owned small businesses operating in East Asia and economies like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia are booming with female-owned businesses. But while these numbers bode well for female empowerment, many women still struggle with living up to their full potential in the business world. While more women are deciding to open up their own businesses, there are still a unique set of challenges that are holding us back. Today, I’m going to show you how to turn some of those hurdles into opportunities to empower yourself, grow your business and smash that glass ceiling to oblivion. 1.  Defying Social Expectations I remember walking into tech conferences three years ago and being able to count the number of female attendees on one hand. While the numbers are increasing year on year, it can still be intimidating to talk business in a male-dominated arena. Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and an activist for empowering leadership for women worldwide. There is social pressure to conform and change ourselves to adopt a male approach to business. But not too much, we don’t want to come across as “bossy.” This type of thinking can sometimes lead to us selling ourselves short in the business world. “After making it to the finals of…

What You Need To Know About Starting A Business In Bali

Posted by Andrea Loubier on January 27, 2017

Starting a business in Bali combines two of every entrepreneur’s greatest desires: living in paradise while making a steady profit. The number of international startups springing up in Bali over the last few years has turned this island paradise into something more lucrative than just another Southeast Asian holiday destination. It has become a business opportunity with over 5 million consumers; that caters to a thriving startup ecosystem and is a place where startups can reduce their costs, maximize their profits and live in a breathtaking part of the world. If you are thinking about packing your bags and setting up shop here like I did, there are some things you need to know about what it takes to start and build a technology business in Bali. Bali Is All About Collaborative Co-Working Spaces Due to the shift in millennials choosing to work remotely over a location based job, Bali has developed an abundance of co-working spaces. This trend has created a creative and collaborative environment where individual entrepreneurs and startups can be mega productive, share their story, network and be a part of a supportive community. I’ve discovered my hub and favorite co-working space in Bali, going from a fixed office to being location independent, then back full circle to a more fixed location again, simply because it’s a wonderful place. I have met some of the greatest people at Dojo Bali which I find to be excellent for a number of reasons like location, an engaged community, social events…

10 Quick Tips on Leading a Remote Team

Posted by Christin on January 25, 2017

Merely interacting with your group of remote employees isn’t enough! It’s very important to make sure you build a working relationship with them. These 10 awesome tips lay the groundwork for properly leading a remote team. 1. Use the right tools Video meetings, IMing, and emailing are all effective ways to keep in contact. Decide which ones work best, and how often you’d like to see these communications. Maintaining a group calendar is extremely helpful, so nobody is left out of group-wide announcements. Do some research to find the best tools, based on your team’s needs. Here is a list of tools that we would and already have recommended in our blog post series “The Challenges of Remote Working”: Task Management Asana Wunderlist Moo.do Todoist Notes and Documents Evernote Google Drive Time Management Time Doctor Rescue Time Email Management Mailbird (Windows) Unibox (Mac) Unroll.Me FollowUpCC Video Meetings Skype Hangouts Veeting Rooms AppearIn Time Zone Scheduling Easy Clock ScheduleOnce Google Calendar Doodle Calendly Calendars Google Calendar Kin Calendar Human Resource Management People HR Podio Messaging/Chat Slack Skype HipChat WhatsApp File Storage Degoo Dropbox For any other tools you might need Product Hunt 2. Get the team on board with those tools Find the right tools for your team, and stick with them. Once you’ve found the most effective programs, make sure you hold a training session–don’t just assume people will pick them up right away. Keeping an open line of communication during the implementation of these tools is key to their…

How Southeast Asia Female ‘Millennipreneurs’ Are Killin’ It In Business

Posted by Andrea Loubier on January 23, 2017

Growing up as a “third culture kid”, I knew I wanted to run my own business, but I never imagined that in three short years I would be a CEO off a kick ass, international tech startup called Mailbird. Nor did I think I’d be recognized as one of the most influential female entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia. But I am not the only one smashing the glass ceiling and changing the face of start-ups. According to the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, which surveyed “high net” entrepreneurs from 18 different countries, companies owned by Millennial women reported 22% higher revenues. Yip. Despite our age and “lack of experience”, female entrepreneurs are bringing home bigger profit margins than anyone else. Let’s look at how we are doing it – and most importantly how Southeast Asia Millennial entrepreneurial women (MEW’s) are disrupting business as we know it. 1. Millennipreneurs Know How To Hustle A trait I have noticed amongst female entrepreneurs like myself, is our tenacious mindset. Once we have a vision, we do whatever it takes to build a killer business. So it’s not surprising to me that 43% of millennial women have used their personal savings to start a business. No matter how small that initial amount was, the fact that they took that risk is impressive. And while the majority of us are still sourcing funds from external sources – this doesn’t mean we aren’t taking on risk or hustling just as hard. I spent hours with business…

5 Myths About Remote Working Teams

Posted by Christin on January 21, 2017

Are Remote Working Teams The Future? Hiring teams to work remotely may appear to be a risk you are unwilling to take. Questions surrounding productivity, skill, and effort come to the forefront of a hiring person’s mind. There are many things that can seemingly go wrong!  This notion, however, is completely incorrect. Here are five common myths regarding remote working totally busted. 1. Remote Workers Dictate Their Schedule While this is true in some regard, all remote workers need to be up and working when their clients and coworkers are doing the same. Sure, they may be able to sleep in longer and cut out the commute, but that doesn’t mean they are their own masters of work-related time. A successful remote worker will have a set schedule that coordinates perfectly with the rest of the teams’ schedules. 2. Work Simply Doesn’t Get Done The inverse is actually true. By removing the distractions of the office environment, such as coworkers stopping in to say “hi”, or a few minutes of gossip at the water cooler, remote workers focus on the work, rather than other people in the office. With fewer reasons not to pay attention to the task at hand, they can crank out more work each day. Productivity rises when people work remotely.  3. Remote Workers Are Lazy Nope, quite the opposite is true. Since many members of a remote team work in their physical house–although many do not–they often set aside a “working area”. Remote employees are not…

Globalization And Female Entrepreneurs Are Changing The Way We Work

Posted by Andrea Loubier on January 19, 2017

Female Entrepreneurs On the Rise in Southeast Asia Asia is booming with entrepreneurship opportunities. We are in an age where globalization is at its peak, more and more people are working outside of the office and team diversity is valued more than ever, especially when building global products and businesses. These days, less and less people are making the daily commute to work. More women are trading in their city heels for flip flops by the beach, with a laptop, mobile data or a WiFi connection at hand. Women entering the startup ecosystems around Asia are transforming the way we do business and how we think in the global economy. They are fierce, they are smart, and they know how to penetrate the market within their industry while making a ton of noise in the process. They discover balance and entrepreneurial creativity and freedom. Startup conferences once saturated with men are starting to transform as more women pursue their entrepreneurial journey – and it’s happening in the bustle of metropolis cities all the way to the tranquil tropical islands of Southeast Asia. As female entrepreneur in Southeast Asia, I’ve definitely had many challenges that act as strong motivators for me to really disrupt emerging markets on a global scale. These come from changing perspectives of women with executive roles, those who are entrepreneurs, those who lead, those who are fearless. My name is Andrea Loubier, I am the CEO of an email company called Mailbird. I started my entrepreneurial journey…