Her entrepreneurship journey started when she was 15

Sabrina Wang is an avid technopreneur who’s entrepreneurial path was predestined when she was 15 years old. At a young age, she had already started to dabble in businesses such as web/game hosting, web/mobile design and development and her fashion line.

Fast forward to today, Sabrina Wang, together with her co-founders, has founded a new venture called PINC, a platform where people can snap, share and earn. Like you, we are all interested to find out how PINC works, what were the challenges Sabrina faced when building the platform, and more.

Here’s the story of Sabrina and PINC.

What is PINC?

PINC

Image credit: PINC

PINC inspires style trends, one pinc at a time! We are a social commerce blockchain platform that incentivises content creators, helps brand owners understand their customers, provides a personalised experience for shoppers and empowers marketers with concrete data to quantify influence all in one place. PINC is also powered by artificial intelligence and blockchain matched with gamification logic, providing an interactive and personalised experience for its users.

How does PINC work?

PINC’s platform is incredibly intuitive and straightforward. In the next version release, users can directly upload a picture, select from a vast catalogue of products, and tag that product on the photo to make it shoppable. People who post, tag products on their content and interact on the platform gain points, which they can cash out on the PINC platform; rewarding them for their content and interaction.

PINC earns its revenue from the partnerships that it establishes with many prominent retailers. We are working with groups like Shopbop, Bloomingdale’s, SSENSE, NA-KD, YOOX and many more; to make their products visible and available to everyone. We currently have 700 merchants onboard and over two million products to be made available for tagging on our platform.

“Life’s full of ups and downs. Sometimes ridiculous reasons lead you somewhere you least expect.”

How did the idea come about and how did the founders decide to “let’s do it”?

One day, I was at Starbucks flipping Vogue Magazine when I saw a gorgeous bag and thought to myself “if only I could click and purchase”. Inspired, I created a magazine where readers could do precisely that – my previous startup, SAUCEink. It started off decently but got obsolete because of the smartphone revolution. SAUCEink pivoted, and I eventually exited at the end of 2017.

Today, most social media users do not get rewarded for generating content, period. Social media platforms that have a significant reliance on user-generated content (UGC) share an open secret: you are their revenue making machines, and you do it mostly for free (if not, you even pay for it). When you share and interact on the different platforms, the platforms can exploit your content and data then cumulatively earn tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue from it. In return, average Joes like us get nothing from the proceeds.

To address such imbalances, introduce equity into the ecosystem and ensure that society justly rewards content creators and provides respite to brand owners, we (Francis, Edmund and myself; Grace joined slightly after) decided it was necessary to create PINC.

What were the initial challenges when setting up PINC (E.g. tech skills, funding, etc.)?

We secured the initial funding to kick-start the project rather quickly. The challenge came when enhancing the platform.

Since blockchain is relatively new and untested, one initial challenge was working out the architecture. It’s a little “planning for the future” but given the current standards, achieving the transaction per second on blockchain based on the structure of our point system and the data points we’re tracking would require us to… innovate.

On top of that, good talents were/are rare. Putting blockchain aside, a good Angular plus Nodejs developer was tough to come by. In fact, we had to change from Angular to Vuejs due to the shortage of talents.

Even now, we’re still finding it difficult to fill up our positions; not just in tech but also marketing. To find a candidate with the right aptitude and skillsets is like finding a needle in a haystack (except the haystack is seemingly minimal in our case).

How long did it take to setup PINC?

Francis and I were talking about exploring opportunities together for a while. I wanted to engage his company Inspireo to help manage the tech for my then startup SAUCEink. That deal ultimately didn’t pull through. When my previous startup SAUCEink was sold, I told Francis about it, and I can’t exactly remember how the conversation went, but it ended with “let’s do it!”

 

In late January 2018, we started sounding out people and put together some materials. By February we started coding. Officially, PINC incorporated on March 30th; only Francis and Edmund were full-time. I went full-time into it when our current investor Quest Ventures committed.

We’re in closed alpha right now, give or take the MVP took roughly four months to put together.

Now that PINC is officially up and running, what’s next?

I wouldn’t say it’s officially up and running, it’s still a work in progress; though that’d probably be the case for all time.

This month, we started the #SupportLocalSG #MadeInSingapore campaign. Through this initiative, we’ve started working with numerous local brands. We target to work with and feature 200 local brands by National Day!

We’ve also launched our local marketplace, which enables FMCG merchants to list their products on the marketplace. By doing so, their products will get pulled into PINC platform’s catalogue, which enables users to tag the brand’s products on their photos.

A little background on this, earlier in this interview, we mentioned we had over 700 brands onboard. These brands, however, are mainly international brands that were more technologically and logistically sound; which enables us to connect to their e-commerce, pulling their products into our platform. However, we noticed that while there are many e-commerce sites in Singapore, the individual merchants didn’t have a sizeable amount of SKUs or a dedicated tech team for integrations. So if we were to customise and connect with every site individually, that’d be a whole new challenge on its own.

We do not plan to compete with the current giants when we talk about marketplaces, but more of providing a solution for these individual merchants to have their products visible on PINC platform’s catalogue for users to tag.

Aside from the above, same ol’ same ol’; looking out for talents, build up our community, advance our technology, attain more funding, increase revenue, repeat process.

Here’s something to watch out for! We aim to release our PINC Android app at the end of the year!

What’s your advice for people who are considering to become an entrepreneur?

“Life’s full of ups and downs. Sometimes ridiculous reasons lead you somewhere you least expect.”

I had a lot more energy when I was younger, so did a lot of trial and error. Those mistakes helped give a better perspective of what PINC is to become and what I hope our culture within the organisation can adopt. You don’t know what you don’t know, now that I do, it’s crystal what I need to focus on. Don’t be afraid of getting out there and making mistakes! Be open, share and don’t take rejections too hard.

Anything you wish to shout-out to your target audience?

It’s important to realise that what you share has value. When you post something on any platform – a picture, a story, even a simple click of the like button – you’re giving away valuable data and other tangible benefits to the platform you interact on. So why not share on a platform that rewards all your hard work and join PINC!

It is time to get paid for sharing your social content!

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