Waikit Lau is the CEO and Co-Founder of RemoteHQ, a collaboration platform for remote teams. He is a serial entrepreneur, having founded 2 companies, one acquired and the other taken public (NASD: MGNI). Before that, he was an investor at Bessemer Venture Partners. He has also spent time working for the CIO at Merrill Lynch and in Business Development at Cisco. He holds Bachelor degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Finance from MIT and an MBA at Harvard Business School.
RemoteHQ is a no-download collaboration platform for remote teams. We extend collaboration beyond video conferencing. All the ways you collaborate in real-life, we enable them virtually – here’s an example (https://vimeo.com/445568341). Teams can bring in all their favourite tools and work together within a single browser tab—no more switching between browser tabs or application windows. Our unique technology turns any web app instantly collaborative via our Shared Browser app – we make them behave like Google docs. You can start using it for FREE with your teams.
In an exclusive interview with AsiaTechDaily ,Waikit says:
Focus on customers. Everything else is noise.
Fund-raising in the best of times demands a lot of time from the senior team, especially the founders. We had the good fortune of having a network of investors. However, even then, the challenge is always balancing building/operating a company while spending time with investors.
Read on to know more about Waikit Lau and his journey.
Please tell me about your personal background, and What motivated you to get started with your company?
Waikit Lau: I am a 3x founder. My prior 2 companies consisted of ScanScout which became Magnite, a public company on NASDAQ (NASD: MGNI) a d Photo.net which was acquired by Namemedia. I had spent time in venture capital and other companies such as Cisco.
In my last company, we grew to a few hundred people with 12 offices around the world. The remote collaboration was a big challenge. The best we could do was video conferencing and screen sharing, which is a pale imitation of how people truly work together when they are in the same office. So when we started our new company RemoteHQ, this was an area we wanted to tackle.
What is your current main product, and can you share any previous product pivot story to the current product?
Waikit Lau: Today’s tools, like Zoom, are more about communication than collaboration. We wanted to build a new category of software that we call “virtual office” collaboration that replicates all the ways people collaboration in real-life but virtually. Remote work is hard. We enable teams to work together remotely in the most comfortable, most intuitive way as if they are in the same room. Here’s an example – https://vimeo.com/445568341
How much money have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round?
Waikit Lau: We have raised a total of $3.7M. Our last round was a seed round we did last year.
What were the internal decision processes in determining when to begin fund-raising, and what were the logistics for this? And how many investors have you met so far, and how did you meet these investors and which channels worked best for you?
Waikit Lau: We waited until we had a working product before we raised any money. We had the good fortune of having worked with some investors in our past companies. So those were the ones we went to first. We purposefully did not shop the deal and kept the list of investors small; mostly folks we know and have worked with in the past.
What are the biggest challenges and obstacles that you have faced in the process of fund-raising? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
Waikit Lau: Fund-raising in the best of times demands a lot of time from the senior team, especially the founders. We had the good fortune of having a network of investors. However, even then, the challenge is always balancing building/operating a company while spending time with investors.
What are your milestones for the next round? And what are your goals for the future?
Waikit Lau: Our platform is rolled out publicly. Anyone can go sign up for free at RemoteHQ and get a 30-day free trial. We look to build out the platform more and expand our offerings over time.
How have you attracted users and with what strategy have you grown your company from the start to now?
Waikit Lau: Mostly word of mouth of our happy users, and our own network.
Which has been the best marketing software tool for the growth of your startup and why?
Waikit Lau: We don’t run any paid ads. Our growth has been organic. So we haven’t used any marketing software tools.
What do most startups get wrong about marketing in general?
Waikit Lau: They are spending money on paid ads before nailing their organic growth.
How do you plan to expand globally?
Waikit Lau: Our platform is available globally today. Users from many countries already use it. Over time, we’ll likely add language localization for countries where English is not the first language.
What are the most common mistakes companies make with global expansion?
Waikit Lau: Spreading yourself too thin across too many markets. To truly expand deep in the non-local market require a certain amount of resource and staffing.
How do you handle this COVID-19 outbreak situation for your company’s survival in the future?
Waikit Lau: From day one, when we started the company, we decided we’ll be a fully remote company, using our platform to power our teamwork. So in many ways, COVID-19 has not impacted our day-to-day. On the flip side, we have seen a surge of companies and users using our platform to power their remote team collaboration due to COVID-19.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when they start a company?
Waikit Lau: They are not thrifty enough and not being able to manage milestones so that fund-raise can be a success.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And What advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
Waikit Lau: Focus on customers. Everything else is noise.
How do you keep yourself motivated every day?
Waikit Lau: It is by knowing that what we do has an impact on our users.
What are the top- three life lessons that you want your (future) sons and daughters to know?
- No one owes you anything
- Be true to yourself
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