We caught up with co-founder and CEO of GoGet, Francesca Chia, before the end of the year, where she shared her thoughts on the growing start-up, memorable job experiences, as well as words of advice for the budding entrepreneur
Transitioning from a consulting job to the unpredictable world of start-ups doesn't sound like a walk in the park. What made you take the leap to start GoGet?
It was a mix of factors that made me take the leap. I was working at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for four years and it was a time in my life that I decided I wanted something different. BCG is a great place to work at — I'd decided that the only reason I'd leave is if I could gain an experience that I would not be exposed to at BCG. I looked for a next chapter that was completely different, and it came down to social impact or building something from the bottom up. I started interviewing and then realised that I had an idea with my cofounders to start GoGet. We kicked off a pilot and it was no turning back after that!
Please tell us more about GoGet and how it's different from any other delivery service out there?
So to start off, we are not a delivery service. We are a platform that connects you to a community of highly capable flexible help that can do more than just delivery. The type of tasks that come on GoGet range from personal shopping, planning an event for a child's birthday party, bringing pets to the vet and taking care of them, to going to the hospital with a patient and even promoting businesses through flyers and referral systems. Beyond that the community within our platform has an inherent value that is intangible. Our posters are friends with GoGetters; they meet beyond the platform, and can also get networking opportunities beyond just the job.
Our GoGetters include personal trainers, students, sales agents to lawyers and even stay at home mothers. This offers a whole new experience when you interact and network with them beyond the job. We also offer products such as GoGet International, where people can request GoGetters to purchase goods they want from the country the GoGetter is in to be delivered to their doorstep in Malaysia. Right now we are running GoGet London and Paris!
This Christmas we are theming our GoGetters around Elf GoGetters! Our GoGetters are running around and helping people with Elf santa hats and headbands, this brings a fun cheer and lifts people's spirits.
What's been the greatest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
There are many challenges and the greatest challenge at each stage of the business is different. At the early stage, it was very dependent on me as I was the only person on the team. Now as we are a larger team, the challenges are about how turn the idea into a sustainable business by creating a team that can drive it independent of me.
What are the most common kind of job requests that come in?
The common kinds of jobs come from working business individuals who are too busy to do things so they use our GoGetters to pick up food or send documents. We also help businesses do deliveries and even flyering or promoting. Businesses also use our GoGetters to be flexible help in the kitchen, over the counter or back office to help pack.
The most memorable job request thus far?
One of the most memorable job request was accompanying a cancer patient to her doctor's visit. This was because of the life that we impacted, and the GoGetter did not do this for the money. The GoGetter genuinely wanted to help. These jobs are important because we show our a community of trusted people can help in situations where the loved ones are working and cannot take off work but need to ensure that the patient goes to the hospital for the visit.
What is the best part about your job?
Seeing the Posters and GoGetters be empowered through our platform. I truly believe in the sheer sense of how GoGet empowers anyone who is honest and wants to work hard to earn money and help others, while helping those in need to get things done. This, to me, is amazing because true empowerment is extremely invaluable. We are able to uplift people from their situation, financially, emotionally, geographically, and more. In one day, we can help a mother get her last minute baby care products, while she's busy juggling other duties; help a student save up money to pay off their graduation holiday expenses with their friends, and help a busy lawyer get balloons for his kid's birthday. These things are wonderful because we allow people to no longer be constrained by their environment or financial situation.
We are almost at the end of 2015. How has the year been for GoGet?
A blessing. 2015 has given us growth, exposure, a new city and a great team; all factors that were possible only because of our GoGetters and the community that we've built. We are extremely thankful to our team and GoGetters for building it to this point.
You must care for the problem that you are solving on a human and emotional level, as this is the core sense of where your motivation and tenacity will come from.
Goals you hope to achieve?
We will continue to build GoGet to a sustainable business — its about ensuring we have strong fundamentals to make our mark permanent. In the long term, we believe in bringing our community to more than just Malaysia and it's our aim to let millions of people experience the value of our community.
Advice for the budding entrepreneur?
Care for the cause. I say this in almost every interview, but genuinely care. I don't mean "be passionate" about it and all that fluff. You must care for the problem that you are solving on a human and emotional level, as this is the core sense of where your motivation and tenacity will come from. When things are down and there are brick walls to break down, we must have a place to drive us to push forward. That comes from genuinely caring for the problem and solving it.
When you're not working, what do you do to unwind?
I run and exercise, it's good to sweat it out. Jump rope is amazing because it's easy to bring around and gives me a good workout. My other two guilty pleasures are watching movies and baking.
Books you're currently reading?
I am currently reading Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.
Who are you inspired by?
I get inspired by many sports athletes, actually. I believe to truly win in such a fundamental human race, these athletes work so hard and have amazing mental discipline and strength. That is inspiring to me.
Next holiday destination?
Da Nang with my family this Christmas.
If you weren't working on GoGet, what else would you have done?
What I wished I could do, be a pro tennis player (laughs).
What I would probably have done — some other kind of business of my own. At this stage, I know, as I knew back then, that I want to roll up my sleeves and execute something of my own, make my mistakes, learn like crazy and put myself in uncomfortable situations to grow.
If you could have a superpower for a day, what would it be?
Teleportation! I always wanted to teleport so I can see my university friends in the U.S. for breakfast, work in London for the morning to see my high school friends, then have lunch at awesome restaurants around the world and then back to work in HK so I can see my niece at the same time and then wrap up in Malaysia with my family.