The Silicon Review
“We incentivise users to share their content on our platform, enabling them to “pinc” (tag) products from our catalogue on their images.”
Turn to the person next to you and ask if he or she owns a social media account - the answer is likely to be affirmative.
It is so common that by the end of 2019, it is predicted that over 2.5 billion people will have at least one social media account. With so many frequenting these platforms, it is no surprise to see marketing departments worldwide centralising their priorities toward social media.
But how do you monetise on such a significant number and be sure to target the right market? The answer is simple: artificial intelligence. The use of AI is becoming increasingly common in business. Its use in social media is no different.
In light of this futuristic leap, we are thrilled to present PINC.
PINC gives users the ability to monetise while personalising their social and commerce experience, providing brands with the know-how and data to better interact with their consumers in a safe and fun environment.
The company was incorporated in 2018 and is headquartered in Singapore. There are two other offices based in the Philippines and Malaysia.
Sabrina ‘Princessa’ Wang, Founder and CEO of PINC and PINC 360, spoke exclusively to
The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Q. What is your opinion on AI and Robotics? Do you think it is mandatory for companies to invest in advanced tech?
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are the fundamentals of our core technology, providing us with the means to be more productive and efficient. Robotics, on the other hand, is beyond my current expertise. That being said, I’m a strong believer in technology being an enabler of productivity and efficiency; robotics or otherwise, depending on the intent of use. In this case, I am confident that it will aid growth for all businesses.
In fact, I think it is mandatory for companies to invest in technology, but it needs to be defined by the circumstantial requirements of the business.
When starting a tech business, for instance, we needed to build an MVP for a proof of concept, and then release the product to find the market fit. It is often advised not to over-develop the product at the beginning to reduce the risk of burning unnecessary funds as the product traction is still uncertain.
Putting the example into context, it would be wise to first consider the wants and needs, the pain point of the business, before investing in advanced technology that may not add value to the business.
Q. Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
When we first started PINC (roughly 16 months ago), we endeavoured to correct this imbalance and provide content generators like you and me, an opportunity to correct the unfairness.
Most social media users do not get rewarded for generating content - period. Social media platforms rely on user-generated content (UGC), and they share an open secret - you are their revenue making machine, and you do it mostly for free (if not, you might have to pay for it).
Amongst the billions of content creators out there, when you share and interact on different platforms, they 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 invariably from the proceeds.
At PINC, we incentivise users to share their content on our platform, enabling them to “pinc” (tag) products from our catalogue on their images.
By gamifying the platform, we further reward our users with PINC points for interactions, eg. tagging products, liking posts, commenting, clicking on links, etc. It all translates to higher income for our users.
In turn, brand owners gain more awareness from the product tagging, opening up more channels and higher potential sales.
Through data generated from the interactions and transactions on our platform, marketers and brand owners can understand the audiences’ interest, shopping behaviour, and identify plus quantify the influence of our
With PINC, you and I are empowered with the ability to recommend products we truly love while getting rewarded for doing so. Content creators are provided with an additional source of income to produce content they are already producing on their current social media. Brand owners (and marketers) get to increase their sales potential while identifying their key influencers that not only increase their revenue but are also loyal to their brand.
As a startup, we are agile to change…
Given the limited capital, we started by on-boarding brands to our platform. While interacting with these businesses, we discovered an opportunity - small and medium businesses need help developing content for marketing. They needed a solution to facilitate content creation on their existing social media accounts before they could even consider populating content on PINC.
Given the requests, we developed a team to help these businesses create and manage their social media accounts (and PINC).
As time passed, the need for business marketing became apparent. As a tech startup, focusing on an agency model wasn’t part of the plan, nor was scalable. As such, we started to develop tools to improve the productivity and efficiency of our services, which eventually became our main revenue driver – PINC 360.
To date, we’ve developed tools facilitating business-to-business (B2B) customers under our three main pillars; social media management, influencer engagement, and public relations. Moreover, focusing on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) approach allowed us to generate sustainable, recurring and growing monthly revenue.
We are currently enhancing our technology so that we can provide better business insights from the data we generate on our B2C platform and other publicly accessible information. It enables us and our subscribers to better target their audience when running social media campaigns, influencer engagement and executing public relations programs.
Q. What were the biggest hurdles to building your business at the initial stage and how did you overcome them?
When PINC started, we focused entirely on our consumer platform (www.pincstyle.com), with little ability to monetise. As such, fundraising became critical for the company to sustain. Unfortunately, or fortunately, before we managed to raise our next round, we managed to find a market fit and accelerated our business solution, pushing out the MVP to the market.
Our initial funding was just enough for us to pull through the development phase of our consumer platform. Thankfully, with the new and sustaining revenue source, we could slow down the fund-raising process and focus more on refining the business solution, PINC 360 (www.pinc360.com) –implementing standard operating processes, enhancing our database of influencers and journalists plus enhancing the backbone of our system – with our sample set of customers.
Q. ‘It is difficult to start a venture, but far more difficult to maintain it.’ How would you and your team interpret this saying?
To start a venture, you need the right business model, or at least the model you think is right. To maintain it, on the other hand, commands vigilance about the changes happening and moving in to adapt fast enough. At the end of the day, it is crucial to find the right market fit and scale-up based on that. The right team with the right processes goes a long way.
Q. How satisfied are your clients with your service? Can you share some of your client’s success stories?
We focus quite a bit on small business owners, helping them to digitalise and market to the right target audience.
Generally, our customer life-cycle starts from social media management at the first quarter, then to influencer engagement for more awareness and credibility, and finally, with the right testimonials and increased revenue, it moves on to public relations.
Q. a If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be?
Do not contemplate. If you are certain about you want, start and believe in it, instead of thinking how to perfect it at the start or thinking about how to execute it. Nothing is ever perfect. It takes time to refine, but it gets better along the way. It is best when you have actual customers who help you craft the right product for them. At the end of the day, the business is built for the customers and not yourself.
About | Sabrina ‘Princessa’ Wang
Sabrina ‘Princessa’ Wang, founder, is the Chief Executive Officer of PINC and PINC 360.
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