Andrea Olivato, Head of Operations of Popular Chips

Andrea Olivato and business partner started Popular Chips, the world’s first influencer, analytics platform for Instagram.
What’s your story?
I started as a software developer in a web analytics company. I advanced pretty fast, becoming the CTO of Redation and Happyprice in two years. I stayed on as member of the board in Redation until its acquisition from Softec (a public company) and I was called to be the Managing Director of the Italian branch of TradeTracker International bringing the company from 0 to a 1.2 million dollar turnover in two years. I met a great partner in Redation and Softec, Sabrina Stefani. Sabrina and I later decided to combine our experience, move to Singapore and commence something new – Popular Chips, the world’s first influencer, analytics platform for Instagram.

What excites you most about your industry?
Digital marketing, social media, Internet and mobile are revolutionising the way we live and communicate. You can either be a recipient of this change or be a part of it, study it, comprehend it and empower it. I have always wanted to be in the latter category.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I have travelled to Asia, especially SEA, during my career and I fell in love with the infinite opportunities that this environment can bring. In my humble opinion, the great strength of Asian markets do not rely in their numbers or on their resources, but on their attitude towards constant innovation and thirst for the new. I always felt a bit different from my fellow conservative European nationals and I think I found a great nurturing environment in Asia, Singapore in particular.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore has the best facilities and services to conduct business. Its beauty lies in offering a safe, calm and focused environment that is ideal to bring new ideas to life and to connect with everyone in Asia and the world. Furthermore, I strongly believe that the Singapore educational system is creating great talents for the marketing industry. Finally, there’s no better place to enjoy the best business lunches of your life.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
A fellow colleague once told me to stop being a horse and start being the jockey. It might seem a very ordinary and prosaic suggestion, but when you are 24 years old, just getting started on your career and you are surrounded by talented people, you risk picturing yourself just as an executioner of someone else’s strategy. If you want, you can be more.

Who inspires you?
Recently, I have found Elon Musk to be a great inspiration. His story is proof that with hard work it is possible to do incredible things, even reaching Mars. In our time, we need to reach great economical success in order to bring positive changes to our society and Elon Musk is the perfect example that it is possible, reachable and you just need to really want it.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I am passionate about physics and when I have the time I try to stay up-to-date with current discoveries. Lately I have enjoyed reading about quantum entanglement and its applications in quantum computing. Very quickly, we consider each particle as having its own quantum state. Sometimes two or more particles become part of a quantum system and their properties are shared by each particle in the same way. The application of quantum entanglement are deep in the improvement of quantum computers. I suggest everyone who is passionate about this to read about quantum cryptography, quantum teleportation and superdense coding.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would probably have left Europe earlier in my life, to see new ways of living and enriching my understanding of the world we live in. I love the history behind Europe and its rich culture, but its business scene is slow to adapt to new trends.

How do you unwind?
I was lucky enough to find an apartment facing the Bedok Reservoir. I love spending the late evenings running around the reservoir. It clears my mind, releases stress and prepares me for the next battle.
On the weekend I like spending lunch at Geylang’s coffee shops and hawker centers. My favorite spot is at the corner between Lor 27A and Geylang Rd. They make incredibly tasty hand-made noodles. I especially enjoy coffee shops with a lot of old people chatting and laughing while drinking some beer or “teh.” Something I find authentic and relaxing.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali; Although it’s becoming more and more touristy. There is something about the Balinese culture that deeply relaxes me. I never stay at hotels or resorts. I usually rent from Airbnb directly from Balinese owners and try my best to immerse in their daily life, eating at Warung and watching Balinese people in their daily routine. They have a simple way of approaching life, looking for the connection with family and acquaintances to create happiness. They haven’t forgotten the importance of conversing just for the sake of it and have the most beautiful and genuine smiles you can find in the whole world.

Everyone in business should read this book:
‘Rational Ritual’ by Michael Suk-Young Chwe. It is an in-deep analysis of people’s psychology, interactions and communities. It’s one of the keys to understanding social media, their impact on our lives and their limits.

Shameless plug for your business:
Social influencers marketing is one of the latest trends in our field and, being very new, it is quite unregulated: many define themselves as influencers asking for fees not related to their true performances. Marketing managers do not have instruments to properly define and monitor their targets and real influencers are hidden in a sea of fake ones.
We created a platform that is able to solve all these problems, offering a single point of analysis and research to transform uncertain efforts into a real marketing activity, with demographics and quality metrics to identify the best influencers to hire. We monitor daily every Instagram account out there and we are able to gather everything about them: audience’s demographics, performance history, expected ROI on sponsored campaigns, identification of fake/inactive followers, best posts, campaign suggestions and much, much more, including a search engine for influencers.
Popular Chips will be offering a free trial of its “insights” platform to all marketers. To measure past and future campaigns, please email
For influencers, to take advantage of this powerful tool to see how they measure up, please visit

How can people connect with you?
Nowadays, I really enjoy connecting on Linkedin as it is more focused on topics i am interested in, like startups, social media and marketing. I practically use more Linkedin messages than Whatsapp to keep in touch with fellow entrepreneurs!

Twitter handle?

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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