Clement Created a Novel Platform to Connect Businesses to Millennials
What’s your story?
I am the founder of AllForU and also an undergraduate majoring in Biological Sciences at NTU. My company, AllForU, is a platform that connects student clubs with corporate sponsors. Starting AllForU was an accidental journey that began in 2015 as a hobby. We now have about 300 clubs across 6 universities, supporting close to 600 events and dispensing approximately 400,000 products per year, and growing.
Before forming AllForU, I was a club committee member in university. While performing the time consuming tasks of seeking sponsors and sourcing vendors, for club events, I realized that the businesses I was contacting were also looking to make contact with student decision makers to offer sponsorships and/or products. I began thinking about how to create a platform that would save countless hours of time for everyone. That is how AllForU was born, giving clubs one-stop access to a large pool of verified sponsors and vendors, and businesses a direct connection to millennials.
What excites you most about your industry?
Helping students and improving student life. Looking at the smiles on their faces when we have helped student leaders solve their most painful problem, sourcing sponsors and vendors. The benefit to students is that they receive a tremendous upgrade in their event planning (saving up to 50,000 man-hours), and an enhanced event experience. I wish I had a platform to use when I was planning events in my junior year.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I am a 100% true blue Singaporean looking to change the life of students around the world.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. The government provides plenty of business opportunities, support and encouragement for young local entrepreneurs to take their first step into this crazy world of entrepreneurship. First time entrepreneurs need to be encouraged and given chances to stumble as we make our way into business. This is very important to me as a student entrepreneur starting a business without connections and zero work or corporate experience. The process can feel like being thrown into a ring of fire with flaming cannonballs shooting at you.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
There are many temptations around you that will influence you to make the wrong decision, but never lose sight of your end goal. FOCUS on value. Focus on building and providing value to those you are serving and money will just be a by-product.
Who inspires you?
Jack Ma. His courage and tenacity in venturing into technology and building Alibaba, especially when it was not his major field of study. I love how he “value-adds” to his customers and suppliers on his platform and consistently attends conferences to inspire more young people to step up and be confident in their own capabilities. His sharing, opens up minds, and that is what makes me step up.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I heard my friends say that their friends knew about and used AllForU. That blew me away. When meeting with representatives from sponsoring companies, I am pleased to hear that they used AllForU services during their undergraduate years. I feel truly humbled to know that what we are doing is of value to the student community.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would probably build a full-time employee team first instead of starting with an intern-team. But, since cash flow can be a problem at the beginning, I might hire on a part-salary-part-equity basis. That would enable me to focus on making more strategic decisions.
Getting reliable and committed co-founders is also important. I have my fair share of founders stories, both good and BURNT. So, evaluation and probation of your co-founders, as well as deep background research about them, is really necessary.
How do you unwind?
I unwind by exercising, sleeping and watching funny videos. Relaxing on weekends does recharge me for the challenges I face each week. I particularly like to watch senseless and funny tik tok, and other funny videos that Facebook automatically recommends. They know my preferences well. Exercising also helps me relax, so I run, and try to do some daily static exercise such as push ups and sit-ups.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I don’t really have a favourite destination. What I most enjoy is the company I go with. They make the experience fun, memorable and wacky.
Building AllForU while juggling my academics, I haven’t the luxury of going overseas with my friends and family or even going on overseas school exchanges. Time to catch up over lunches/dinners are rare occasions. I understand sacrifices are necessary when growing a business.
Everyone in business should read this book:
- “Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant,” by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne
- “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses,” by Eric Ries
- “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie
Shameless plug for your business:
We are primed to hit 800 clubs and societies in 2020. Join us in our expansion plans!
For Universities: If you wish to provide resources for your clubs and societies, we can discuss collaborations on integrating our system so your clubs can “value-add” to their event with sponsorship and vendor services. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Student Leaders: Come talk to us at email@example.com for your club’s sponsorship and vendor needs. Categories: Product Sponsors, Cash Sponsors, Apparel Printing, Food Catering, Team-building Games (laser tag, bubble soccer, etc.)
For Corporates: Come talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are looking to increase your brand awareness to undergraduates and students. We can do product distribution, focus groups, product placement, reviews, social marketing, booth within universities.
How can people connect with you?
They can email me personally at Clement@afu.sg
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.