Who is Evangeline Leong? That’s a question people usually only ask once before they get educated real fast.
Former Partner at Purple Click, and now CEO and Co-Founder of Kobe Global Technologies, Evangeline is taking the influencer marketing world by storm in the region with her AI-driven system that helps brands reach their audience through micro-influencers.
Though a ten-year veteran in the industry, Evangeline is still mistaken for a fresh graduate, but that hasn’t stopped her from being a dominant female CEO in the male-dominated tech industry.
As a self-professed ‘foodie’, you’ll probably find Evangeline out and about searching for and trying new food rather than shopping at the boutiques. She credits a hunt for a good Wanton Mee that sparked the idea of utilising relevant people to promote word-of-mouth marketing.
Find out more about Evangeline and Kobe below.
1. Sell us your company/service in 300 words?
Kobe (口碑, kǒu bēi) means ‘word-of-mouth’ and our vision is to help businesses be represented to their target audience in a credible manner. With the widespread increase in online advertisements and sponsored influencers, people are starting to get skeptical of what they see online. As such, businesses are losing their most powerful and traditional means of growth – Word-of-Mouth. Kobe aims to strengthen the power of word-of-mouth with the belief that the power to influence others lies in the masses.
It hinges on using everyday relevant people to influence individuals in their social circles as they have the ability to deliver better credibility and higher engagement due to their respective communities of followers. Further, influencers’ interests are paired to advertisers on top of demographics to allow for a more precisely targeted audience. Kobe is thus positioned to be a disruptive social technology platform that aggregates social comments with small and large businesses with its pending patent Artificial Intelligence
(AI). Kobe’s AI allows for influencers to have a fair way of getting paid and to allow advertisers access to influencers at efficiency and scale
2. What is stopping you from having the largest company in the world?
I would definitely want to expand Kobe but it all comes down to timing. I am actually looking into expanding into the SEA market but before tackling that, I would like to first build a solid foundation as I strongly believe that a strong foundation is integral to the company’s success. My team is my main asset and I am sincerely appreciative of them as they helped Kobe achieve where it is today. Just like how generals don’t go to war without their well-prepared soldiers, I wouldn’t want to expand too quickly without a skilled team. Hiring the right people also becomes an issue because the quality is compensated with quantity if we’re expanding too fast.
By being the largest company out there doesn’t equate to being the best. Growth is good for the company but sustainable growth is better. Just like plants, businesses need time to be nurtured to grow.
3. If you could change one thing about the tech industry in Southeast Asia, what would it be?
Most start-ups happen because entrepreneurs usually have a business idea and decide to
prototype it, afterward get funding to start the company. However, not all business ideas
solve a problem and some do it thinking that it is a shortcut to early retirement as being your own boss generally equates to earning big bucks.
Having built Kobe from the ground up, I realise that there are no shortcuts in life and if you’re not ready to sacrifice your time, then don’t start. I hope that people build a business not because they want to profit from it to retire earlier, but rather to value add to their own lives and business owners out there as they contribute back to society.
I also hope that these entrepreneurs are motivated to do what they’re passionate about instead of working on an idea that is already profiting in the market. It is important to work on something you firmly believe will succeed and be beneficial in the long run than to follow your competitors.
Because if you do the latter, that’s where you’ll always be, lagging at the back instead of being the frontrunner of the industry.
4. Name one person in the region, who is making a difference in Technology?
It would be Prakash Somosundram! He is a fellow Singaporean who used to run Yolk, a company he co-founded which has successfully exited through an acquisition by WPP. Yolk grew from an independent agency in Singapore to one that has a large network with the digital scene in ASEAN.
The digital industry has certainly grown over the past years and Prakash himself has experienced a company being built, sold and exited. With those experiences, he now runs his own tech start-up called Pealo Pte Ltd and provides corporate development solutions such as building and planning exits for SMEs out there. Many glean on his personal experience to coach their business to scale to the next level.
Marketing turned tech isn’t an easy path to take – and I admire his perseverance in this digital industry. He is a well-connected, knowledgeable person in the tech industry who is genuine about helping startups.
5. What would you want people to remember you for, 100 years from now?
As someone who thoroughly lived her life – fearless and authentic – with everything, she was passionate about for every single day of her life. She had a fulfilling life and a successful, valuable business.
Evangeline is the CEO and Founder of Kobe Global Technologies Pte. Ltd. She has almost 10 years of experience in embracing Digital Marketing and has managed over USD$10 Million annual ad revenue across Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines in the region.
Apart from that, Evangeline is also a key industry speaker for marketing talks such as
DBS Business Class Academy, SCCCI Industry Talks, NTU Nanyang Business School, and others.
Views expressed by the interviewee are not necessarily shared by Tech Collective and some minimal editing is done for clarity’s sake.
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