Singapore Sparks Interview: Tay Wei Kiat of Oompr!

How did you come up with the idea for Oompr!?
Previously, I worked on BookINBookOUT, an online textbook marketplace for tertiary students. I realized that users enjoy knowing to whom they are buying and selling textbooks. Oompr! is a new marketplace that fully explores how social networks can benefit these buyers and sellers.

What lessons have you learnt from your startup ventures?
There’s no point in protecting your startup idea too fiercely. Ideas can be easily copied and someone else may come up with the same idea independently. Execution and building a community who are loyal to your product should be the main focus. Also, sales and marketing is important. Users hate speaking to robots. Show them that they can reach out to the living person behind the product.

How many different ideas do you have milling around your head at any given time?
Two to three: at various different stages of development. But the number isn’t important. What makes or breaks a business idea is how thoroughly you explore it, how deeply you believe in it, and how well you can execute it.

What do you think of the startup scene in Singapore?
It is very encouraging to see all the startups sprouting up here every week. But the odds are not always in our favor. In Singapore, we have access to a much smaller market compared to our regional counterparts, there’s a lack of early stage angel investors, and an expensive operating environment.

Where do you see the business in 10 years?
Oompr! will revolutionize the ecommerce scene in the region. It’s Ebay 3.0.