Krystal Choo is the CEO and Founder of Wander, which brings like-minded people together by allowing them to join the best communities in a city, right from their devices.
She is a featured international speaker, recognised as an influential thought leader, Krystal has been described as one of Singapore’s “Most Awe-Inspiring Women” (Cosmopolitan). Furthermore she's been awarded as one of Asia's 50 Women Leaders, chosen to front SK-II’s global “Change Destiny” campaign with over a million views online. On LinkedIn she was awarded as a LinkedIn Power Profile for 3 years running, from 2015 to 2017, in the CEO category.
Meet Krystal Choo, One of Singapore’s Brand Minds
How did you come up with the business idea for Wander?
Wander is a platform for people to come together in groups and chat about common interests in chat channels. My belief is that technology should be used as a tool to help humanity. We’re seeing a shift in interpersonal relationships, where people are increasingly buried in their devices and losing social connections, especially in cultures that are less extroverted.
Wander is an effort to put humanity back into digital interaction and rebuild these social tethers so that people can feel connected once again, in a new way, with new people that may be better suited to them as multi-dimensional individuals.
Tell us the first three things you’ve done to put it on wheels.
A company is only as good as its people – and this is especially so for Wander, a social platform. A product is only good if people want to use it. I focus on building the team and nurturing them, and also talking to users and collecting data to keep improving their experience with Wander. In order to keep the team’s focus on the product and our users, I also fund-raise for our company to keep the engine running in the background.
Name one situation that made you want to quit.
I’ve never wanted to quit. There were some tough points along the way, but those situations tend to make me even more determined.
Name one situation that made you want to go forward.
I get private messages from strangers who use Wander, and they share very personal stories with me, where Wander was there for them when they needed those social tethers – a place to be themselves and just talk about what they want with like-minded people. That’s very humbling. That forces you to work inhuman hours to make Wander better.
What do you think are the most difficult challenges entrepreneurs have to face in the Asian market nowadays?
Asian consumers are much more complex and discerning than before. Psychographically, it’s also much harder to market to specific groups as the newer generation falls in micro-niches defined by where they stand on multiple spectrums merging traditionally Asian and more liberal, non-Asian values. That and a lower barrier for entry to business means entrepreneurs are placed in a fighting pit where targeting has become increasingly complex, and competitors exponentially pop up to eat your lunch. It’s pretty fun.
Investment matters. If you would invest in something else but your actual business. What would that be?
New models of education that combines deeper understanding (instead of rote information delivery) and scale, and cellular anti-aging technologies, down to the DNA level.
If you could change something about Singapore’s Entrepreneurs Community to improve it in any way what would that be?
I’d make sure there was more room for diversity along the entire funnel, which means identifying actionable problem areas and setting goals to change those situations. I’d also advocate for abundant thinking so people stop bitching behind each other’s backs. Whenever I hear of this going on, I find it silly and quite disappointing.
What is Wander App bringing on the software market, that is different, compared to the other messaging apps?
Wander is a place where the moment you step into it, you can immediately jump into a thousand different social circles and belong. Most messaging apps out there silo you with friends, family and co-workers. It’s the difference between you being connected to 10 people, and you being able to be in 10 groups of 10 people simultaneously. Having that opportunity expands your boundaries profoundly!
Meet Krystal Choo, The Women
Name one good habit that helps you deal with your active life.
Introspection. I’m not an impulsive person. I think being able to think unencumbered and act fast allows me to see the bigger picture and permute future scenarios I can then hedge against and take calculated risks toward easily. It also helps me improve every day because I can tweak and optimise my behaviour and thought patterns in both personal and professional scenarios constantly.
Name one bad habit you can’t quit.
Snacking at work.
If you could be anything else but an entrepreneur what would you be?
Probably an eagle.
You are the founder at Wander, what is the favourite movie of the woman who founded it?
I have too many! Gattaca, perhaps.
Tell us your favourite book. What’s the best thing you learned from it?
Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I learnt how to articulate a value I’ve always had, that treasures and prioritises a person’s contribution to society by work and skill more than false humility and social greasing.
Name the most important value that you believe in.
It is important to be kind. This world rewards the unethical. In all of that jazz, staying kind keeps you human.
Name the most important value a leader should have.
If you could compare your journey as an entrepreneur with a song what song would you choose?
Ha! It would definitely be ‘Suite No. 1 in G Major for Solo Cello’. But I’m still around the 2 minute mark.
Tell us the best experience you had while working to build Wander.
It was when our users organised a barbecue to meet each other in person, and I arrived to find 18-year old students chatting with 40-year old couples among a very diverse group. People who would never talk to each other in real life were laughing and sharing a meal. It was beautiful that we made this happen through our little app.
If you would give our readers one piece of advice from your entrepreneurial experience, what would that advice be?
I would say that you have to have deep clarity on your purpose. It’s easy to get pulled in different directions with everyone around you having different opinions, but when you have clarity of purpose then you can be both open-minded yet laser-focused to make the right decisions that serve your True North.
What is your biggest expectation on Brand Minds ASIA event?
That I’ll bring new ideas around how to improve the Wander brand and experience back to the office and inspire the rest of the team to make Wander better for our users.