Last we heard from Vietnamese startup Wiindi, it scored both Judges’ and People’s Choice Awards at our Top 100 roadshow in Ho Chi Minh City. It then pitched on the big stage at Echelon Asia Summit in Singapore as one of our ‘Top 10’ startups.
Since then, the team (pictured above) has been tirelessly plugging away at version 2.0 of their app which has just launched for iOS on Friday. The fashion discovery app has now shifted its focus from a ‘Pinterest’-style item saving wishlist for any product under the sun to a mix-and-match experience, which looks a lot like a fashion magazine spread. The variety of products run the gamut of clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories.
At the moment, Wiindi scours the web and suggests similar items that the user has liked on beautifully compiled-mix-and-match pages then leads them directly to the website to buy. In the future, the app will take into account the user preferences for price, style and location and make recommendations accordingly.
According to Co-founder and CEO Lê Phước Phúc, his team spent almost two years user testing on social media and found that their users were 20 times more engaged in mixing-and-matching versus just viewing individual products on the app.
“The new version was tested on Facebook with 100,000 people for a 1.5 year period. We measured the engagement and metrics and got 1,000 inbox messages asking where to buy certain items — so we came to the conclusion that for women, it has to be fashion lifestyle products,” he said and noted that Facebook is the easiest way to reach people, with 36 million monthly active users ‘addicted’ to the social network in Vietnam.
Wiindi makes money through the app buy taking a three to ten per cent cut from transactions depending on category. In the future, the two-year-old startup has plans to monetise on the data gleaned from their users’ shopping habits.
As recent graduates from JFDI, Lê said that the accelerator helped his startup build a more well-rounded business. “Before going to JFDI, we only focused on product and users, not merchants or partnerships. For me, I focus on building products that people love and the rest of the team focuses on bringing on partners and merchants,” he said.
Having inked partnerships with two of the biggest e-commerce website builders in Vietnam Haravan and Bizweb, Wiindi will help merchants increase their conversion rates while syncing the online shops’ content into the app’s mix-and-match pages.
Lê worked as a Software Architect with Hewlett-Packard’s Israel Research & Development team from Vietnam while plugging away at startups on the side. His first was a booking and queue management system for patients, which failed after a year; the second, an outsourcing business which he left behind to focus on Wiindi.
In retrospect, he felt he should have quit his job years ago but the breaking point for the company was joining JFDI, which was when he and his Co-founders quit their jobs to focus on the business full-time. While Lê wishes he had focused energies on Wiindi sooner, the experience of juggling a day job and a promising startup taught him how to keep an eye on the prize.
“After two years, I learned how to focus. You have to see what the most important thing is and start doing it as soon as possible. For the past two years, we’ve built a lot of things and messed with the product a lot. But now we’re focusing on our users, partnerships and minimum viable segment,” he said.
For now, Wiindi will be tackling the Vietnam market but plans on expanding to Thailand and Indonesia in the future.
Interested in meeting great Vietnamese companies? Startups from all around the Mekong region including Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand will be converging in Bangkok for Echelon Thailand 2015 on November 26 – 27, a two-day action packed tech conference with dynamic content, pitches and networking. Get your tickets here!