EP 173 – Irene Tsang – Founder & CEO of LIFTwomen Group – We Have to Change the Narrative for Women


Michael Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.  Michael lived and worked in Tokyo from February 1990 until December 2011.  Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, building one of the biggest and fastest-growing podcast listener bases in the region.  His AsiaTechPodcast.com show has listeners in more than 170 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Irene Tsang

Irene is the Founder & CEO at LIFTwomen Group - Australia's first women-focused crowdfunding platform dedicated to uplift and empower female entrepreneurs to start own business and thrive. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Irene was an enterprise leader and Head of Partnership leading strategic business and partnership growth for top tier global banks and insurance companies in markets across Australia and Asia Pacific. Irene is also a business mentor, gender equality advocate and proud single mother of two beautiful children.

The Asia InsurTech Podcast spoke with Irene Tsang, the founder and CEO at LIFTwomen, about why we see fewer female founders, what challenges women experience when trying to raise funds and how LIFTwomen is supporting female entrepreneurs.

Michael Waitze 0:32
Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to the Asia InsurTech Podcast today we are joined by Irene Tsang, the founder and CEO at LIFTwomen group. Irene, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show. How are you doing today?

Irene Tsang 0:48
I’m great. Thank you, Michael. Thank you for having me. I’m so so excited to be here.

Michael Waitze 0:53
It is completely my pleasure. And just so you know, I was on the phone earlier with another woman who’s in Australia. And she was wearing a coat and I kind of have expected you to show up in your coat today, because I know it’s getting towards winter there.

Irene Tsang 1:08
Yeah, it’s really cold here.

Michael Waitze 1:11
What does that mean? Really cold? Because here today in Bangkok, it’s 30 degrees. So what is cold mean in, are you in Sydney?

Irene Tsang 1:17
Lucky you. I am in Melbourne? And so Melbourne, Yeah. And you know, the world famous about Melbourne is they can experience four seasons in one day. So it can be really, really cold. Like winter the morning like, below 10 degree? And then it can sometimes get up to 20 during the day, and then we’ll go back down below 10 at night time, so and now it’s approaching winter in Melbourne, so it’s around 12-13 degrees.

Michael Waitze 1:46
So like the ideal temperature for me to wake up in is 16 degrees. Oh, I love that. Yeah, but anything below that, like once it gets close to 10. I just I’ve had enough. I grew up in Boston. And I lived in Tokyo for years. So for me like if I ever see snow again it’ll be too soon. I don’t need four seasons anymore. I just need just need two. I want the summer and just a little cooler. That’s all I need.

Irene Tsang 2:11
I know. But the thing about Melbourne is we don’t have really of snow here. So it’s not as cool as that. But yeah, it can be really chill.

Michael Waitze 2:19
Well, look, before we get to the main part of our conversation, we’d like to ask our guests what they think the biggest trend is in InsurTech. So what do you think that is?

Irene Tsang 2:29
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think the biggest trend, it’s not just for insurance, or InsurTech. It’s actually for all industry in the world now is technology. So how can you embrace technology and put it back into your organization’s or what you’re trying to do. And I think the end goal is to make the life of your customer easier, to make the process more transparent and simple. I think the biggest challenge of insurance industries is always like it’s very hard to understand from customer’s perspective. We work in insurance industry, so we know what it is. However, for those people who are not in this industry, they don’t really know, what’s the detail, or what’s the fine print? The how the process and for me, even I work in insurance for almost 20 years. I couldn’t remember how many policies I have.

Michael Waitze 3:20
Even yourself you mean?

Irene Tsang 3:23
Yeah. I couldn’t really recall. And, and it is so hard to keep track. And so imagine those people who are not in ancient histories, how can they understand your products? And how can they they embrace and love your brand. So the key goal for all insurance companies is how can you really connect with your customers and make their life easier and make them easy to understand what you’re trying to sell? And why trying to do.

Michael Waitze 3:47
Yeah, and you’re right. Yeah, technology is the the enabler for that sort of at scale. I mentioned this before we started recording, but I was on the phone last night with a woman who runs a big payment business globally. And it’s kind of the same thing, right? Like when I was a kid you paid by credit card, sometimes, but mostly you paid by cash or by cheque like you’re probably not even old enough to understand or to not understand, but to remember, like writing a check in the line at the supermarket, it was a big deal. It’s not what’s happening anymore, right? Like, I literally scan a QR code on my phone and I pay for my groceries today. And that is much easier. Yeah.

Irene Tsang 4:22
And I can see the second trend of InsurTech is a lot of company trying to build technology around, we call it b2b. So they’re trying to build products to make an organization’s insurance company to build the product easier. But what I can see in the future is will be more and more startup or technology company trying to build things that facing customers like b2c, so directly dealing with customers and allow them to make better decisions of choosing what products or even tailor maker products according to what they like. So for example, in the US they have Hipple that they Have lemonade, or these very innovative startup that building a beautiful platform just targeting customers to make products more suitable for them? So I think that that’s, that could be the trend for Asia as well. Like, you know, you’re really building a company that facing the customers and increased transparency.

Michael Waitze 5:16
Do you think you have to get b2b right. First, before you can get the b2c stuff? Right. Does that make sense?

Irene Tsang 5:28
I don’t think so. I do not see there is. I would, I would say the b2c will be how you communicate with your customers, and how you design your products?

Michael Waitze 5:43
In other words, if here’s the here’s the real question for me is if the back end b2b stuff is not working, and is not efficient, is not transparent. And it’s not easy. Can you do that properly on the communications front with the UI and the UX you then deliver to your consumers?

Irene Tsang 6:00
Well, that’s a great question. So you can, for example, your back end is how you, for example, how you process your policy, yep. How you how you underwrite your policies, or how you price your products, right? So these are b2b, which is really, really critical, because that’s kind of form the foundations of your so you’re right. But what I’m saying when b2c is the customer facing is how can you make things more transparent, and directly interact with your life? So I take this example there are a lot of companies start to build some apps or technologies around, like, integrate insurance with your daily life, right? So tracking your health, your steps or audience that can improve your claim ratio, lower your price, and all these, these kinds of interaction with your customers, or increase your transparency of your company or product doesn’t necessarily linked to how good are you at the back end, of course, that’s very essential, in whatever is the hell than the writing that you’re trying to put towards the customer and the interface that you interact with your customers? And how to get, you know, make the right decisions on which product to choose?

Michael Waitze 7:13
Yeah, I’m just trying to go back to my days when I was at Goldman Sachs, right, and everything that I did was customer facing. And there was so much frustration for me. Because there were so many things that I wanted to do for my clients. But the back end made it so hard, because I could think when I was doing it like, yeah, we can do that. That’s a great idea. We can personalize that that’s but how am I ever gonna get that done? When I think on the phone? I feel like in the insurance industry, the policy admin part, right, which is something a lot of people don’t talk about. But this is the back end, I think that you’re referencing is very similar to kind of like the post processing operations part of like an equity trade. How do I split it up? How does it happen? When does it expire? All this kind of stuff, right? And when I think about it, in that context, I just think, Boy, if the back end was easier, the front end would have been so much nicer kind of thing.

Irene Tsang 8:06
But you know, what, actually, no matter what we’re talking about front end or back end, at the end of the day is the product, right? It’s why the back end is so complicated is because insurance product itself is complicated. Ah, you know what I mean? So, because it just so many terms, exclusions, you know, pricing dynamics that make the product itself, it’s pretty general insurance is pretty much more straightforward. But life insurance is a little bit difficult in terms of a lot of different calculations behind but so when we try to take a step back, you know, think about the product as a holistic point of view, right? If we can really simplify the products, by using technologies or whatever, to simplify it, it will make front end and back end way much easier. You know, so it’s somehow it’s how you design the products in what’s really matters. That’s just to me is, but I bet I agree with you. Like, if the back end was in ride, it’s kind of make life very, very difficult.

Michael Waitze 9:07
And I saw this in practice. And that’s why I wanted to point this out. Because the reality is that once we started making the front end, really customer facing, right, once we because we went through this in the investment banking in the trading business, we built algorithms so that our clients could deal directly. We called it direct market access and direct algorithmic access to the market. That was the transparency that was the simplification of trading. And the only way to be able to handle that to do STP or straight through processing was to then make the back end mirror the simplicity of the front end. We saw this happen and so I can’t stop thinking about it. I think that’s what you’re saying too, is you’re right. Those things have to happen in tandem.

Irene Tsang 9:49
Yeah, and the core things which is the product are you selling? Yep, it’s cool. If the product itself keeps being very, very complicated. It’s very hard. Got to simplify the process or for them, it’s just so hard. And you just have to think of a way that makes the product simpler. And easier.

Michael Waitze 10:12
I like it. I like it. Can we get we just raced ahead a little bit too fast for me, because I was just so interested in this. Can we get a little bit of your background? Like, where does all this experience come from?

Irene Tsang 10:22
Oh, thank you for asking me. So I started my career after graduating, I started my career as the management trainee at Prudential. So I basically have before I started my own startup, I was in corporate world for almost 20 years, and all of my time with insurance company. So I spend most of my time with two biggest insurance company which is Prudential and AIA. I love it. They are great companies. And my because I started my career as a management trainee. So I got a chance to explore the whole insurance end to end from the very back end to the very front end. So I was I was able to rotate within department, even underwriting policy, I mean, customer service, even HR. I’ve been stay there for months, like learning how it works, because I need to understand the whole insurance structure in organizations. Yeah. And then I got assigned to the friend name, which is where my destination was the bancassurance. So I quite focused on partnership, though, because you know, insurance company, they have a lot of distribution channel. So that’s where I specialize in. So since then, I’ve been focusing on building partnership with bank. And so I know that my role actually was very lucky I got expand from time to time, like every two years, I got a new role. I got a bit of expansion. So I try I’ve been looking after partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, product development, operations, training, you name it, such as everything so and I’ve been working with a quite a couple of very big global banks. So I handle Standard Chartered bank for Prudential. And then when I work with AIA I help them to manage the relationship with Citibank and and I was participating in many other Partnership deal like we just busy and other merger and acquisitions deal. And my experience, cover not only Hong Kong market, but Asia, Asia Pacific. So I actually help them look out for like 16 to 18 markets that they operate in.

Michael Waitze 12:35
So did you live or are you not in Hong Kong now, we talked about this early. You’re in Melbourne are you originally from?

Irene Tsang 12:42
I should set this context, right? I was. I was born in China. And I grew up in Hong Kong. So I spent my entire life I graduate from Hong Kong. I work in Hong Kong. And I just recently like four years ago, I think I moved to Australia. So now I live in Melbourne. And so I kind of travel around the world and and yeah, I still can speak I speak fourlanguage. I speak Mandarin Cantonese English. So yeah.

Michael Waitze 13:09
Did you travel a lot when you were building all these partnerships?

Irene Tsang 13:13
A lot. Yeah, I spent a lot of time in Thailand as well, because at that time, I got a project to reactivate the partnership between Prudential and Standard Chartered Bank in Thailand. So I spent heaps of time there. I love it. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 13:28
But you also mentioned you said my startup, you kind of mentioned it in passing, but after spending two decades in the corporate world, what entices someone. And I know because I did this myself, but what entices someone to then leave and go out on their own?

Irene Tsang 13:46
Well, that’s a great question. I left the corporate world, not because I want to start a startup. I actually left the corporate world because after I moved to Australia, I moved to Australia with my two young children. Okay, so I am a I’m a single mom, raising two young children. And after I moved to Australia, you know, the way Australia worked, we don’t have in house nanny, just like Hong Kong, we kind of quite lack of, you know, support. It’s, it’s not an easy task to work full time and a single mom and raising two children. So I decided to give it a break from the corporate world. But then I’m kind of person I always think what I can do, I love working and I love helping the community and giving back and challenging myself. So and then that’s why I studied. As I said, I was so passionate interested in InsurTech, FinTech, all these technology, how they can change the world. So I then I study, I got into Oxford FinTech course. So I study FinTech with Oxford. And that’s why I start to have my own startup ideas. I always think Getting, maybe I can start something to really do what I want to do and help who I want to help.

Michael Waitze 15:07
And how did that turn out? I’m really curious about this, though. Well, I want to talk about the startup and starting your own business again in a second. But this idea of there is no, we take for granted while living in Asia, I lived in Hong Kong actually, for a few months, I lived in Japan for a while, obviously, I’ve lived in Thailand now for 11 years. And we take for granted this idea of the support system that we have for our families. Right. So if you were in Hong Kong, like you said, you could have a nanny, you could go to a corporate job every day. But in Australia, the system’s completely different, particularly for a single mom, like the world is just not set up for you. And that’s clearly suboptimal. So in the context of building this business, just what what is the business? But what are the other things you have to think about in the context of buildings, particularly for someone like you?

Irene Tsang 15:59
I think my personality, I don’t really think too much, I when I want to do something, I just, I just try my very best, I just do it. Okay. Well, my context is more about just because I am a single mom, and I raised two children. So I’m particularly interested in supporting women go ahead, that’s gave me the drive. To start this something, even though it’s very challenging, very difficult, because I can see that I’ll be able to help someone. And for me, I was very lucky. I have financial independence, I have a choice. I can move around country. I got connected with good leaders. So I have a good career, but not many women. It’s like he has been, you know, and but they are they amazing, the inspiring, they just need a little bit help. And sometimes I was like, why woman’s life has to be so difficult, right? It’s really, really challenging, because they have a lot of more responsibilities than men. I’m not saying men also have a lot to deal with. But I’m just saying like for women, they also need to look out the families children’s, and especially like in community like here, you don’t really have nanny support. So to me, it’s more about the, what motivate me is I can see myself can be helping others. So that’s why I really want to do something. And the second thing is because of my young children, I actually want to do something that could build a legacy that could leave be a good role model for my children, when they grow up. I wanted them to have that give back mentality and the value in their life. That no matter they have, they need to feel grateful. And they need to give back to the community and help others. So that also gives me the motivations to start something, and to hopefully build a legacy in the future that people will remember

Michael Waitze 17:53
Really important. So what is this thing that you started and what is it trying to accomplish?

Irene Tsang 17:59
So for me is, I started to LIFTwomen left wing that is a fin tech startup. And it’s a Australia’s first woman focused crowdfunding platform, so dedicated to support women to start their own business, and be successful, and be the best that they can be. And the reason I started it is, the whole idea came alive during pandemic, when there are a lot of women’s around me that they lost a job during pandemic. And their life becomes really, really difficult. They and but they actually, it’s very talented, they have a lot of business ideas. But they just don’t have the money don’t have the capital to start it. And sometimes they also like have covenant skills. So through this, a lot of women out there is suffering this, this kind of things. But imagine like if they can get the support, they can get a little bit of the money, start their business, they can all of a sudden become financially independent, and owning something to fit their children fit their family and become a better version of themselves. And then that put me into like, How can I help test the questions? So I see the problems. How can I help what’s the tool,

Michael Waitze 19:14
But I feel like you’re solving a multi layered problem here. And just work with me on this for a second I it’s not a fully formed thought, but maybe you and I can fully form it together. If you’re a male who loses his job and wants to go raise money for a startup? Yeah, there’s an existing infrastructure of male led venture capital companies, male led crowdsourcing companies out there that already exist that are already there to help you out. And they kind of take for granted the fact that some guy is going to start some business. But the responsibilities and we don’t have to qualify the differences and the responsibilities between men and women in a traditional family, the woman’s the caregiver, and I don’t care if it’s the 21st century or the 18th century, that’s the way society has been organized. So it’s unfair in a way, right? Like you said, the responsibilities that a woman has are just like double the responsibilities that a man has, regardless of how progressive you want to consider yourself. Yeah, you can see me pointing at myself. But you’re trying to solve two problems at once, right? Because when that guy loses his job, he goes back into a system that already expects him to go back into it. Right. But in the pandemic, when a woman loses her job, now, she’s got still the responsibility of taking care of her family. But now a dif a more difficult role of trying to find the funding to start that business. We can go to some of the statistics in the United States, but something like I’m gonna round up, but only 3% of venture capital money is invested in female led businesses. So if your math is any good, you know that the other 97% goes to man, it’s not hard math. So you’re trying to solve this two level problem at least is that do you understand what I’m saying?

Irene Tsang 21:03
Yeah. And then you are absolutely right. Let’s, let’s talk about the funding problem first. So I think you you absolutely get the point is that venture capitalists, right, so there are systems out there supporting startup? Yeah, yes. And the startup ecosystem is growing at being more and more mature. But the fact is still globally, only less than 3% of venture capitalists actually supporting female that startup, right. There are a lot of reasons. One of the reasons is majority of the venture capitalists are still male dominant, do they see things are they investing is from a man’s perspective. And second reason is, they’re essentially not enough female starting business. So there are no pipeline day. So and the reason because they might be lack of confidence, they might have other responsibilities that delaying them to realizing their business dreams or role models, lack of role models. So there are a lot of reasons that stopping women to start a business. So this can be see the statistic is like in Australia, only around 25% of startup founded by a woman. And another statistics by by a McKinsey study is actually 68% of investors prefer to be pitched by male voice. And it tends to ask different questions when it comes to you know, listening to the pitch from woman or listening to the pitch of male. So there are what I’m trying to say is that they just have a unconscious biases around women that start up in menswear startup. And also the society also is lacking, supporting network to encourage women to really start their business and build the pipeline. So I think and funding is a critical is one of the biggest challenge that they’re facing, they just can’t get funding anywhere, especially for early stage when a lot of people want to observe. And, and I’m just talking about part of the women up there. They’re also another part of the women as they are small and micro business, they actually outside investors right now.

Michael Waitze 23:09
Right? Can I just jump in for a second, because I think this is one of the things it’s so hard to explain, right? This pipeline issue is real, I think. Right? So if, let’s say in the 1970s, and I’m gonna go far back, right, and go to Sand Hill Road, I’m gonna use it America as a proxy for the rest of the venture capital investment in startup world and stop me where you think I’m wrong, right. But if you go back to the 1970s, five venture capitalists, venture capital companies invest mostly in male founded companies. So when those things become successful, like Microsoft and Apple, started by other men, then you end up in the 90s. When those guys get wealthy, and they reinvest in companies, they hire mostly other guys to work with them, because that’s what they know. That’s who they attended Harvard with. That’s who they did their startups with. So you’re still another generation has gone by without building that pipeline. And then the VCs come out of these big tech companies. And they’re also men. So as you get into the 2000s, you see the same thing happening. And even today, you see a company like revolute, right, just announced that their founder, what’s his name, Nick, something. Right, has now announced that he’s going to extract Nik storonsky has now announced he’s going to start a VC fund that’s going to be AI based. But the artificial intelligence that’s going to get built into that is going to be built by humans with the same biases, I think that exist in the existing venture capital infrastructure. How do you attack this pipeline problem?

Irene Tsang 24:35
Yes, yes. So great. So the question is, I love this. So while I’m trying to do with LIFT is we have the change than the narrative around starting business for women around fundraising for women. So now, the perception is so it’s so difficult to start a business. I don’t have money, I don’t have confidence. There’s just so many, many

Michael Waitze 25:01
Everybody but particularly for ladies, it’s hard. It’s just hard. Yeah, yeah.

Irene Tsang 25:03
Yeah, particularly for women is hard. So, but it doesn’t have to be the case like, you know, what we are lacking is role model. Yeah, successful story. And assessable tool. So what I’m trying to build with lift is lift itself is a crowdfunding platform that I see it as a tool, which is empower mentor, because it is completely DIY, of course, there are a lot of education and skills training involved. But at the end of the day, the platform is a tool that they can use by themselves whenever they need the money, or when they want to raise a little bit of capital to start their business. But that’s not enough. So when you have the tool, then you have to have in the right if that woman will understand and be encouraged to try. So what we left is trying to do is is we changed in the rate of a fundraising, we’re not using what people say about crowdfunding, I’ll come back to this point later. But crowdfunding is still very technical for a lot of people. And it’s still something that is in the US in Europe. And it’s not for women. So just a lot of this perception, there’s I want to change the narrative. I’m not talking about crowdfund, even though it’s a tool, right? So I’m talking about how you can use the platform to raise money, get visibility, customers, and pre order, you know, all these like validations, or in one setting, is actually a smart way to start your business. And after you tune the narrative, right, people can relate women can understand. The third thing is you need to build a safe place, that there’s no judgment, you can build up successful story. And what I see, Michael, you absolutely right is, it’s not a job that you can achieve overnight. It’s my vision is, I hope that we’ve lived in the next five to 10 years, we slowly build up to a story, we’re slowly changing the narrative. And if in the next five to 10 years, we are in a society that hey, is so easy, fun, cool check things to start a business for women and girls just go to lift, you know, it’s easy, it’s safe. You can you can raise a liberal capital and start your business. And it’s something trendy and fun, it will be really, really cool for for the next young generations and many, many more generations to say, it’s really possible in other things is possible. It’s assessable. So it comes back to lift vision is we want to make funding accessible and possible for everyone, for all the women and girls.

Michael Waitze 27:35
Yeah. And how do you change that narrative? I love this word that you’re using, right? Because I do think that at some level, the narrative is different for men and for women. Again, I like to make metaphors and analogies because I think it’s easier for people to understand if I’m a green person, and there’s a room filled with blue people that invites me in, legitimately want me to be in that room. But I’m just not going to feel comfortable. Because everybody there is blue, and I’m green. No matter how much they want me in there, it doesn’t really matter. I just don’t feel comfy no matter what they say. How do you create this place where that doesn’t happen? Right? So again, I like to talk about diversity at scale, being something that you can’t bolt on at the end, right? So you can’t like build this big infrastructure and then go on now everybody else is invited in? Does that make sense? You have to build some of this diverse from the beginning, so that people do feel comfortable. So I think this narrative idea around, I want to build a place where everybody’s where people do feel comfortable. You know, people can scoff at this idea of like, Hey, I was never comfortable in the place where I was. But the reality is, you were never made to feel uncomfortable. Because everybody that was there was already like you. So you don’t understand. The discomfort doesn’t come from saying, I don’t think that that shirt you’re wearing matches those pants you have on. It just comes from looking around the room and going. Nobody in here is like I am. Is that fair?

Irene Tsang 29:13
Very, that makes sense. So, but before I address this point, I want to talk a little bit about like, why I always tell women or people who want to start the business, not just dial it for the sake of starting. Yeah, you got to be solving a real problem that that people have. Yeah. And for me is yes, I see the problem. I see the funding gap. I see women not getting enough support and all this and I think crowdfunding could be a possible solutions. But before I dive all in, I actually did extensive research around crowdfunding different other platforms. And that’s how I found why women I start to realize why women feel uncomfortable or why it’s not enough for women. And that’s why I started a platform that focus purely on women. I’m not I’m not creating Something Oh, I just want a woman because of a marketing proposition or need. Yeah, but I’m creating it because it’s doesn’t need. The reason is, for example, I took example, it’s the Kickstarter is your blue and green shirt example perfectly fit these, Kickstarter is an amazing platform. So it’s been there over 10 years in us, and it’s so big. So it’s like millions of products crate every year. But when you really look at the statistics less than the represent a woman’s projects, and they’re very, very the vibe, the feeling, it’s very masculine and you know, kind of very product or gaming, heavy, you know, dominant. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great platform. But when it comes to women that they might not feel as you said, they might not feel comfortable, because all the people there are all

Michael Waitze 30:47
They are already different. Yeah.

Irene Tsang 30:50
And, and they’re raising 1 million, 2 million. And what I’ve made, I just want to raise 2000, would I be to, you know, be judged? Or you know, I don’t have those professionally make video. So Kickstarter is just one example. Even though in Australia, there are there are a couple of crowdfunding platform, which is pretty good, pretty awesome. But still, why a woman is not doing this, why, and why crowdfunding is do so unpopular he I’m in Australia and Asia, I keep asking me myself this question. So why yes. The reason is, they see this something very far away. They either haven’t even heard about it. Okay. Secondly, is for those people who heard about it, they thought that’s not my thing. I mean, women, so a lot of women, their feedback is, once they click to Kickstarter, that’s not my thing. Or they started a crowdfunding, oh, that’s, that’s very technical. I couldn’t do this. That’s just not my thing. And they don’t even be able to get to know what it is. So it doesn’t mean that revenue isn’t a good thing. Right. Right. So to me, then my job come into play is then how can I really make these powerful too? Because for me, I come from finance. I know how powerful it can be. Yeah. And as so how can I make this powerful tool be understand or understood by women, and be accepted by them to just give it a go? And that’s why I come up with then how can I change the radio, because that’s also come from my background. When I work with partnership with bank, it’s all about packaging, the relative proposition and Win Win shared values, right? This is how you win the partnership, this is how you win your customers, and saying, you’re going to find a proposition and the right of the people can connect and relate. And I was very lucky, I found mine. I was testing my ideas, because I think Crowdfunder is just a term, then what it means to you how it can help your business. That’s key. And I found four points, you know, crowdfunding can actually get your customers in advance, get your money in advance, and get your product market fit validations. And number four is you get your visibility’s put your brand out there, it’s actually a marketing campaign. And what’s the best about it is free of charge. A lot of platforms don’t charge you upfront, including lift, and it’s nothing to lose. And it’s a very simple and I’ve lived with a very straightforward process, very user friendly customers facing interface and just everything’s pretty easy. And you know, and when you talk about these, they women start to relate. And then it’s back to Michael’s question is then how you can make them feel comfortable, is a lot of women has something in common is when they built their business is the story that matter? Is who they are, yeah. A lot of time when you go to those Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platform is the product that matter when you go to DC is the return that matter. But when you go to women, their business is the story that matter and they care the most. I’m not saying you’re cute. If you keep focusing on story, not talking about return, it’s not working, but I’m just saying that you have to be able to have a place that they can feel freely to share their story. And secondly is what Lyft has been building is no matter big project or small projects, even you’re just starting a small business micro business asking for 2000, 3000 it’s completely fine here on LIFT.

Michael Waitze 34:32
How do you strategically plan to control that narrative?

Irene Tsang 34:40
Well, I love these questions. I didn’t strategically think to control that narrative and control the outcome. I couldn’t and I didn’t find that. One I what I really tried my best to do is, as you said, be myself I come myself out there. I talk to women. We launched not long ago, we launched in June last year, I’ve been speaking to over 300 ones already. I offer my time I talk to them, I explain what lift is about what crowdfunding can help you, and encourage them to give it a go. And the more I talk, and the more understand how they feel. And the more I can refine to fine tune the propositions or what I we, what we’re doing. And the things that we see is the platform naturally, naturally attract women with purpose driven focus, purpose driven business, sustainability focused, very authentic women out there, trying to do something to change their life, or change somebody else’s life or give back to community that’s just naturally formed, right? And then I build on that, and then I share the story. So I talk about them, I talk about the successful story, I bring them on the stage, and I share their journey. Because what I’m trying to do is not only just starting one projects, it’s a lifetime partnership. And it’s a lifetime community that we work together and we see your growth. And because lift is also a startup ourselves. So what we sharing our stories we grow together. Yeah, so we grow with the women on our platform together. And another thing is, for me, I always say you can’t do this by yourself. You have to have women, women sharing the same vision coming together. Because a lot of women start a project with you when you are so young. It’s because they believe in you believe you ambition. And that’s what make us different and make us grow. And we actually doing this collectively.

Michael Waitze 36:57
That is I think the perfect thought to leave people with Irene. Irene Tsang, the founder and CEO of lift women group. That was awesome.

Irene Tsang 37:07
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. And I think we want to keep me going is when I talk to women on the phone or whatever. And at the end of the call, they actually tell me Irene I feel I see the light. I see the hope. I feel confidence. I’m really, really motivated. Thank you. I’m going to give it a goal. I’m going to try . Yeah. And then now up to now we’re still I still in really, really close and good connections with a lot of founders. And we’re just like friends

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Episode 239