[Interview] Ching-Mei Chen, Cofounder of PicCollage.com

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2013/11/23 by lingdecklee

 [The following is an interview done on Ching-Mei Chen, cofounder of PicCollage.com, with authorization for publishing on the personal blog of Start Jeffrey Up and the FB pages of Entrepreneurs Society of Taiwan (EST) and Plus8.]
About PicCollage:
PicCollage Logo
  1. When was your startup established? Incorporated in December 2009.
  2. How many people on the team right now? 14 full-time.
  3. What is your business model? Still experimenting with different ideas (will elaborate if you come to the talk).
  4. Who are your main target audience? Young women 13~25 years old; United States, Japan and Europe are our largest markets and user-base.
  5. What value does your startup bring or what problem does your startup solve? The easiest and most free-form way to be creative with multiple images, cutouts, text, and share with others. It is moving a lot of traditional behavior (e.g. magazine cutouts, posters, presentations, meme creators) from physical and web (e.g. paper collages, scrapbooks, Powerpoint, Picasa) to mobile.
About Ching-Mei:
Ching Mei Chen
  1. Why do your decide to do your own startup? Technically, I joined the original founders, John Fan and Jaime Cham, a year after they set up an LLC together in 2007. I met John when we both moved to Taipei in 2008, and started working with them in 2009. Before PicCollage, we were mostly developing apps on the Facebook platform in the early days when it first became an open platform for developers. In 2011, we went to Silicon Valley and joined the second batch of 500 Startups and launched PicCollage.
  2. Who inspires you the most on your startup journey? Why? My cofounder/CEO, John. Prior to meeting him and joining him on our startup journey, I didn’t know much about the startup world. We went through so many ideas and experimentation, and failed A LOT. We argue about product details often. However, on a high level, we care about the same things and have the same core values: building a meaningful product, nurturing a good company culture, giving back to the community, and helping others. John is thoughtful, persistent, good-hearted, dependable, ambitious, hard-working – all the qualities needed to build a startup. He provides the team with a sense of security and trust in an otherwise very risky venture.
  3. What is the most enjoyable part of your startup journey so far? Why? Our team. We work together on a daily basis, so hiring good people is key. Because it takes a long time to find a good fit, we push back on the urgency of the matter until/unless we are 200% enthusiastic about our decision.
  4. What is the most challenging part of your startup journey so far? Why? Dealing with people. I don’t mean this in a negative sense. Other issues (e.g., technical, financial challenges) can always be solved, but people issues are much tougher and more complex. It’s definitely more rewarding and fun, though, if you manage to get it right.
  5. What are some of the advice that you, as a woman entrepreneur, would like to give to women that would like to start their own business? Never make it “a thing”. Never categorize yourself as “a woman”, because it shouldn’t matter. There are enough challenges to face in building a startup, why give yourself an extra one? I would give the same advice as I would give to men. Don’t limit yourselves based on gender, race, age, language. Go out and take coding lessons, launch globally, travel if you can. I would also encourage looking for people (your cofounders) who can complement you, to balance you out. It is important to have different personalities who bring different perspectives to the table, even if it means more debate and conflict.
[Ching-Mei will be one of the three female speakers at the upcoming EST event: EST Speaker Night: Woman Entrepreneurs. Join us and listen to her startup stories!]
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