Alyn’s Platform Helps Businesses Attract New Customers and Helps Customers Stay Fit
What’s your story?
I’m originally from the valleys of South Wales, I am a passionate, unconventional, hard-worker that has never taken the easy path. I arrived in China without any Mandarin, worked three jobs while completing my master’s degree, managed nationwide “under-the-cap” mobile marketing campaigns from a bedroom, and led startups that extended across Asia. I then launched my own startup weeks after my first child was born. One could say I like challenges! After working at startups with SaaS products and helping FMCG companies sell unhealthy products in single-use packaging, I decided to go back to my roots and encourage people to get outdoors and to live a healthy lifestyle.
What excites you most about your industry?
Being healthy is the most fundamental thing you can do to start making positive change. Moving makes you feel good and has great health benefits. Having built the foundations of a platform that allows people to move more, get rewards, and support local businesses is something I believe will connect people to their communities, and strengthen local economies.
What’s your connection to Asia?
In 2001, two weeks after graduating from college, I was on a flight to China. For one year I was in a small city with only 2 other foreigners. That experience, as well as my experiences traveling around Asia, made an impact on me. When I returned to the UK, everything felt slow, stagnant. This prompted me to go back to university for a master’s in Mandarin and Business and I moved to Shanghai shortly after graduating. During the next 8 years in Shanghai, I worked and traveled across the region. I’ve just passed my 5th year in Hong Kong, meaning I have spent nearly half my life in Asia.
Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
Currently, Hong Kong. Despite it not being a strong environment for startups (I believe Singapore does better), I love the variety of living in a modern metropolis with both high mountains and beaches, all within minutes of finishing a day’s work in the city. I run-commute to the office on most days. Having grown up next to mountains in Wales, allows me to feel connected (even comforted) when I see them nearby. Flat cities make me feel a little agitated.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Bad news should travel fast, but give at least two action options.” The best boss I ever had said, if someone finds an issue, they should not hide it, they should own it, problem solve, and, if it cannot be fixed directly, give the line manager your report with the options you’ve already considered. Otherwise, you’re just delegating up and adding no value.
Who inspires you?
My grandfather. He passed away less than two weeks ago at the time of this writing. Unfortunately, because of facing quarantine in both the UK and then back in Hong Kong, as well as being away from my wife and daughters too long, I will not be able to attend the funeral. He was a strong, reliable, humble, and kind gentleman. He lived to 94 years of age and, up until very recently, still went to the gym and swam 4-5 times a week.
What have you just learned recently that blew you away?
The role that the diamond trade had on shaping the course of the second world war, where access to industrial diamonds was critical in cutting metal to make machinery. I love the podcast “Wondery,” and their latest series about diamonds is fascinating. My undergraduate degree was in history, and I love politics, so listening to podcasts allows me to switch off during my morning commute run.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I usually do not like such questions. Because if I’d done things differently, I’d not be here and not be the same person, maybe not even have the same family that drives me every day. But, if forced, maybe I’d have learned to play a musical instrument, though that would’ve meant less time playing rugby!
How do you unwind?
Being a father of two (7 months and 3 years old) plus having a startup, there is not much time to unwind. However, I am very lucky that the coworking spaces I rent, in 2 different parts of the city, both have showers. So, I combine exercise with my commute and listen to podcasts. This also allows me to test my own product!
Favorite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I like most places in Taiwan, where I lived for 6 months in my mid-twenties. The variety of cuisine, landscapes, friendly people, and the entrepreneurial spirit is always alluring. Also, having young kids, any destination that is no more than a 2-hour flight away is an amazing plus.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I enjoyed reading, “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses,” by Eric Ries. Although not a “bible” with all the answers, it does cover a lot of the fundamental basics of creating a “startup” that can scale.
Shameless plug for your business:
Bravera helps you turn “walk and run” activity into rewards and get healthier while supporting local businesses and boosting the economy. Change your world. With each step, each purchase, each experience.
Graduate of Silicon Valley’s Founder Institute, Hong Kong Cyberport, and listed as one of Hong Kong’s top startups to watch.
Available on both iOS and Android, we will be expanding into new areas of Asia Pacific, soon. You can find more information on https://www.bravera.fit/
How can people connect with you?
For those wishing to connect for networking please add me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/alyn-watkins-4253b4b/
If others wish to join Bravera as a partner, team member, or find out about investment opportunities, please email [email protected]
To hear how entrepreneurs around the world overcome their challenges, search your favorite podcast platform for ‘CallumConnects’ to hear a 5-minute daily breakdown.
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built, and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’, and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.