Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Andrew Collins from KAWO.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
KAWO is a social media management tool that helps businesses repurpose and automate existing social media content into Chinese channels like Sina Weibo, RenRen and WeChat, giving brands digital access to over 500 million people where key Western social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked.
KAWO allows any business to create active Chinese social media communication channels, by automatically syncing their existing Facebook, and Twitter pages with their Chinese social media counterparts. Translated messages are then published via KAWO directly on a brand's Chinese social network accounts.
The system is supported by KAWO Protect, a system with a blend of automated flagging and experienced human moderation, that screens potentially sensitive content for the Chinese market.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
KAWO received a $5US00,000 funding from parent company Mailman Group (a leading Chinese social media and technology company), which was supported by other investors.
Most of KAWO's growth is organic, through partner agency relationships, but we are currently implementing a comprehensive content and education strategy to the global market about how they can better market into China.
KAWO is focused on five key growing areas in China: travel, education, sports, technology and entertainment.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
As a truly international company with clients in USA and UK, managing multiple timezones keeps our schedule pretty busy.
Since KAWO does live broadcasts, we have to manage both our international clients and Chinese audience in real-time, which means building an efficient 24x7x365 startup is our biggest challenge.
How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?
Traditional social media agencies have been offering services for international communication for some time, including our parent company, Mailman Group. But, this is generally restricted to brands that are large enough for a service like this. KAWO is all about giving businesses of all sizes the same access to a Chinese community, through our proprietary technology platform.
KAWO is empowering any brand with a Facebook or Twitter account to begin to develop Chinese customers and fans.
KAWO is not just a translating service. KAWO screens and flags potentially sensitive material, which is then translated by a highly trained team that then posts the content to the appropriate channels.
Translating effectively to Chinese is more than simply plugging some words into a translator tool.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
WeChat- it hasn't gained that much traction in the US or Australia yet, but it's really popular in China and starting to expand outside as well -- no doubt helped by a few international celebrities like Lionel Messi joining.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Maximise your assets. We all come from different backgrounds, but if you're able to look at what you have, figure out what you can do and then do it the best, you're at a good starting place. Crowdsourcing is such a great example of this.
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