In our Valentine’s day special for 2016, Violet Lim, CEO and co-founder of the Lunch Actually Group discussed the major players of the dating industry in Asia and how she built a full stack dating company over the years to matchmake her customers from online to offline. Starting from her story from how she quitted banking at 24 to start a company to geographically expand the company across Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, Violet offered her perspectives as an entrepreneur navigating in the dating industry across Asia. We discussed how the Lunch Actually Group are able to move from offline to online and now mobile with their different offerings: Lunch Actually, E-Synchrony and Lunch Click. Last but not least, we hear her thoughts on women in leadership, gender diversity, and why she was able to focus her efforts on social missions and her company.
Author’s full disclosure: Dr Bernard Leong is an investor of Lunch Actually Group and his opinions and thoughts are solely of his own and do not represent the organisations which he works for or invests in.
Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):
- Violet Lim, CEO and co-founder of Lunch Actually Group (@violetlim, LinkedIn, personal site)
- Career of Violet Lim
- How did she get started with your career from banking to the dating industry? [1:06]
- From a corporate career to build a company with Lunch Actually, what are the interesting career lessons she has learned? [3:37]
- How did both Violet and her husband, Jamie Lee decide to start Lunch Actually?
- Lunch Actually Group and Trends in the Dating Industry across Asia Pacific
- What are the initial challenges you face in growing the company and how did they shift it with a technology focus towards the company? [6:10]
- How does Lunch Actually Group use technology to improve efficiency and productivity within the company? Violet shares the story of Soul Seek, their internal CRM system. [9:25]
- Lunch Actually has evolved from an offline dating company to a full stack company combining both online and offline, can you describe the different dating services and the business models that each service operate within the group? [13:54]
- Lunch Actually [14:10]
- How does the business work? How do you help to match singles from both genders? [14:20]
- What is it like when the matches work and not work? [15:30]
- E-Synchrony [17:18]
- What does the service? How does it help the rest of the businesses?
- Lunch Click (iOS and Google Play) [19:10]
- What is the intended use for Lunch Click? [19:25]
- How does the app first acquire their users?
- What are the interesting features for users to get their dates, for example removing the chat function and limit one match per day?
- Given that most users leave the dating app after they got hitched, how does your dating app or dating apps such as Tinder in general deal with churn? The paradox of using metrics for Tinder and WeChat on dating apps where the user is lost upon a successful match. [24:00]
- Lunch Actually [14:10]
- The Lunch Actually group has expanded across Asia Pacific, what is the footprint and how did you do your geographic expansion? [27:27]
- What are the challenges in geographic expansion given that the dating industry is very local and cultural dependent? [29:27]
- How is the dating industry in Asia Pacific in three regions: (1) China, (2) India and (3) Southeast Asia? [30:40]
- Top 3 players in China: Baihe, Jiayuan and Zhenai. Consolidation of the dating industry happened in China with Baihe acquiring Jiayuan.
- Women in Leadership
- Both Violet and her husband have been involved in the rotary club and spent a significant amount of their time on social missions. What are their experience in these social missions and how these missions have helped them both in development? [34:40]
- In her perspective, what is her advice for women in leadership particularly in being an entrepreneur and corporate executive and deal with the challenges they face? [36:19]
- A discussion on Violet’s recent post: “Thankful that I am not beautiful”. (Highly recommended) [37:05]
- What are her thoughts in how gender or other forms of diversity be enhanced in modern workplaces? [41:23]
The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Aspirus Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium) and Linkcious (and check out their other product, Chiibi). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Aspirus and sign up for their mailing list.