This Singaporean Start-up Wants Young People to Discover Their True Calling
Take note: Glints is not a job portal or a professional network
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Singaporean start-up Glints started as a side project of CEO Oswald Yeo and his co-founders. Through a simple landing page and a Google sheet, Yeo matched his friends to different internships.
“But then came version 2 - through talking to our users, we realized that there was a much bigger problem and opportunity here than just sourcing for internships - young people often do not know exactly where they want to go for their careers, what skills they need to get there, or how to get these skill sets,” Yeo says.
He and his co-founders decided to build Glints as the first career discovery and development platform for young professionals. He differentiates Glints from both job portals—which are designed as transactional platforms for job seekers looking to land a job—and professional networks like LinkedIn, which are more appropriate for middle and senior level professionals who already have experience to display. “Which is why the LinkedIn profiles of most fresh grads all look about the same - empty,” he points out.
The purpose of Glints as a career discovery and development platform is much different. “We help users to discover different careers to explore where they want to be for their career, understand what skills they need to get there, and how they can get there through the right opportunities and resources such as projects, internships, externships and courses,” he says.
Balancing growth across the marketplace
To be sure, the challenge with any two-sided marketplace is balancing the growth of both sides. Yeo says that the side that’s harder to grow really depends on the supply dynamics of the market that they are in.
“In a market like Singapore, there’s much higher demand for than supply of talent, so the demand side of the marketplace got organic traction much faster,” he says.
Glints monetizes from this demand side, when they help companies find the right talent from their pool of professionals. Glints also occasionally provides them with a white label service of their matching platform to organizations running matching programs. “We provide a plug and play solution to give them their own marketplace in minutes,” Yeo says.
He contrasts demand-heavy Singapore with the situation they’ve witnessed in Indonesia. “Because of the extremely large population, there’s much higher supply of talent (if we go just by the quantity and not quality), so the supply side has been easier to grow,” he says, adding later on that the user behavior and preferences of this demographic in any country tend to change very quickly.
Despite these country-to-country differences, Yeo shares that Glints will always have one goal.
“But ultimately, quality talent is always in short supply, so building up our marketplace with quality talent is one of the biggest challenges we are working on. So to get such quality talent, we go all out to acquire them, even if it means meeting up with them one by one,” he says.
As an example, Yeo cited the case of twenty-year-old Viren, who was in his first year of university but did not know what career he wanted to pursue. Because he had an interest in business and technology, he explored different career paths on Glints and chose to intern at an early stage tech start-up.
“Fast forward 2 years, he became the co-founder of that same start-up, dropped out of college to focus on it, raised venture funding from some of the top investors in the regions, and just this month made the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for his achievements,” Yeo shares.
Yeo admits that while not everyone may have as an amazing of a story to tell as Viren, he says most users discover what they love and develop the skills toward that passion. Glints has now helped over 200,000 users on its platform, but Yeo – like the young people on his platform – remains as ambitious as ever.
“Our vision is to build the #1 career platform for young professionals of the world. Eventually, anyone who is just starting out in their career and any organization that wants to hire the right young talent will be on Glints!” he says.