Recently I got the chance to interview Amina, former Scottish Asian Business woman of the year. We talked about her new company, her life and she gave a range of interesting insights, below is how that went.
What is Kinnect2 social media platform, and how it is used by consumers?
Kinnect2 helps brands and consumers engage and share data in an open, transparent, collaborative social media environment. We have deliberately built the platform to be similar to the current social mediums out there so that it is intuitive for the user when they sign up. Anyone can use the platform to collate info specific to brands they love. A summary of the platform and its benefits from a consumer and brands perspective would be the following:
We have created a space for Consumers to navigate to where they can upload specific brand related data, share specific brand related data, potentially engage with those brands and get rewarded for their feedback. It currently allows for consumers to upload brands that are not yet present on the platform, upload brand relevant Articles/Blogs, Polls, Query’s, Links (youtube and Vimeo links are embedded so can be streamed directly without advertisements on the system currently), or start a Battle between Brands. All these options may also be shared on the consumers Facebook/Twitter/G+ with one click.
How did the idea to create the company come about?
In 2011 I was extremely fortunate to graduate as a Saltire Fellow. During my Fellowship I was placed in a well known Insurance company in Boston called Liberty Mutual. My project there enabled me to come across a few really cool businesses in the social media and word of mouth realms. I looked at what was currently happening with respect to Social media and marketing, and saw that people were overwhelmed with ‘in your face’ invasive adverts. People are getting annoyed and a lot of marketing spend is going to waste, with not enough value to the Brands. Hence Kinnect2 was born.
Kinnect2 is designed to build brands BY customers FOR customers. Kinnect2 is about the voice of the customer and customer feeling valued, in return the brand becomes sustainable and successful. Kinnect2 went live on 12th November 2013.
What direction do you see your company taking in the next year?
Kinnect2 has been completely self-funded to date. Myself and my mentor Michelle Ward have been working tirelessly, alongside a fabulous development team Trellisys (based in Bangalore) to get to the stage we are currently at. It has been really challenging but extremely great fun. Now I am at a stage to bring on the right investors to help me take this to the next level. The goal for Kinnect2 in 2014 is to increase acquisition from a Brand and Consumer perspective, obtain relevant investment, grow the team and bring out an app version of Kinnect2 as well as further features of the platform. There are so many ideas but I have to focus on one milestone at a time.
What changes in social trends do you predict for 2014?
I see a lot of Social and Mobile trends this year. I think people are very critical when it comes to new tech and not as easy to convince. The power of success for online/mobile businesses lies in the hands of the consumer. If only they knew how important they really are to the online ecosystem.
I see the younger age groups becoming more engaged in social media if advertisement is taken away. Again this is where Kinnect2 comes to play. We do not focus on invasive advertising rather social engagement.
What advice can you give to future entrepreneurs?
The biggest learning curve for me has been relating to building a solid team. This is one of the most important parts of any business. I have made some really bad decisions and learnt from them and made equally great decisions when it comes to the development team and my mentors.
Firstly, my Dad and Michelle are both invaluable assets for me on a personal and professional level and I would encourage everyone to have a mentor they can trust. Secondly, feedback is key, and the ability to listen and learn from others rather than make those mistakes is equally as important. Lastly setting core values for you and your business makes you stand out. Once those core values are set, make sure you convey them in your character also.
Other than that three words to keep in your minds eye at all times – Plan-Act-Execute!
Any final thoughts?
This is an extremely exciting time for online and mobile startups. You have to be able to invest your time, risk money and most importantly believe in yourself and your idea to make it succeed. Always be open to feedback and take criticism on board and be able to pivot as and when necessary because Time, Tide and Technology waits for no-one.
My Dad always says to me “If your mind can conceive it and your heart can believe it, then you will achieve it”. To end I would just like to say, I am a strong believer of what goes around comes around and I love to share.