CEO AWING: “Think big, do small deeds and create values”
“Not calling for investment from the capital fund made us used to ‘doing hard things.’ AWING’s philosophy is to think big, do small deeds but do them well to bring value to customers and the community,” shared Mr. Nguyen Tien Dzung, CEO of AWING, at Swinburne Vietnam’s event in The Changemakers Series.
The Changemakers Series is an inspirational talk series organized by Swinburne Vietnam. With the participation of national and international leaders and thinkers, the program aims to broaden students’ perspectives on global issues and encourage the spirit of changemakers.
The desire to create products for Vietnamese people, by Vietnamese people
Graduating from Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Mr. Dzung worked for IBM Japan as a senior engineer in the field of chip manufacturing. But the more he worked, the more he realized that the chip manufacturing field was already extremely competitive with giants like Dell, IBM, and Apple. Therefore, if he wanted to find opportunities for Vietnam, he would have to find another direction.
After completing his master’s degree at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Mr. Dzung returned to Vietnam and worked at FPT Software. Still harboring the dream of developing his own product with a Vietnamese identity, he decided to quit his job to start his own business.
Find your niche amidst the market’s trend
After a few unsuccessful trials, Mr. Dzung and his colleagues decided to pursue the sharing economy model that has brought success to big names like Uber and Airbnb. In this model, the participants will share and benefit from each other’s resources.
For tech startups, it would be easier to raise capital from investment funds if they follow successful models abroad. However, Mr. Dzung wanted to create a product that could take advantage of the resources and solve the problems of Vietnam’s market.
In Vietnam, free wifi is almost everywhere, especially at places like restaurants, shopping malls and airports. In such crowded public places, the quality and speed of the wifi service may not be high because it is often considered a complimentary service.
Focusing on this pain point and taking advantage of the available infrastructure, Mr. Dzung and his teammates founded AWING – a location advertising platform using wifi system. This model brings value to all parties involved: the wifi infrastructure provider will receive a share of the profits to invest back in theỉ facilities; businesses will benefit from location-based advertising; and customers will enjoy high-speed wifi service.
Thanks to this win-win model, AWING became a trusted partner with large corporations and enterprises. If you have ever used free wifi at places like Highland, Golden Gate Group’s restaurants or Vincom shopping malls, you must have seen the note “Powered by AWING.” Up to now, AWING has more than 25 million users and plans to go IPO in the near future.
Think differently for sustainability
Mr. Dzung shared, after a few failed projects, he realized he had to change his perspective. “Initially, when I started a business, I wanted to have fame and fortune like the majority. But in reality, the number of successful startups is very small, so this is clearly a minority. So I have to change the way I think.”
“Rather than taking revenues as our main goal, AWING focuses on bringing values to users and continuously improving our product to satisfy customers.”
Unlike tech startups that have investments from large funds, AWING started out as a member company of a large corporation. Since the company did not have a large budget to attract talents like other startups, AWING built a very lean system with only 25 employees and invested internally to upgrade its product. “That’s why, when other startups that were used to ‘burning money’ start having difficulty balancing costs, AWING can optimize resources quite well,” Mr. Dzung assessed.
“Don’t set goals like money and fame when you embark on a startup project, but think about how your product can bring value to the community and users. Students, learn as much as possible and be selective to focus on the things that are important to you. When you do well in your studies, other good opportunities will come,” Mr. Dzung reminded Swinburne Vietnam’s students.
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