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You might have noticed it: your friends, or the friend of your friends, and people your age have embarked on being their own bosses. From online business to mobile apps to brick-and-mortar stores, everyone is keen to chomp on the entrepreneurial pie these days.

UrbanWire speaks to Zachary Lai, marketing professional and app founder of glomp!, who’s based in Singapore and Hong Kong to find out how’s life as an entrepreneur.


We need to ask the question on everyone’s mind: what exactly is ‘glomp!’?

Zachary: glomp! is a new platform and a world’s first to enable friends to casually treat one another with real physical products as an extension of their digital conversations. Everyday, we text, email, and use social network. As part of everyday conversations, we have times when we need to congratulate, send thanks, say sorry and so on. In the offline world, when friends catch up at a café, restaurant or bar, for such moments, treating one another is long established as standard gesture of friendship.

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Let’s face it, sending a ‘like’ can be blasé. So now with glomp!, we can deliver greater expressions of friendship and a more genuine sense of ‘touch’, by glomp!ing (treating) enjoyable products such as a coffee, smoothie, beer or an ice-cream to really deliver some sentiment and that next level of gratification.

We’re curious. Why the name glomp!?

Zachary: The key elements were the name had to be unique and catchy, appropriate as a consumer technology brand, have a friendly personality, and could naturally be adopted as a verb for the action of digital treating which we have invented. glomp! fulfilled all of the above and tested tremendously well with those we surveyed.

What prompted you to start glomp!? As a young entrepreneur, is it difficult to manage expectations and convince others with your experience?

Zachary: As a creative marketing professional, my team and I have been focused on understanding consumer behavior and developing creative solutions to the market for a great variety of brands. Therefore when we decided to develop a new business model, we naturally employed our extensive experience to bring about something in glomp!. 

There’s an old saying about passion isn’t enough to pay the bills in a business. Aspiring entrepreneurs may possess the passion, but the resilience to stomach the highs and lows of running a business can be tough. What are some of the difficulties you have experienced while working on glomp!?
Zachary: I wouldn’t exactly say unforeseen challenges but things don’t always move along as smoothly and quickly as we would like them to. The key task we have is in getting people to try glomp!-ing for the first time. But once the users experience the app, we are sure they will realize that it’s a great way to enhance their digital conversations. People naturally like doing something nice for friends, and who doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of a nice treat?


You seem very dedicated and passionate about your app. What are some of the rewards you treat (pun intended) yourself to outside of glomp!?

Zachary: Outside of business, I continue to think about innovations for the future. But of course I try to ensure that I have a balanced life and enjoy my social time by exercising and hanging out with friends.

Would you like to share any advice with UrbanWire readers who’d like to strike it out on their own?

Zachary: Firstly, unlike what some people from the start-up world advocate, I think people should not drop out of school in order to pursue a start-up idea. School isn’t only a learning experience but it’s a great time in life that won’t happen again and a period to be treasured. You have the rest of your life to start a business. Sure, timing is important and some may think that if they wait, their great opportunity may be gone. But with so much stuff happening in the industry, there’s always something else or some other angle you can pursue later.

Secondly, and since we are in the business of digital communications, we see that sometimes, the convenience and simplicity of digital services can make us more susceptible to taking short cuts and opting for the easiest way out. When it comes to human relationships with your friends and family, whether it’s online or offline, we still need to make real effort to develop them and there is no short cut to do that sincerely.


UrbanWire unearths 3 other mobile apps by local entrepreneurs worth sussing out

1) For the sentimental: Time Travellr
This app developed by Saleem Jumabhoy and Calvin Soh relives the history of Singapore amidst its ever-changing landscape. It appeals to user to upload and geo-tag old photo of places in Singapore so other users who are around the area would be able to share the preserved memories and anecdotes. You don’t have to be Doctor Who to time travel now.

2) For the busy (or just lazy): redmart
Life is too short to wait for the person in front with $200 worth of groceries on a precious weekend. The redmart app is a local supermarket in your pocket. There are thousands of products to choose from that will be delivered within a 2-hour delivery period. No wonder Eduardo Saverin is joining them now as an investor. We might have just found a legitimate way to cut queue.

3) For the adventurous: feecha
This is a useful app by the Ching Chong Group to utilise unexplored terrain when running errands. Finished the task, but don’t know what else to do? feecha is your neighborhood news app that maps out the latest happenings of food, art, and news of the area you’re in. Customize your feeds according to what interests you most and voila, you’re on your next adventure.