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Inside the Social Entrepreneurship Journey #1

Interview with MyDrCoach

What is MyDrCoach?

MyDrCoach helps primary school students in their homework. It is an online platform that connects them with university students ready to help them. It is very simple: the primary school student takes a picture of the homework and then the app matches the kid with a tutor!

"At MyDrCoach, we think that everyone needs a customized approach in order to learn better"

Let's get started!

When I put “Both:”, it means a sentence that was started by one and finished by the other! And it happened all the time! ;)
 

Introduce yourselves guys!

I’m Dean, 26, and he is Robin, 23 (24 next month!), and we both graduated last year from PolyU with a finance major.

Dean: And I brought my son to the graduation!

Both: But we don’t like finance… we don’t think that finance is interesting. So before graduating we thought about what we could do, so we tried to run other projects and turn them into a business, and MyDrCoach succeeded!
 

What were your other projects?

Both: We wanted to do an online shopping mall, to create a social media like Reddit for Hong Kong… We actually sent a proposal to Cyberport for this but we got rejected! And then we started MyDrCoach.
 

As you didn’t like finance, what was your favourite subject at university?

Robin: I forgot what I learned haha!

Dean: Stock valuation. It taught me that stock market cannot be valuated. Everything starts from an assumption and the assumption is YOU. This is nonsense.

Both: We skipped class every day... or left after 15 minutes!
 

But you still managed to graduate!

Both: But we studied hard at home!

Robin: I still got an A!

Both: We studied very hard at home. We don’t think lectures are useful… you go there and look at the teacher. We believe that the study pattern of everyone is different: our study patterns is not to sit and listen to the lectures… And it is actually linked to MyDrCoach. At MyDrCoach, we think that everyone needs a customized approach in order to learn better.

Dean: Is it interesting?

Me: Yeah!

Robin: I don’t think so hahaha.
 

How did you meet, were you good friends at university?

Dean: Actually I didn’t like him at first… because his hair was too long! Like a big helmet. I know him for a very long time but I never said hi to him. His hair was very long! I didn’t like him until year 3 when I was forced to be with him for a group work. Then I was very frank and honest; I told him I didn’t like him!

Me: That’s why you changed Robin!

Robin: Yeah!! I changed for him.

Dean: Nooo! Actually back then his girlfriend loved helmet hair.

Robin: My girlfriend really liked long hair!

Dean: She made him keep that helmet hair on him!!! But then he tried to break up with her by cutting his hair…

Me: Haha, is it something I can write?

Robin: Of course, I want to be famous!
 

So why did you start MyDrCoach?

Both: Actually the truth is that we wanted to have our own business. So we participated at PolyU’s TIF competition which allows the beneficiaries to start from the very beginning, before they have any idea. So we brainstormed during the workshops and had to find an idea within TIF’s 4 categories: IoT, FinTech, Medical & Education… and we only knew about education!

Me: Come on! And FinTech!?

Both: Oh nooo, FinTech is another level. So we passed it and focused on education.

Dean: I used to stay in these tutorial centres from Primary 1 so I understand these things. And even at university, I worked in these tutorial centres. So I kept seeing more things and wanted to do something in this area because this industry needs to be changed.

Robin: Our vision is “Equalizing Learning Opportunities”.

Both: We had this vision from the very beginning… even if at that time, we didn’t know yet how to equalize learning opportunities. It was just our slogan!

Dean: Every company needs a vision; so I had to make up a vision.

Robin: We presented it to the judges of TIF and they said: “Oh, very good vision. It’s very important”.
 

Is it the first slogan you came up with?

Both: Yes. The first and only slogan!
 

Can you describe the problem more?

Both: The problem is the whole industry… and for many years. Now the situation deteriorated because the schooling model changed from half-day to full day. So tutorial centres had to cut into half and welcome everyone in the evening. That’s why tutorial fees raised even more! As the same time, teacher quality is hard to deliver, rental fees are expensive… At the end of the day, the kids pay a much higher fee for a lower quality of education. We provide a new solution for an old problem!
 

What is your dream objective?

Both: That all primary school students have this app!
 

Are you the only 2 Co-Founders?

Both: We are actually 4 Co-Founders. We are the business guys and the other 2 are programmers: Vincent & Alexander. How do you say this name in French?

Me: Alexandre!

Both: “Alexandon”? “Alessane Dong”? It’s difficult!

Me: Alexandre!

Both: “Alexandllllle”? “Alexandeuul”?

[Dear reader, French is hard!]
 

You’ve been friends for a long time now… but do you want to kill each other sometimes because of MyDrCoach?

Both: Always!

Dean: But I’m the one who’s gonna get killed because I’m lazy.

Robin: He’s so lazy you know! We give him some work to do… he’s always gonna be late! For 2 week at least! But he’s still alive…

Dean: He’s too good!
 

What’s your best memory together?

Dean: Make fun of girls!

Robin: Yeah that’s the first point! And also, we do all our projects together... actually everything we do is together… We have 28 WhatsApp groups in common! We are like a gay couple!!
 

What path did your university friends choose?

Both: Most of them went to insurance companies or banks...
 

Do you regret starting your own business?

Both: NO! Never, not now, not in the future and we’ll never go back. We learned so many things in these 2 years!
 

What did you learn?

Robin: How to communicate with strangers, really...

Dean: How to talk to people, to sell things to people...

Robin: How to convince people, how to cooperate with others, how to organize our work...

Dean: Nah, that’s not interesting… let me think. We learned to try. We stopped just making assumptions and predictions. They are sometimes wrong and useless unless you try something.
 

Do you apply this in your personal life?

Dean: Everyday, because I have a child. Cause I have no idea how to raise a child! So I have to try, I need to learn how to communicate with my son, I need to learn what’s the best way for him to understand the world.
 

Your best memory in your entrepreneurial journey?

Robin: Last month, my first business trip, to Taiwan!

Dean: I guess it’s getting into Science Park after winning the TIF competition. Everything looked like a dream, and we could start developing our dream!

Robin: We never believed we could win, we just gave it a try!

Dean: If you have an idea, you need to try. If you don’t try, you’ll never know!

Robin: Execution is more important than the idea.
 

Your worst memory?

Robin: My first business trip haha!

Dean: We didn’t know how to find customers in the very beginning, after we launched (the app, 2 months ago).

Robin: Before we met you guys, SoInSoGood, we didn’t know how to find our first customers...

Dean: We didn’t know how to find customers with no budget...
 

What did you learn from that?

Robin: Connections are important...

Dean: You need to make friends, from different area!
 

Have you ever thought about giving up?

Silence…

Both: No. We are very optimistic, we never thought that MyDrCoach could fail: the market is here, the potential is here… we got some difficult times but the feedback is good and we always think about new features for the app.
 

Imagine I am a fresh graduate from PolyU. I have the opportunity to join a big corporation but hesitate as I have a good business idea… What would you say to me?

Both: Can you still go back to the big company later? Even if you fail, you can still get back to this company… you will not miss anything and will have gained more experience.

Dean: Because it’s a game and there’s nothing to lose.

Robin: If you join the company, you’ll stay in your comfort zone. It’s hard to come back to society and launch your own business later.

Dean: So you can stop working at SoInSoGood and launch your own company haha!
 

If you could change one policy, what would you do?

Robin: Cut the TSA [examination for Primary 3 and 6 students to test the quality of school].

Dean: This is too simple. I would say cancel all the exams.

Both: Every student should be assessed by projects and be working like in a mini start-up. They should focus on how to solve problems in a new way.

[They got really inspired by Rainbow School, whose students have to think about a start-up project every year from 6 to 12 years old].
 

In the long run, are you going to advocate this with MyDrCoach?

Both: Maybe, but we don’t have the power and the influence.
 

Imagine, in 10 years from now, MyDrCoach has expanded worldwide and SoInSoGood’s blog has more daily visits than Facebook. Can you say something that will always be true for MyDrCoach in 10 years?

Everything we just said!
 

How do you see MyDrCoach in the next 10 years?

Both: We will try to expand overseas in China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia… start our secondary school thing will new solutions.
 

You’ll probably hire someone too! What will you look for in that person?

Both: He needs to be gay haha!

Mhh… If we hire someone, it will be someone eager to learn new things, who’s willing to challenge us, who shows his/her opinion and proactively finds solutions.
 

Anything else you would like to add?

Both: Thank you SoInSoGood! SoInSoGood so goooood! SoInSoGood best!

Let’s have a photo now?

As you understood, MyDrCoach is part of our acceleration program, like 5 other social-tech start-ups. We help them accelerate their business in Hong Kong and abroad.

Is there any question you would like to ask to Dean and Robin? Reach out! :) If not, subscribe to our newsletter, like our Facebook page and stay tuned for the next interviews!

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