Home  Contact Us
  Follow Us On:
 
Search:
Advertising Advertising Free Newsletter Free E-Newsletter
Magazine
  
      2017       2016       2015       2014       2013       2012       2011       2010       2009       2008

COVER STORY: Breathing Business. Talking entrepreneurship with Jessica Lam
Share to

Breathing Business

Talking entrepreneurship with Jessica Lam

By Mike Cormack

BT 201709 COVER STORY 01 2
      小米空气净化器、戴森空气净化器、海尔、飞利浦、夏普……在雾霾持续严重的这几年内,空气净化器和相关设备的市场也水涨船高,各类产品如雨后春笋纷纷涌向市场。在这些笨重的净化器中,有一款小巧精致又可以通过手机端控制的空气数据监测与操控净化器的产品几乎在瞬间吸引了无数用户的眼球,它就是镭豆。就在今年4月14日, Kaiterra原点生活品牌正式发布第二代新品——镭豆2和镭豆2+,这两款产品以高精准度检测家居空气质量为卖点,并支持苹果智能家居平台HomeKit技术,通过该平台可以实现将其与家里的加湿器,空气净化器等智能家电进行互联,自动开启智能家居中的空气净化电器,确保家里的空气质量达到标准。例如,当PM2.5上升时,镭豆2可以轻松控制家中与它适配的智能硬件,自动开启净化器净化空气;或者当温度降低时,它可以自动开启家中的取暖器调节室温。可谓“麻雀虽小,五脏俱全”。

      Kaiterra的前身为2014年由三位合伙人杰西卡•拉姆(Jessica Lam)、李牧(Liam)和肯 (Ken)共同创建的“原点生活”(Origins)品牌。其中唯一的女性合伙人杰西卡曾在滴露公司与PeaceGeeks任职,她说最初她来到中国时,没有想到镭豆会出现得这样快。但是一切仿佛就在一眨眼之间发生了——从2014年11月提出构想到2015年6月产品落地,整个过程只用了半年多的时间。在这个成功产品的背后,并不是如我们想象的一个大型集团,而是一个小而精的6人团队。这个人人能力超群战力极强的团队有着相同的愿景和目标——为给大家带来更为洁净的空气而努力。杰西卡介绍说,他们的团队有着较大的工作自由度和自主性,但是共同的核心价值观和目标将他们紧密联系在一起。作为创始人之一,她在生活中也充分意识到了自身健康对公司发展的重要性: “企业家应把公司建设的过程当成冲刺而非马拉松。马拉松会耗尽你的精力,而冲刺有着明确的目标,并且可以在完成后休息整顿再次开始。”

      自她加入这个优秀的团队开始,杰西卡就一直为Kaiterra品牌贡献着自己的力量。希望在Kaiterra品牌产品镭豆的帮助下,每位朋友都能享受到更洁净的空气。

BT 201709 COVER STORY 03
Jessica Lam is a co-founder of Kaiterra, one of Beijing’s most exciting foreign-founded startups, which manufactures and sells a variety of air purification products for use in the home. A Canadian with a background in accountancy (at Deloitte) and a non-profit (PeaceGeeks), she has been named in the Forbes 30 Under-30 list of the brightest young entrepreneurs while Kaiterra’s star product, the Laser Egg, has been selling like the proverbial hotcakes. Business Tianjin spoke to her about the trials and rewards of being a business founder and the necessity of diversity.


What led you from Vancouver to starting a company in Beijing? Where did the idea come from and what took it from idea to plan?

BT 201709 COVER STORY DSC 0309 english gold 1 1920x1282
The company was just born the way many companies are, out of personal need. I had decided to move to Beijing and my intentions were to stay for a long time. As a result I was really worried and concerned about how to deal with air quality.


When I landed, I wasn’t really thinking of starting a business as I had started preparing my CV and learning Chinese while researching air pollution. But within a month of landing we got the founding team together and just decided to jump in feet first to see if we could find some solutions to improving indoor air quality.


After another three months of trials and working with experts, we had built some prototypes and within six months we had launched our first product which was aimed at home air purification. Looking back, the whole process happened in a blink of an eye.
 

BT 201709 COVER STORY LaserEgg2 with UI 1 1920x1520Who are your co-founders and how did you come together? What are your divisions of responsibilities?

Kaiterra has three founders. We hail from diverse backgrounds: Liam is from Switzerland, Ken’s from China and I am from Canada. We are all extremely different but also very compatible. I think one of the major aspects of a successful partnership is that it’s much like a marriage. When values and goals are 100% aligned, then you can have a long-term partnership with longevity and success.
 

On top of that, it’s important to have diverse opinions and viewpoints that allow us to come to the best outcomes. Imagine if everyone had the same background and experiences - the ideas and solutions would be terrible.
 

Laser Egg is your best-known product – can you explain the rationale behind it and its production process?

Laser Egg is definitely our flagship product. I can still remember when we were making our first prototypes they were out of a paper cup! From concept to product design to prototyping to the product launch was a whirlwind seven months starting right from talking about it in November 2014 to the launch in June 2015. Creating it was definitely an unforgettable experience.
 

I always use the example that if you want to lose weight, you need a way to quantify the results. This is the same logic behind why we created the Laser Egg. At the time, people were really concerned about their indoor air quality but had no real idea whether their air purifiers were working.
 

PM 2.5 is invisible to the naked eye so you can’t tell how bad the air quality is just by eyeballing it in your home. With a device like Laser Egg where you can walk around the house and test all the corners and under the doors, you can truly figure out what you need to do and if anything else can be improved.
 

BT 201709 COVER STORY 02Do you know the local/expat breakdown of your customer base? Do they shop differently or have different expectations and do you market to them differently?

Expats definitely have different shopping habits. E-commerce is a large aspect of daily life for local Chinese as everyone has access to payment platforms such as WeChat and AliPay. But because most expats don't have them when they first arrive, it is a huge hassle when they don’t have access to many conveniences that e-commerce allows. That’s where we come in.
 

When we first started selling the Laser Egg, to make it easier for expats to find us, we would find local grocery stores and put our Laser Eggs by the cash register so that folks would see us and realize they could get our products at a brick and mortar store and pay cash. That made life much easier for people without mobile payments.
 

What are the current trends in home air purifiers – will they all be connected to the Internet of Things, for example?

Internet of Things is a great buzzword, but it’s a buzzword because the trends are definitely moving towards a more connected and convenient lifestyle. I grew up wanting to live in the automated high-tech world of The Jetsons so any convenience is welcome. Home automation is going to happen and I think air quality and air quality monitoring is actually one of the easier things to automate. With Laser Egg 2 and HomeKit feature, it can connect to and control all other HomeKit products as part of the smart home ecosystem. You don’t even have to think about managing your home air quality with the new Laser Egg. With this part of home automation solved, I still dream of having perfectly fried eggs every morning made by a robot but I think I’ll have to wait a bit longer for that.

hl coverCongratulations on making it to the Forbes Asia 30 Under-30 list. Do you enjoy the conferences and speechifying side of business or does it get in the way? What do you enjoy most/least about business?

I am excited to be a part of the Forbes 30 Under-30 list, especially when I can help bring air quality and pollution into focus as an issue. Given all of the political and environmental changes in 2017, education about the environment is a must and the serious issue of pollution needs to be addressed. So yes, if I can raise awareness by speaking or providing an outlet for people to access information, then I would be very happy to do so. I’m positive about the change we can make in education about air pollution and am also hopeful for our future and what we can achieve.
 

BT 201709 COVER STORY DSC 0288 english gold 1920x1282
How do you see Kaiterra evolving in future?


We recently launched the Laser Egg 2 and 2+, which are both focused more on home automation and in making life easier for people who want to maintain great air quality at home. The 2+ has the added advantage of being able to measure TVOCs, which are Total Volatile Organic Compounds. They have been proved to be extremely harmful to health and encompass gases such as formaldehyde and benzene. These are usually found in poor quality building materials, glues, paints and resins which tend to release gases over time. Given that these pollutants come from items inside the home, there is a constant struggle between indoor pollution vs. outdoor pollution such as PM 2.5. This is why the Laser Egg 2+ was created - so you could have a clearer understanding of when to open your windows and when to turn on the purifier since locking yourself indoors with the purifiers on is not always the solution.
 

BT 201709 COVER STORY 04How would you describe your team and working environment?

Being adventurous is one of our core values and that means we will try new things without hesitating. We will use scientific methods to figure out the best way to proceed. We look for challenges and pick ones that are meaningful to us. As a result our teams are like SWAT teams - smaller, focused, specialized and ready to tackle issues and drill down. So we aren’t huge like other typical Chinese startups. We don’t believe in hiring just anyone because we really focus on our core values.
 

Diversity is extremely important because, like I said before, it allows for different perspectives and opinions so we can arrive at the best outcomes. However we really don’t want diversity in our core values because I think it’s these values and goals that ensure we stay on the same page. Our motto when it comes to how we work comes from the movie The Three Idiots: “Chase excellence and success will follow”.
 

How have you adjusted to being a founder and manager?

There are so many articles about the challenges of being an entrepreneur but the one thing that I’ve really learned the hard way is, “Your company is only as healthy as you are.” I’ve learned that I have to be incredibly aware of my health and my energy to ensure that I have enough to support the team and myself. A great analogy for entrepreneurship is to think of it as small sprints and not long marathons. Marathons will burn you out but sprints will mentally and physically help you identify milestones and breaks to ensure you have time to rest and recover. And, boy, do you need to rest and recover.
 

---END---

    Subscription    |     Advertising    |     Contact Us    |
Address: Magnetic Plaza, Building A4, 6th Floor, Binshui Xi Dao.
Nankai District. 300381 TIANJIN. PR CHINA
Tel: +86 22 23917700
E-mail: webmaster@businesstianjin.com
Copyright 2017 BusinessTianjin.com. All rights reserved.