Interview with Raymond Yap, founder of TheMessageBottle, a range of stainless steel eco-bottles to help support good causes.
Tell us about TheMessageBottle
The MessageBottle is a line of sleek, vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottles promoting charitable or humanitarian causes. Proceeds from each bottle will be used to fund various targeted goals of the UN’s 2015 “17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.”
The first production run features a Green Climate Action Bottle and funds raised from the first stage of the campaign will go directly towards The HeroesToo Foundation’s EcoPledge Program which aims to engage youth, companies and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint and embark on a sustainable lifestyle, as well as share their pledge with others, to encourage more people to make the change towards a more sustainable and zero waste world.
We have also teamed up with Masarang, and you now have the choice of donating your money to either the EcoPledge program or Masarang’s projects in Indonesia, when purchasing the MessageBottle. The Masarang Foundation protects endangered Asian species, promotes reforestation and empowers local communities and any funds received from the campaign will be used to support their reforestation initiatives in Indonesia.
What’s your personal background?
I’ve spent 30 years in business, primarily heading up the European operations for a major electronics manufacturing company. In the late 1980s, I opted for early retirement, emigrating to Vancouver in 1991 to enjoy life and spend more time with my family. In 2003, I was diagnosed with Melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, and subsequently underwent life-saving surgery. This proved to be a cathartic experience, leading from concern for my family – particularly my young grandchildren – to a realization that the best way to safeguard their future was to protect the environment. Eager to create lasting change, I came out of retirement and applied my business acumen and experience to founding The HeroesToo Foundation.
Why did you choose Indiegogo as your crowd funding platform vs. other platforms?
We chose IndieGogo because it has more cause-related campaigns, also it has a higher ratio of female supporters compared to say Kickstarter.
How are you promoting the campaign?
Via our personal network, through media friends who can help spread the message and sharing about the campaign with everyone we know!
How did you make your video?
We made the video with the support of our team and friends as well as the video production expertise of Michael from Headwind Group, our manufacturer.
Tell us about the manufacturing process?
The product is made from double wall stainless steel with a inner lining copper coating which aids in keeping liquid hot or cold longer. The manufacturer is also a supplier major brand names.
What’s surprised you most about your crowdfunding campaign so far?
More planning and more planning: so, more time for pre-launch activities in social media engagement and a large enough team to share the work load.
What’s the best startup advice you’ve received?
Build a team of like minded individuals who share similar values
What do you think of Hong Kong’s Startup Ecosystem?
From the little contact and connection I have with the start up scene: lots of room for improvement, seem they ecosystem’s interests are very narrow in interest.