Interview with Time Auction, volunteer-and-meet-VIP's Platform

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1. Tell us about Time Auction. How did you come up with this idea?  

Time Auction is a platform that connects you with inspiring people while encouraging volunteerism. You can meet entrepreneurs and CEOs by volunteering 10 hours to any charity.

We have always been interested in startups and social enterprises, and thought it’d be eye-opening to chat with the makers of our favourite companies, such as 9GAG and 6waves. So we created a platform that gives anyone an opportunity to meet successful mentors at no cost, and in the spirit of giving back, users are required to volunteer in any charity so all parties will benefit from the meeting.

2. Tell us about your current campaigns.

Mentors now open for application include GoGoVan Founder Steven Lam, Taipan Bread & Cakes Chief Officer Garic Kwok, NDN Group CEO Andy Ann and more. If you’re up for something fun, you can join Bloomberg TV Anchor Angie Lau for a studio tour, cook a vegan meal with Cookbook Author Cathy Lee, or walk dogs with Hong Kong Dog Rescue Founder Sally Andersen!

Application opens til 6 Nov 2015. Join us by volunteering 10 hours to any charity by end of the year.

3. How do you get the "founders" like Guy Bradley, Chief Executive of Swire involved? What does a a meeting with him and others involve?

Be sincere, hustle and through trial and error! For Mr. Guy Bradley, we reached out through guessing his email and then cold messaging him. Our experience tells us the key is to be sincere, which means doing our homework and knowing their stories well, as well as conveying to them what we strive to achieve.

The meetings are usually lunch with a fun activity, where volunteers get to learn more about the mentor’s working environment. For example, you can have lunch and walk dogs with Sally Andersen (Founder of Hong Kong Dog Rescue), or join a running session and lunch with Francis Ngai (Founder of Social Ventures Hong Kong).

4. What types of volunteering opportunities are available?

Any volunteer work at any registered charity counts! If you don’t know where to start, our charity partner HandsOn offers over 20 volunteer opportunities per week that you can easily sign up for.

5. Tell us about your personal background.

Time Auction Founders-2Fion Leung graduated from HKUST,  started her career in banking while maintaining an active interest in the field of education, art and entrepreneurship. As an environmental advocate, she is involved in the Environmental Committee and the Women’s Initiative Network at her firm. She now works at Notey by day and Time Auction by night.

Suetyi Wong graduated from University of Southern California with a degree in Finance and had spent the last 4 years of her career at a leading financial technology company in business development. She has recently taken the plunge to join the startup world in a company called PlayStudios Asia and as an aspiring entrepreneur, she co-founded Time Auction to connect like-minded students with inspiring mentors.

6. What's the best startup advice that you got?

Aaron Lee, former Groupon HK Director and now Co-founder of DASH Serviced Suites, was our first Time Auction mentor. His advice “Always think ‘yes because..’, instead of ‘no because..’” have always stuck with us, because having this mentality has opened us to many new opportunities!

7. What do you think of the HK Startup Ecosystem?

Having been the beneficiaries as a member of the ecosystem - winning the First Runner Up in CoCoon’s Pitch Night Finals in 2014, a happy tenant (Fion works in Notey) at Blueprint, it is an exciting time to be in startups in Hong Kong.

People say Silicon Valley is a mentality where the older generation generously mentors the new. From the generous mentors we’ve met through Time Auction, we can definitely say there is this kind of mentality here too!

8. What are your favorite HK Startups?

Fion: My favorite would be Notey, where I discover all kinds of cool stories! I love the product so much that I joined the team last year. Another exciting one is Fifth Journey, a mobile gaming company that develops Hollywood games, like The Expendables!

SY: I have recently joined Playstudios Asia which is a mobile gaming startup in Hong Kong and so obviously it's my favourite! One key unique feature of our game is our reward platform that connects your online game experience to real-life rewards which I thought was really cool!