Djoann Fal — Bridging the Tech Talent Gap in Asia (Interview by The Human Asia)
DJOANN FAL IS THE CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF GETLINKS, AN ONLINE JOB PLATFORM BASED IN ASIA THAT AIMS TO CREATE THE NEXT SILICON VALLEY-LIKE TECH COMMUNITY IN THE REGION.
Human Asia was honored to be given the opportunity to talk to Djoann about his business.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF GETLINKS?
Djoann: Our goal is to redefine the future of work, by creating an adaptive work community. We aim to create a online adaptive talent platform that will simultaneously upskill employees, whilst providing them an open opportunity work with tech companies across Asia.
OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE ALREADY ESTABLISHED PLAYERS LIKE LINKEDIN. WHAT DISTINGUISHES GETLINKS FROM THEM?
Djoann: GetLinks was formed to solve a problem much greater than ourselves; that is to solve the ever-growing digital talent gap modern employees are facing. Due to rapidly advancing technologies and automation, 47% of jobs in the US are at risk of being replaced. It is estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today, will ultimately end up working in a job that doesn’t even exist yet. Yet every year, more and more graduates fail to find jobs. Any platform or organization that exists, to put the power back into the hands of the job seeker, whether through job matching or training will help close this talent gap, which is ultimately in line with what we want to achieve.
What I think sets us apart, is that our focus on tech talents. I once said that with one developer, designer, and digital marketer, we can change the world; and I really do believe this. We also operate with a hyper localized focus, with deep understanding of the diverse Asian landscape.
TRADITIONAL HEADHUNTERS USUALLY EARN HEFTY COMMISSIONS. WHAT IS THE BUSINESS MODEL OF GETLINKS?
Djoann: We are candidate-centric platform,everything we do and all our user experience is designed to give sense control and freedom to our candidates users. It’s free-of-charge for all candidates and every talent gets a dedicated talent coach for free advice. For companies, we are a SaaS (Software as a service), providing 2 pricing models: Yearly subscriptions for unlimited hiring and a pay-per-hire model; which is cheaper than any headhunter service at 10% of the hired candidate’s Gross Annual Salary. All our tech talents have been curated by our AI powered semantic algorithm, qualified and active, hence we have every confidence in the candidates we match with companies.
WHY BASE YOURSELF IN SOUTHEAST ASIA ?
Djoann: I moved to Asia by chance, to intern for Ernst & Young in Shanghai. It was there I decided to stay, shifting to Lazada in Bangkok. It was there I met my co-founder Pop Songthamjitti, and as you say the rest is history. We shared the same vision of building a startup community like in Silicon Valley right here in Asia, so we started a monthly startup networking event. Building the next Silicon Valley in Asia will be only possible by bridging the gap of tech talents supply. By providing local tech talent a platform, specifically for their needs, GetLinks aims to connect candidates with the most innovative companies not only in Thailand, but across major tech hubs across the region.
WHAT IS YOUR PRIORITY IN THE SHORT TERM?
Djoann: Our priority at the moment is scaling up in existing markets, in terms of acquiring candidates.
DJOANN, PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOURSELF.
Djoann: I grew up in Hyeres, a town by the French Riveria. I’ve always been fascinated by the future and megacities, and was always a massive geek. I did my Masters at ESCP Europe, and it was during that time I became founding member of La Paillaise; which has become Europe’s largest bio-hacking and open-science space.
WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE GAINED FROM STARTING GETLINKS?
Djoann: I founded GetLinks when I was 24 years old, with no prior knowledge on how to start a business, let alone run it. So very early on, I ran into serious financial trouble, after facing a 6-month delay from investors. I was broke, behind on rent, and it looked like it was the end for GetLinks. Luckily, soon after I met an angel investor, who became an Advisor to the Company. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had the guidance and support of mentors from across the globe.
WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR AT AT AN EARLY AGE AS OPPOSED TO GAINING EXPERIENCE IN CORPORATIONS?
Djoann: I didn’t aim to be an entrepreneur. I have seen people died without leaving that much legacy behind them. This make you ask yourself what are you here for. For me, after working at Rocket Internet, choosing to do my own thing was just a simple time x impact formula thinking : how, where and with who can i make the most impact and make myself somehow useful to the world. I don’t think there is a right answer for that, nor a static answer. Anyone will find their own answer at one point of time and this is something that can perpetually evolve as people’s lives evolve.
WHAT IS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE LIKE?
Djoann: I am blessed to have co-founders with varying leadership styles, so we keep each other in check. I consider myself a visionary, highly-inquisitive and the one with big ideas and hopes for the future. Popp, our CMO, is extremely methodical and numbers-driven. Ae, our CTO, is practical and instills trust in his team. Finally, Keenan, our CFO is the strategic leader, with extensive experience and sage advice.
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS?
Djoann: Don’t leave things to fate. Create and catalyze “serendipity”. There is no luck — only serendipity and grit. Take ownership, and make your crazy dreams come true.
Visit GetLinks at https://getlinks.co/