Glints helps corporates and startups build their remote tech teams outside of Hong Kong, and handles payroll, insurance and local HR matters for them so that clients can focus on finding the best minds.
“As with starting a company anywhere in the world, the most important thing is to prioritise rapid experimentation over systems to find out product-market fit as soon as possible.”
Fred Ng, Glints
Founded in 2013, Glints is a tech-enabled platform that has helped over 20,000 companies to find tech talent across Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan. We have now grown to become one of the market leaders in the Southeast Asia tech talent space with close to 1 million active candidates across the region.
We began 7 years ago with three Singapore government funded scholars dropping out from UC Berkeley, UPenn (Wharton) and Stanford simultaneously, having noticed that receiving best-in-class education doesn’t necessarily lead to best career outcomes.
The company started off by creating an internship portal to help young talent look for internships they like, and over the years slowly branched out to help match Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese talent to Hong Kong and Singapore employers, so that candidates’ career potential is not restricted by where they come from.
Glints is lucky to have partnered with some of the best Hong Kong based venture investors like Mindworks Ventures and Fresco Capital in 2019 on our Series B financing to enter Hong Kong and address human capital needs on regional scale.
We entered Hong Kong in July 2019 having observed that Hong Kong companies, especially startups, encounter difficulties in hiring quality developers, which often becomes a bottleneck to their further development. Our statistics show that it takes up to 30 developer applications to find the right engineering fit for one’s team – something that a lot of startups in Hong Kong struggle to do given the dearth of tech talent in the local ecosystem.
Our approach in Hong Kong is thus to help corporates and startups build their remote tech teams outside of Hong Kong, and handle payroll, insurance and local HR matters for them so that clients can focus on finding the best minds to join their teams.
Thanks to our tech-enabled approach to recruitment, we can now help Hong Kong employers lock down the best tech talent in less than 28 days once we learn about their needs, and hire at two to three times cheaper than hiring in Hong Kong.
Our biggest value proposition is to give Hong Kong companies access to the vast talent pool in Southeast Asia which they can now leverage to speed up product and tech development – something we know to be one of the biggest pain points to a startup in Hong Kong.
We have observed a surge in demand for remote tech talent among Hong Kong companies as they navigate the COVID-19 situation. Many come from e-commerce and Fintech companies, as online payment needs increase drastically. Over 70% of Hong Kong local companies expressed their need to explore overseas expansion and remote hiring in the current economic situation.
By helping them tap into the Southeast Asia tech talent pool, Hong Kong companies can now sustain product and tech development at a relatively lower cost in this challenging situation.
I started my entrepreneurship journey as an early stage investor with HK-based Click Ventures. The lowest point came when I first switched to an operator role with Glints with a fixed mindset on what ‘successful companies’ should do having observed startups scale from an investor angle.
In my initial month with Glints, I spent way too much time setting up systems and procedures that I knew have worked for larger companies, hoping to ‘get things right’ from the onset. What I forgot was that, as with starting a company anywhere in the world, the most important thing is to prioritise rapid experimentation over systems to find out product-market fit as soon as possible – something that I have found to be unnatural to first-time founders especially in Hong Kong.
We are lucky to have corrected course soon enough and just focused on talking to as many Hong Kong prospects as possible to find out the true pain point in the market, and within nine months quickly scaled to having more than 80 active clients working with us to find tech talent in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.
Running a startup in a developed market like Hong Kong means that the highest cost to your business is human capital. I am lucky to be building Glints in Hong Kong by working with a distributed team across Taiwan and Indonesia which allows me to scale things much faster with an extended runway.
One of the most practical piece of advice I can give to entrepreneur is to look beyond Hong Kong when you find early stage talent to support your team – you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the different perspectives and diversity of talents you can bring into your core team.
We were lucky to find a partner in InvestHK whom we have been in touch with since the very early days of setting up Glints in HK. InvestHK has been particularly helpful in connecting us to the ecosystem and letting us know what support we can obtain from the Hong Kong government as a startup.
If you are a foreign company looking to set up a business in Hong Kong, you should definitely get in touch with InvestHK as the team will be super helpful in helping you navigate the ecosystem and flag out potential pitfalls that may hinder you from operating a business here.