A locally created website is providing extensive marketing resources for small business
Tung Anh Doan has a grin plastered to his face throughout our entire interview. Perhaps that’s his default. Perhaps he’s constantly smiling while he wiles away the days in Hatch Nest’s 14th floor office, from his windowside table that overlooks a landscape of Hanoi’s red and green rooftops. I sensed something else, though. I sensed that Tung is genuinely thrilled to be telling his story, the story of Vimp.
The second I tell Tung and his colleague, Ngoc Vu, that I’m a marketer by day, Tung’s smile broadens. “Then you must understand our product,” he exclaims. “What we do, we do for marketers.”
Vimp is a marketing tool for small businesses and online marketers. It’s a place to find content, such as images, videos, articles, and infographics, and to publish this content efficiently and systematically across social media platforms. Vimp also provides marketers with statistics reflecting the “viral potential” for each piece of content, replacing guesswork and superfluous time consumption with easy-to-read numbers and answers.
“In Vietnam there are 600,000 small businesses, many of which are based from home and have no employees,” Tung estimates. “With less resources, they face many difficulties in marketing.” With Vimp, Tung and his team strive to make marketing easier (not to mention cheaper) for these businesses.
Since Vimp’s launch earlier this summer, it has acquired over 400 customers in the United States and Vietnam, and has continued to expand and organise its online content pool. Currently, Vimp hosts over one million pieces of content. “The content we host isn’t limited to business topics,” Ngoc clarifies. “We have everything from investing to entertainment to lifestyle categories, all to make the content marketer’s job easier.”
As far as startups go, Vimp’s launch happened at an astonishingly fast speed. Tung quit his IT job earlier this year with the hopes of joining the startup world as a founder (he’d had experience with startups in the past). A couple of months later, with some help from the folks at startup incubator Hatch and the gradual additions of team members, Vimp was born.
Vimp’s team is small but strong. “I started out as a solo man,” Tung says. “I’ve been adding people along the way to take the journey further.”
Tung outlines his team for me: “Ngoc Vu, the Storyteller; Phong Nguyen, the Coding Geek, a 22-year-old young talent; Anh Do, the Man Who Makes Everything Beautiful; and Aaron Everhart, our Mentor.” Both Ngoc and Everhart joined Vimp via Hatch, a company that Everhart co-founded.
What’s next for Vimp? Global domination may take a few years, but they do plan to tackle both the US and Vietnam in 2016.
In Vietnam, Ngoc explains, Vimp focuses on small home businesses, many who use Facebook as a marketplace to promote or even sell their products. “Facebook is, in general, a popular place for content marketing,” she says. “We’re focusing on these Vietnamese home businesses here because Facebook already plays such a central role.”
Tung sings the praises of Vietnam’s startup community, a sentiment not often heard in these parts. “We’ve learnt a lot and been inspired by Hatch and other success stories, and Vietnam has lots of ‘pros’ when it comes to start-up culture,” he tells me. “Vietnam is a developing country with fast growth of internet and mobile, and its low-cost resources mean there are a lot of opportunities to start a company.”
Social media might seem simple, but as a marketer it can eat up a great deal of time. With Vimp, Tung hopes to save small businesses the time that would otherwise be spent tweeting, Facebooking, and Instagramming away the day. These small businesses are Vimp’s driving force, Tung explains, with a smile. “We just want to make their lives easier.” — Noey Neumark