5 Founder Tips from Brian Wong

By Amanda Lewan on August 1st, 2013 / Comments

It’s 6 a.m. and you’re beat tired but have to drive home. You start your car and receive a greeting, a reward perfectly tailored for the moment.

Your coffee brand of choice, let’s say Tim Hortons, sends a gift to your mobile phone: a free coffee to help get you going at 6 a.m. This is the world that Brian Wong, 22 year old found of Kiip lives in. He wants to change advertising for the better, rewarding customers at timely moments in their life.

Brian Wong came to Detroit for the first event in the Fifty Founders series. The new co-working space Bamboo Detroit was packed with the type of energy you hear Detroit described with: passion, curiosity, and a warm Midwestern welcome for this new guest to the city.

The young tech founder shared with us what he’s learned about building his startup mobile rewards company. Brian first got involved with computers at a very early age and started his career in design for Digg.com. When he left Digg he began exploring other ideas. The idea for Kiip arrived to him on a plane while he observed people on their mobile devices.

Brian shared some great advice for Michigan business leaders and entrepreneurs below.

5 Tips from Brian Wong of Kiip  

  1. Be grateful to start your biz in America. A humble reminder to all of us in the U.S. One of the first things Brian said was that “we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to build in America. It’s an insult to our founding fathers not to do something great.”
  2. Young people can change the world. Brian said he didn’t regret having an out of the ordinary life that led him to found Kiip in the summer of 2010. He has since then raised $15.4 million in funding from prominent investors including True Ventures.  He told ten year old Asia, Kidpreneur in residence at Bamboo Detroit, to live your life how you want to and not the childhood everyone expects you to lead.
  3. Don’t celebrate investments. We live in a culture where investment news is blasted across tech media outlets. Brian warned against praising investments in a company. “Focuses on building your company, not raising money. Build a product that creates economic value,” said Brian.
  4. Give employees freedom. Brian believes that you need to give employees freedom to shine in your company. As a founder you don’t boss people around. Instead, Brian said you should give them the resources and independence employees need to grow. This benefits the company greatly.
  5. Always think on a macro level. When the founder or leaders of the company aren’t thinking Macro, they begin to the hurt the company. Brian warned against this and told entrepreneurs to focus on the bigger picture all the time.

Michipreneur will announce and cover the next event. Subscribe or follow us for more info on the next Fifty Founders event.

If you were at the event, please thank Brian Wong for flying in to share his wisdom with Detroit entrepreneurs. We’d also like to send a huge thank you to our sponsors Core Detroit, along with Detroit Venture Partners and Bizdom.

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Chief Storyteller at Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.