Initial Startups: Behind the Scenes #1 – Collectibly

Want to show your collectibles? Where there might be someone who has the interest as you?

Go to Collectibly where you can easily catalog your collections and connect with other collectors!


A Brief Introduction: A place where collectors around the world can come together to connect over their interests and expand their collections.

We spoke to the Co-Founder, Mr Zack Yap and the Pioneer Employee, Mr Cheong Weiming (Intern).


The Team at Collectibly!

Interview Dialogue with Co-Founder – Mr Zack Yap

1) Understand that you have hired interns instead of permanent staff, why is this so? Is it because you faced challenges in hiring permanent placements? If so, please elaborate.

We hired interns instead of perm staff as it was internship period when we wanted to start hiring. We missed NUS’s job fair and most local programmers are snatched up. Most of our job applicants are foreigners and it’s hard to determine the quality of foreign workers without having worked with them prior. We have tried to arrange projects to be done by these applicants to check for work quality but even that is hard to manage.

2) What were your initial plans for these interns when they first joined you? How is the execution different from your initial plans, and in what ways?

Our initial plans were for the interns to be mainly doing executional stuff after roughly a month of training. At Collectibly, interns don’t get to sit around and wonder about life. They won’t have time to do that. From the first day, we start with very hands on training and they get to contribute right away. In the end, our plans for the interns were quite well executed. We were lucky to have hired a bunch of driven interns and they quickly became part of the team, contributing to the growth of the site. 2 of them were working on content / marketing strategy and 2 worked on the site development. They got up to speed within a month and were invaluable as they helped speed up our execution many folds.

3) Please share with us on your views about what the interns have learned and picked up from Collectibly?

For the marketing interns, they picked up real world skills that required them to research, write, promote and engage with real people, users and customers. For the programming interns, neither came into the company knowing Ruby on Rails but left the company fully able to contribute features to the product and even start their own projects.

4) What will you advise to the interns if they have plans to choose a startup in their next internship?

I would advise them to choose Collectibly. But seriously, find a place where you know you’ll be allowed to participate and contribute a lot to. The only way to truly learn skills is to do stuff, so always opt for places where you can do more. The more you do, the more you contribute to a project or company, the more you learn.


And next, we move on to the side of the story by one of the Pioneer Employees,

Mr Cheong Weiming, an Intern at Collectibly.

1) What makes you join a Startup as Intern when there are plenty of Corporate Companies for you to choose?

I wanted to take the opportunity during an internship to gain as many new experiences as possible. As it is not a permanent job, there isn’t the stress of long-term commitment or financial sustainability to worry about.

It is thus a perfect opportunity to try what working in a startup environment is like, something I may not get the chance to do once I graduate.

2) How do you feel being an intern in Collectibly working along with the Founders?

There is very little hierarchy in Collectibly, so the founders are like friends to us in addition to being our bosses. I feel that this allows for better cohesion in the workplace, and as an intern I feel more comfortable with sharing my ideas and opinions. At the same time, the founders are very willing to listen to our feedback and opinions because they are a new company and are therefore very welcoming towards any form of input.

3) Has your role differ from when you first join? If yes, please elaborate. 

My role at the beginning of the internship was to help a bit with the building of the product. Because we were building a database of items, I was involved in sourcing for and adding items to the database. Later on in the internship, I was involved in marketing efforts to promote the website to potential users. This involved seeking out and connecting with other collectors, creating interesting blog content, and interviewing collectors to feature on our blog.

4) Do you think your internship with Collectibly is a fruitful and great exposure for you? If yes/no, please elaborate.  

I think it was a very fruitful experience for me. What was most eye-opening for me was the fact that 3 people could start and run a whole company all by themselves. The founders are all skilled in multiple disciplines since they have to run all the operations in-house. It is very inspiring to hear about their stories and to witness the kind of dedication they put into their work. I also learnt a lot of useful skills involved with social media traffic and got the chance to witness first-hand the entire process of getting new users on board. Usually in bigger companies, you are only exposed to a small stage of processes but because I was in a start-up, I could see how entire processes were run.

I was also involved in some planning stages and could give my input or opinions. It is very fruitul to see something that you had a part in come to life.

5) After your internship ends with Collectibly, would you after graduation, join Startups again? If yes/no, why?  

This is a very difficult question to answer. I think you need a lot of self-discipline and resourcefulness in order to work in a startup company. In addtion, there is also the risk of having no financial stability. However, if the start-up venture was something that I am passionate about, then I think I would be willing to put in that amount of dedication and take the risk. Seeing the passion which the Collectibly founders have for their collecting hobby is testament to this  – there is no stronger fuel. So I guess my answer would be that I would not enter a start-up unless it aligns with a particular interest or passion of mine.


Now, we’ve come to the end of the interview and if you want to know more about Collectibly, click on this link: More About Collectibly.

Startup Jobs Asia’s next interview will be revealed soon! Stay tuned!


Full Series of Initial Startups: Behind the Scenes #1:

CarbonStory / Crowdonomic / FlagAHero / DropMyEmailFlocations / Rewardz / Save22 / Mentorica / LoanStreet / Pinoy Auto Traders / Tripconomics / Collectibly


Read more Startup Tips here!



Article contributed by Startup Jobs Asia‘s Team.

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