In light of winning the People’s Choice Award at the ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards, we a little trip down memory lane leading up to the award since our official launch.
So let us share our story!
First and foremost, just so you know, the name Kalpha is the abbreviation of “Knowledge” and “Alpha”. So what does it mean..?
Well, learning is more than simply obtaining knowledge, it should be an organic and experiential process – at least that’s the philosophy shared amongst each and every member in Kalpha. By bouncing ideas off learned individuals, one can resolve personal issues, be inspired and motivated, and garner different perspectives and insights to make better life decisions. Hence, the objective of Kalpha is to ensure users obtain more than just knowledge, but life experiences as well by meeting and talking to people.
Now, let’s take a few steps back to the genesis of Kalpha.
The inspiration for Kalpha manifested from a misfortune a couple of years ago, a story which we’ll leave for another time. (Or if you are really interested, do read some of our online articles.)
Armed with an idea on paper to enable personalized learning, we started our journey in February 2018. All we did everyday was to enthusiastically chat up anyone on Kalpha – the revolutionary in-person and 1-on-1 meetup platform for learning. We literally TALKED to anyone that could potentially help us, and this process went on for approximately 4 months.
Honestly, the response we received for the viability of Kalpha was 50:50. Some thought that the idea was novel and exciting, whilst a good handful were skeptical as it might pose a danger to users (similar to dating sites).
Rejected but not dejected, we pulled the trigger to go ahead with the idea.
June 2018 – We incorporated the company and started our development process of our mobile application. New partnerships were established, bank accounts were registered, and accountants were nominated. A new tech startup was born – Kalpha was finally legit!
However, our newfound identity was crushed as we were put to shame over the next few weeks.
We were called up by numerous Venture Capitalists (VCs) and investors to pitch Kalpha to them.
Most of them were patronizing, with some being outright nasty. We were hurled comments such as “this is the real world, you’re no longer in uni”, “please wake up, stop wasting time (on Kalpha)”, etc.
Please don’t be mistaken that all investors likened us to maggots. There were also many investors who gave us valuable advice and shared frameworks that have helped us until today.
Perhaps strangely, these meetings stirred something in us. Instead of second guessing ourselves, all the objections and criticism fueled us to endeavour on an all-or-nothing path. Furthermore, we were determined to walk to the end of the journey to ensure Kalpha’s success.
In Jan 2019, we officially launched Kalpha. Our first iteration of Kalpha was buggy and the UI looked amateurish but somehow, that didn’t stop users from using Kalpha. Sharing Sessions were created almost every day and people were adopting our 1-on-1 concept to share their knowledge!
Following our successful release, we raised our first investment round in Feb 2019. After considering several offers on the table, the deal was sealed with our current investors as they had the same vision for Kalpha: To build Kalpha into a GLOBAL company! We couldn’t be more delighted and thankful to find an investor whose goals are in alignment with our founding team.
In March 2019, we got our first taste of media publicity. We were featured in Yahoo!, TechInAsia, e27, amongst many others.
Fast forward to Oct 2019, we hit another milestone – 20,000 users in Singapore.
In addition, we received our first bit of global recognition by clinching the People’s Choice award in the ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards 2019. For some perspective, there were 3160 nominations. And for us to win the award, a 10-month old mobile app startup, we aren’t too shabby yes?
Now, the question that many have constantly asked us: Are we “successful” as a company, yet?
The answer is – Not by a long shot!
Yes, winning awards are great as it serves some sort of validation to us, but we are well aware of how much more work needs to be done before we prove our point.
In my opinion, Kalpha is like a living organism where we’ll have to continuously adapt along with the passage of time. We are, afterall, an app built for the community, by the community. We always welcome and appreciate any ideas, feedback, partnerships, and opportunities that the community gives us. Our tiny, humble and diligent team are always all ears, so feel free to reach out to us!
What’s next for Kalpha? Our journey continues.. Stay tuned!”
Director of People