IFAB Disruptors: Syncio
Third times a charm, is certainly how things have worked out for Jimmy Zhong. A Melbourne entrepreneur and founder of Syncio, an amazing retail tech startup making inventory easy-as for retailers. We asked Jimmy how he got started, what’s trending in tech, where he seeks inspiration, go-to resource platforms and who he looks up to.
I'm Jimmy, founder of Syncio, an ecommerce platform that syncs inventory for online stores. Since launching in December 2017, Syncio is now used by over a thousand retailers including brands such as Kookai and Volcom.
I could not dream of how this came to be - I studied to be a psychologist, ended up a management consultant, and after founding three startups, my 'closet entrepreneur' tendencies have more than come out!
What was the catalyst for starting your adventure or business in fashion?
Syncio was born out of solving a problem for my first startup Akagu, which was a dutch auction marketplace for fashion labels. Working with multiple brands, we got tired of manually uploading inventory from a spreadsheet that became outdated the moment it was up, often resulting in overselling and irate customers.
We decided to automate this process and make it super simple and fast to connect and sync inventory from our brands onto our platform. When we pivoted to Ethi, an ethical fashion marketplace, we took Syncio with us to grow our brand and product catalogue. The brands loved using Syncio so much that they were the ones that pushed us to launch Syncio publicly so that they could use it to sync with other stores.
What technology do you see making the most noise in the next 2 years?
AI/Machine learning will really blow our minds in the next 2 years. Combine that with anything sensory-related like voice/AR/VR and we're getting into sci-fi territory...
Where do you look for inspiration in such a hyper-connected world?
I get huge inspiration from my family, who came from Vietnam as refugees. I am in such a privileged position, being able to pursue my dreams freely and it's all because of the hardship and adversity that they were able to overcome.
This year I was lucky enough to be accepted into the MAP18 cohort and working next to entrepreneurs and seeing everyone work towards their goals amidst never-ending challenges is super, super inspiring.
What would your version of a seamless online to offline (vice versa) fashion experience be for you?
Targeted discovery process, seamless checkout, fast delivery or pickup point.
List 3 of your go-to resources for keeping up to date with industry news and trends?
I get my startup news from a local curated newsletter called Startup Soda.
I curate my retail/ecommerce news through Feedly, and
Trade winds from Slack channels/FB groups and other similar communities.
In a few sentences, name three people or businesses you admire and why?
Yvon Chouinard - Founder of Patagonia. Love the values and ethos that he has instilled into his business and personal life. He is an exemplary example of how to grow and run a business but also how you can still live an enriched life outside of building a global brand.
Elon Musk - probably covered ad nauseum. He dares you to dream big not just for yourself but for the entire human race, and challenges what is possible for a person to achieve.
Ruby Wang - founder of Nudie Glow. A bit biased because she is my partner, but it also means that I've seen all of the behind the scenes work involved with building her business to be number 1 in the market. Female and from an ethnic background, the odds are stacked against her, and its incredible to see her overcome so much professionally and personally. Her story has only just begun too.