High-flyer quits job to create app for seasonal workers

Tran Tung quit his job with a monthly salary of thousands US dollars to start up an application to provide seasonal staff for businesses.

High-flyer quits job to create app for seasonal workers
Tran Tung (standing), founder of Vkon, during a meeting with staff in HCM City. — Photo courtesy of Tran Tung

The 29-year-old from HCM City said he had bet all his savings on his dream to develop the app.

The idea for app, named Vkon, came to him about a year ago when he was trying to find seasonal workers for one of his projects as a film producer.

“Every time I needed to find seasonal workers to help me complete a job, it was very difficult because online information was confusing. I could not find the exact price I would have to pay or information regarding the people I was trying to hire,” he said.

At that time, there was no platform or application to search for seasonal workers, Tung said.

Tung also recognised there was a huge demand from people seeking part-time jobs to fill their spare time all around him, but most were opting to work for e-hailing firms because they did not know where to find other jobs.

“They were the two main reasons I decided to create the application,” he added.

The application’s mission was to connect seasonal workers with customers, he said.

Vkon application

Still in its first stage of development, www.vkon.vn/#/ already advertises over 40 categories of jobs in HCM City.

The app now provides lists of photographer, make-up artists, cleaners, domestic helpers, yoga instructors, MCs, models, wedding planners and web designers with a brief profile and price.

More job categories would be added depending on the demand, he said.

The principle behind the app is similar to current e-hailing applications. Seasonal workers can sign up to become a partner of Vkon, and then customers can select them just like booking a vehicle.

The app now has more than 100 verified partners.

Vkon had created a large ecosystem like an e-shopping app, but worked similar to an e-hailing or dating application. It meant it was both convenient and simple, Tung said.

Duc Huy, a photographer and app partner, said he had been a freelance photographer for five years.

“I often earn a lot at the end of each year, but the rest of the time business is quiet,” Huy said.

Since he became a partner of Vkon, that had changed, Huy said.

Dare to fail

Tung failed his first university entrance exam, but he did not give up. While he was waiting to sit the exam again, he found some part-time work.

After passing the exam the second time round, he studied public relations at Van Lang University.

After graduating, Tung worked as a project coordinator for CHANGE - a non-governmental organisation working in the environmental sector, and became communications director for the organisation two years later.

 

During that time, he also worked as a freelance consultant in the field of marketing.

Two years ago, he started a business producing advertising videos. He was both producer and director of the company, but still worked for CHANGE.

Difficulties finding seasonal workers for advertising videos made me want to do something, he said.

“I wanted to take advantage of technology to better serve people,” he said.

A year ago, he discussed his idea for the app with a friend who worked in the technology sector, and that was it.

He quit his job at CHANGE late last year to focus on the app, even though he was always scared of failure.

“But I have no regrets because I always learn from my mistakes,” he said.

Challenges and future plans

One of the biggest challenges was finding the money to run marketing activities to promote and operate the app.

Tung said he had used his savings to invest VND500 million (US$21,340) in the application.

“But the money is just a drop in the ocean,” Tung said.

Tung said he was looking for investment from both individuals and venture capital funds to develop the app.

The investment for the first round of funding was estimated at $500,000, he added.

He also plans to participate in start-up acceleration programmes to search for advice and support for his app.

The app will be improved day-by-day based on customers’ feedback, he said.

Currently, he is focusing on realistic targets, starting with HCM City. If things fo well he will expand to Hanoi and other big cities across the country.

Tung has set a goal of the app reaching 1 million users in the next 2-3 years.

“My dream is to expand the platform throughout the region and even the world,” he said. VNS

Nguyen Hang

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