Catherine Tan is Co-Founder and CEO of Notey, an Internet startup that was founded in Hong Kong in 2014 that brings together the very best blogs on the Internet in one platform. Before starting Notey with husband Kevin Lepsoe, Catherine worked as an investment banker for Barclays and Morgan Stanley for several years whilst starting up Arch Community Outreach in 2013, a charity organistion for students and young adults.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in HK?
I’m born and raised in Hong Kong. I went to university in the UK and after working in London for a year, I moved back in 2004 here to HK to start my professional career.
What are you up to at the moment?
What we’re doing at Notey is super exciting, so I pretty much spend every waking moment working on it.
What’s a typical working day like for you?
I live and breath Notey. We’re based out of Blueprint (a Swire-backed tech co-working space) at Tai Koo Place and I live at Tai Koo Place Service Apartments literally a 5 mins door to door trip. It’s pretty sad that I rarely leave Quarry Bay on weekdays unless it’s mission critical or I just need a breather, but on the plus side, there’s lots of good food out here!
My typical day starts with a large cappuccino and a standup team meeting where we share what we’ve accomplished the day before and our goals for the day ahead. We’re growing so we have a ton going on and with priorities shifting almost every day we need to stay in sync. When I’m not working with one of the team members, I’m probably using a project management tool called Trello to stay organized!
Today for example, I have a few things in my calendar – from drawing out a new feature, to an interview in the early evening followed by a conference call tonight with a celebrity publicist in New York. No two days are ever the same.
Describe Notey in 2-3 sentences, and where you want to take it?
Notey is the destination for the world’s top independent publishers and bloggers. With millions of blogs out there, how do you find the good ones? Our team and community help curate the best stories everyday.
Why did you decide to start Notey and leave banking?
The opportunity! A few years back, I was browsing around for Travel Blogs for inspiration. I realised how difficult it was not only to search for and Google Blogs, but how hard it was to find the quality of content I was seeking. The results were inaccurate and the whole experience was ugly and uninspiring. Then I thought, if I had this problem, there must probably millions of other people who were also struggling – and this is where it started.
After some initial research, I discovered indeed this was the case. People found it painstakingly hard to find quality blogs that served as both instructional and inspirational spaces; places where people would go to start planning vacations, access product reviews, begin DIY projects, get tips on Parenting, or guide them through a similar emotional experience. There’s so much great content in the blogosphere but it’s just so hard to navigate!
There’s Spotify for music and Pinterest for images … An opportunity to build THE platform for the blogosphere.. I jumped on it right away and am happy I went all in.
What are the high and low points you have gone through with Notey?
Startup life is invigorating and demanding. The struggles we go through with Notey is similar to building any company from zero. Creating a product. Growing customers. Hiring people. Pitching investors and future clients.
But the high points are wayyyyyyy up there. There’s no better satisfaction than knowing you’ve built a platform from scratch and it’s now being used internationally by millions.Most important qualities to have to start and sustain a start up
Hard work, creativity and resiliency. More importantly, having an amazing family and friends network. I am incredibly blessed to have such a strong support system around me.
Describe a typical weekend
I try hard to fit in a hike or a longer workout once a week. As I said earlier, I don’t get out much so I force myself see “green” on the weekends to keep me in check. Gaining perspective outside the four walls is essential.
Your favourite things to do for fun
I love hiking and skiing but above all, nothing beats spending quality time with friends and family.