News and Events

Three Business School Alumni Named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020 List

With Forbes publishing the list of 30 Under 30 Asia 2020, it was a great honour to have three of CUHK Business School’s International Business and Chinese Enterprise (IBCE) alumni named in the list. Winnie Lee (Class of 2016), founder of Spread-It, in the category of Media, Marketing and Advertising; Teresa Chan (Class of 2018) and Chester Szeen (Class of 2016), co-founders of Mellow, in the category Finance and Venture Capital. The alumni are selected amongst 3,500 nominations by senior industry figures, to recognise their contributions and effort on disrupting industries and tackling major global issues as young entrepreneurs, and inspire the world to stay hopeful with their ideas and unstoppable determination.

Winnie Lee, founder of Spread-It, realised the business opportunity after witnessing more and more companies are transitioning from relying on traditional marketing strategies to online marketing on social media platforms. Capitalizing on companies’ growing use of Key-Opinion-Leaders (KOLs) and micro-influencers, Spread-It runs an online platform providing matchmaking service for brands with micro-influencers for various marketing campaigns. To date, the company has worked with over 500 brands (including Microsoft, MTR, McDonald’s, H&M) and more than 10,000 micro-influencers to generate over 500,000 Instagram posts with over 10 million engagements in total.
Winnie Lee (right) and her partner sharing their start-up story during an interview with the media
The Spread-It office setup
Winnie (fourth one, second row) and her fellow “Spreadian” celebrating Christmas during the Spread-It Xmas party 2016
Aiming to promote personal finance knowledge and saving habits in children, Teresa Chan and Chester Szeen, co-founded the finance management platform, Mellow. The application is connected to a Mastercard debit card, and helps raise money awareness amongst children by recording their spending habits. The APP also offers attractive features to its users, including a wish-list tracker, pocket money missions, and is gaining popularity amongst parents as a solution to educate their children the importance of financial management. The company was also named as one of Jumpstarter’s top 12 start-ups in 2019.
Chester promoting his business model of his financial management app, Mellow, at AppWorks Accelerator 2019
Chester and Teresa (first and second, from the left) demonstrating the technical capabilities of the Mellow app at Eureka Nova & Mizuho Crowd Brain 2019 event
Teresa (second from the left) sharing her start-up experience at DBS Startup Xchange Demo Day 2019
Rana Wehbe, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Editor, said in a press release: “This year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list-makers inspire optimism in what is promising to be a tough year ahead. They are a resilient and energetic bunch who are facing challenges head-on and actively working for a future that matches their aspirations.”

Interview with the Founders of Spread-It (Winnie Lee) and Mellow (Chester Szeen)

Undergraduate Office, CUHK Business School (UG)

Winnie Lee (Class of 2016, IBCE) (Founder of Spread-It)
Chester Szeen (Class of 2016, IBCE) (Founder of Mellow)

UG: What’s your company’s story? Why did you found this company?

I founded Spread-it because I believe there are a lot of problems in the world and business is one of the most effective and efficient ways of solving different problems. Therefore, I want to be one of the persons who help to solve one of the problems in the world.

We first spotted the problem of bad personal finance habits amongst our peers in 2016, especially when they struggled to manage their income at internships during universities. After some detailed market research, we discovered that is a widespread problem in not just Hong Kong, but across Asia. These bad financial habits are formed during childhood, but when we looked at current solutions like school workshops or app games, the available solutions are not practical or habitual. Children learn best by doing and we felt the need to create a digital solution that is disruptive and accessible. We started to develop the idea of Mellow in 2017 after interviewing 200 families.

UG: What unseen business opportunities did you see that might have resulted in your making your start-up successful?

A lot of brands wanted to reach out to university students and looking for options other than mega-influencers and YouTubers, and wants to create more noise and buzzing impact on social media, therefore we tried out the idea on “Micro-influencer”.

Our greatest achievement is making a social impact on our future generations with Mellow. Mellow addresses the population’s need for financial literacy and good money management, and promotes financial education by building children’s correct money habits. With a practical approach using the kid debit card linked to the app, Mellow allows kids to constantly track and improve their budgeting, saving, spending, and earning habits with analytics and guidance. Parents save a lot of time and headache from manually tracking their children’s expenses, and they love the kid-driven learning approach – giving some autonomy to children to learn from money mistakes early in a safe and guided environment.

UG: How do you manage the distribution of your product/service to the right audience?

We analyse their profiles and segment them in different identities and groups, so that we can have a better targeting on the audience who would receive the information.

Distribution is done mainly through social media marketing, finding parent brand ambassadors, and B2B2C channels. We found great synergy with educational institutions, kid member clubs, and retail stores, as Mellow fits their direction and we have the same target audience.

UG: What are your views on customer experience? What will be the customer experience of your business?

To clients – how we can deliver the posts and campaign to the right audience from the right spreadian. To Spreadians – how we can help them to communicate well with clients and help them to have a good quality of content created.

User experience is the foremost important thing on Mellow. At the same time, we have to focus on two different types of users – the parent and the child. It is not an easy job to fit both types of users, but we still try to focus on the experience areas of education value, ease to use, fun visuals, and meaningful interaction between kid and parents.

UG: We were very glad to have Winnie and Chester share with us their entrepreneurship journey, business insights, and the positive impact they have created on different communities.


Why Join Us