Ulalive: Redefining The Way We Connect At Work

In collaboration with Sunway iLabs, Disruptr will be featuring 10 startups who have made it to the Top 10 of the LaunchX 2023 programme.

Supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, LaunchX, the first University Startups Accelerator Programme in Malaysia, has recently unveiled the top ten university startups selected from its pre-accelerator phase. This equity-free, no-strings-attached 3+2-month program focuses on empowering budding entrepreneurs to achieve key milestones and take their startups to the next level.

The 8th startup is Ulalive, led by Fareez Afham and Elizaveta Leytgold who shares with Disruptr 

How did the idea behind the startup come about? Was it through personal experiences?

When Fareez, the founder, was working on previous projects, he had separate teams located in different countries. However, synchronizing with teams in other regions became a challenge for him due to differing time zones, resulting in a poor sleeping pattern for Fareez. It got much worse when Fareez, working as a commercial pilot, had to stick around with the computer when clients or teams requested virtual meetings. As a consequence, many opportunities were lost, tasks were not done, and decision-making was often delayed due to a lack of energy to join the meetings.

However, there remains a need for real face-to-face interactions. Unfortunately, there is currently no solution available that enables teams to stay synchronized while attending meetings from the comfort of their homes and at their own convenience. That 1-hour meeting could be cut down to 15–20 minutes, getting to the main points while skipping unnecessary back-and-forth scheduling and Zoom calls and waiting for no-show participants.

What problem statements are you hoping to solve in the coming year?

We are determined to tackle several problem statements:

Back-and-forth scheduling and calls: Back-and-forth scheduling is a common problem faced by individuals and teams when trying to coordinate meetings and appointments. The process often involves multiple rounds of communication when checking both sides’ availability, resulting in wasted time and frustration.

Higher sticky screen time, which affects health: Prolonged exposure to screens during video meetings can negatively impact health, leading to issues such as eye strain, fatigue, and decreased overall well-being.

Poor meeting efficiency: Traditional meetings can be time-consuming, taking up valuable work hours and impacting productivity. Employees may spend significant time preparing for meetings, attending them, and following up afterward.

Low levels of engagement and poor results: Despite investing time and effort into meetings, businesses may find themselves disappointed with the outcomes. Meetings may not generate the desired level of energy and interest from participants, leading to unproductive discussions and suboptimal results.

Why should investors look your way?

At Ulalive, we value time, and there is an urgent need to redefine video communication and the way we stay connected.

The platform is set to transform how businesses and individuals communicate and collaborate via email, addressing the evolving needs of modern remote teams while tackling global mental health issues.

As remote work becomes more prevalent and global connectivity improves, businesses are seeking efficient and effective ways to connect and collaborate virtually.

That is why we are planning to capitalize on this growing market demand and capture a significant share of the market.

With a strong go-to-market strategy and a focus on customer acquisition and retention, Ulalive is poised for rapid scalability.



How will investment expand your business model?

With investment, we will be able to double down on two key areas: the Persona and the Product. This includes implementing marketing strategies to elevate brand awareness among our target initial customers, crafting targeted digital marketing campaigns with relevant influencers, creating informative content to funnel customers to our product, and establishing strategic partnerships. These efforts will validate our customer profile and build compelling use cases.

Regarding the product, an investment will enable us to enhance features, functionality, and the user experience that add value to the target persona. We will actively incorporate user feedback, conduct in-depth market research, and stay ahead of industry trends to provide a solution that effectively solves our target customers’ problems.

With the new funds, we will have the resources to expedite product-market fit, experiment with pricing, and lower our customer acquisition cost (CAC).

Who are your target market and demographic of users?

Our target market consists of busy founders and remote teams who rely on productivity tools like Jira, Slack, Trello, and Notion for cloud project management. These individuals are involved in numerous meetings, workflows, and collaborations each day that require minimal presence. With Ulalive, they can plan ahead, automate, and initiate meeting flows without needing to be present in the meetings. Ulalive enables them to stay in sync with their teams through short recorded videos.

Ulalive is also well-suited for customer success teams, including sales and support, who require effective two-way communication. Instead of the sales team always having to jump into a meeting for a quick 15-minute introductory call, Ulalive offers a more streamlined approach by allowing them to send a simple and clear message in video format.

As part of our expansion plan to test customer profiles, we are including professionals from various industries, including freelancers and product managers. These individuals value efficient team collaboration and actively seek innovative tools to enhance their workflows.

Ulalive is designed to be user-friendly with a low learning curve, making it accessible even for non-tech-savvy users to get started.

What challenges do you face in getting your offering to the market and how do you plan on overcoming these challenges?

Bringing our offering to market comes with several challenges that we are actively addressing. One challenge is creating market awareness, particularly in Southeast Asia, where SaaS products may be less familiar. To overcome this, we are implementing targeted marketing campaigns, partnering with industry influencers, and leveraging social media platforms to educate potential users about the benefits and value of Ulalive. Our goal is to demonstrate how our solution can significantly improve team collaboration and productivity.

Another challenge is user adoption, as introducing a new tool into existing workflows can be met with resistance or hesitation. To tackle this, we are focusing on providing a seamless onboarding experience, including user-friendly interfaces and comprehensive tutorials. We offer excellent customer support to address any questions or issues promptly. Additionally, we encourage feedback from early adopters to continuously improve our product and ensure it aligns with user needs and preferences.

Lastly, building trust and credibility in the market is crucial. We strive to establish ourselves as a reliable and innovative solution through transparent communication, delivering on our promises, and providing regular updates and enhancements to our platform. By consistently delivering a high-quality product and demonstrating our commitment to customer satisfaction, we believe we can overcome the challenges and gain the trust and loyalty of our target market.

The good news is that with the widespread adoption of AI, particularly ChatGPT, there is increasing awareness and interest in SaaS among individuals and enterprises looking to boost their productivity.

Can you share your experience in founding a startup in university and lessons learnt through this programme?

As a university student, the experience of founding a startup has been both challenging and rewarding.

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is the importance of perseverance. Building a startup requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to overcome obstacles. From developing a minimum viable product to marketing it (minimum viable positioning), every step along the way has presented its own set of challenges. But through persistence and a strong belief in our vision, my team and I have been able to navigate these hurdles and keep moving forward.

Another important lesson I’ve learned is the need for adaptability, a growth mindset, and good storytelling. The startup landscape is constantly evolving, and being able to embrace change and pivot when necessary is essential for success. The ability to learn from failures, iterate on our product, and listen to user feedback has been critical in refining our offering and staying relevant in a rapidly changing market.

The Launch X accelerator has played a crucial role in supporting our startup journey. The guidance and mentorship provided by experienced entrepreneurs and industry professionals have been instrumental in shaping our business strategy and refining our ideas. The program has also given us access to workshops and networking events, allowing us to learn from experts and gain exposure to the startup ecosystem in Malaysia.

We are grateful for the support and opportunities provided by Sunway and the Launch X program.

If there’s one startup you would want to work with to expand your offering, which one would it be and why?

Given the opportunity, we would love to collaborate with Policystreet, a rapidly growing Malaysian insurtech startup. With notable investors backing their success, they are at the forefront of the industry. For sure, dealing with the important stuff, juggling documents, and making hard decisions is their everyday breakfast. We believe that our tool can assist them in synchronizing with their teams and reducing the need for numerous meetings both internally and with their clients. By leveraging Ulalive, Policystreet can streamline its communication processes and enhance collaboration efficiency.

In collaboration with Sunway iLabs, Disruptr will be featuring 10 startups who have made it to the Top 10 of the LaunchX 2023 programme.

Supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, LaunchX, the first University Startups Accelerator Programme in Malaysia, has recently unveiled the top ten university startups selected from its pre-accelerator phase. This equity-free, no-strings-attached 3+2-month program focuses on empowering budding entrepreneurs to achieve key milestones and take their startups to the next level.

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