Lunch with Steven, Founder & CEO of GoGoVan
If you have been following the Hong Kong start-up scene, you’d have most likely heard of Steven Lam, Founder & CEO of GoGoVan. Along with our volunteers at Time Auction, we had the opportunity to meet Steven and hear story of his entrepreneurial journey and the creation of GoGoVan.
Steven’s teenage years were unlike his peers. Growing up in an low-income family, Steven’s parents could not afford to buy him a computer; however through a broken computer which he found, he learnt to repair computers and started earning money by fixing broken computers in school.
In college, as he needed to earn money for his tuition fees, he learnt to fix and sell first generation iPhones and used bicycles through watching videos on YouTube. He also found other ways of making money by selling hotdogs in school, and worked hard to support himself and paid off his tuition loans.
“No one can teach you how to become an excellent entrepreneur, only you, yourself, can determine if you can be a good one. If you have the passion in solving problems in daily life, you are most probably an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs like solving problems by themselves.”
Not having enough money was a problem to Steven and so he found ways around it.
After returning to Hong Kong, he started a business with two of his university friends by selling advertisements on takeaway lunch boxes to restaurants owners. During this time, Steven encountered a problem with delivering these lunch boxes on time to restaurants because of a logistics issue — which became one of the greatest opportunity in his life to create GoGoVan!
Having identified the problem, Steven set out to build the business with 5 co-founders and HK$20,000. Today, the company has grown to a size of 350 employees and is currently operating in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan with expansion plans into China.
When it comes to the company culture of Gogovan, Steven shared with us their four core values — Dare to Venture, No Bullshit, No Evil & Have Fun.
“These core values are also applicable to our everyday life. Regardless of who we are, we should have the guts to venture out of our comfort zone. If we believe in a cause, just go do it, we have nothing to lose. Also before concluding a solution is impossible, we should first try and learn to understand why it did not work.” says Edith, Time-Auction volunteer
Thank you Steven for your candid sharing, and inspiring encouragement! The lunch has indirectly contributed 132 hours to St James’ Settlement, Hands On Hong Kong, Food Angel by Bo Charity Foundation, Hong Kong Jockey Club and more.
See testimonials from the volunteers:
“Steven was an inspiration to me for perhaps an indirect reason. His go-getter attitude, scrappiness, and ability to manage a company of 300 employees are all reasons for admiration. Not to mention how he created this company in the short span of a few years. Few have the grit to pioneer as an entrepreneur. Even less have the vision to adapt and see the project through fruition. But what struck me as most surprising weren’t these amazing feats. Instead it was quite the opposite — how ordinary the inception of GoGoVan was.
I think we often get blinded by the glamor of the final result of a product such that we forget its humble beginnings. Meeting Steven in person and hearing his story on the creation of GoGoVan taught me that such companies are built through small steps, one after another. It taught me that building my own company isn’t a farfetched idea. I think many people can learn from his story and see how an ordinary person in ordinary circumstances can make a great business.”
“Thank You Steven for an inspiring lunch and sharing your experience, it was very though provoking and I really enjoyed my time. As I listen to your story and hear you speak about Gogovan’s core values, you remind me that these value are crucial to everyone as well. No matter who we are, we should have the guts to venture out of our comfort zone. If we think anything is right, just do it as we have nothing to lose. Also, we should not easily say the solution is impossible, we should try first and then learn and understand on why it did not work. Moreover, unethical things should not be done while we enjoy the things we do.”
“There are many hurdles in becoming a successful and valuable entrepreneur. Some are hard to overcome and others are outright impossible. Steven taught me the strongest weapon you can have against these is an unbreakable will. He started from scratch and worked his way up. He went from a one-way ticket to California with a meager $400 dollars in his bank to being able to graduate from Berkeley and a founder of an international company. Failing many times is part of the journey but the perseverance to keep trying is what will bring you to your goal. I’ll do whatever it takes to be a valuable entrepreneur.
One thing I got from him:
Start early and keep trying no matter how hard. Also, f*ck school. And don’t b*llsh*t.”
“Having an insightful lunch with Steven Lam, co-Founder and CEO of GoGoVan, he shared his exciting entrepreneurial journey and what he learned from being an entrepreneur. I was impressed by his vision and enthusiasm for leading his regional team to be a well-known global company.
What I remember most is that if anyone wants to be a successful entrepreneur, Steven recommends that we should learn it from experience, rather than taking any business course at university. He also emphasizes the importance of “FOCUS” — focus on what the business does, creating unique values to customers.
Thank you Time Auction for organizing such a lunch gathering with an young and successful entrepreneur.”
For more auctions, visit Time Auction Hong Kong, a platform that connects you with inspiring mentors while encouraging volunteerism.
By Benz Fung, Time Auction Ambassador and Suet Yi Wong, Co-founder of Time Auction Hong Kong.
This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium: https://medium.com/time-auction/lunch-with-steven-founder-ceo-of-gogovan-7fb78107ba0d