As a photographer, Kevin Ou worked with celebrities such as Emma Stone, David Guetta and Elijah Wood, and companies including BMW, Maserati, Disney, H&M and Nestle. But he was an entrepreneur at heart too. Over 17 years in Los Angeles and New York, he co-founded and sold a series of business ventures, including talent agency Four9Seven Creatives; strategic marketing outfit The Forum Agency, and home and lifestyle publication Modern Home + Living.
Access to exclusive experiences like these, he points out in our interview, inspired him to launch LivMo. “I believe that the more breadth and depth you experience, the more amazing a life you have. When I worked as a celebrity photographer, I had access to many exciting opportunities I always wished others could experience,” he says. “So in April I started LivMo to help connect everyone to these experiences, be it salsa dancing with Penelope Cruz, going backstage at music festivals or meeting former POTUS Barack Obama.
LivMo recommends experiences and events for every occasion, from date nights to learning opportunities and family vacations. It’s not just easy to use. You don’t have to pay any fees to become a member; a booking fee of only 6.1 percent applies to each purchase. As Ou says, “LivMo is the one-stop platform that facilitates more fulfilled lives.”
Read on for the details.
What’s your vision for LivMo?
That it becomes a global experience marketplace, the Amazon of activities and experiences. We have exclusive experiences that go for more than $70,000 as well as art gallery tours that are free of charge. Our tech platform empowers consumers to easily explore and discover experiences they love.
How are these experiences curated?
As a tech platform, we sit on data that helps us to understand consumer psychographics. This, combined with human expertise, allows our Experience Architects to curate and create unique opportunities that deliver the value that in turn offer priceless impact on consumers’ lives.
What were challenges you had to overcome while curating these experiences?
One, ensuring security and safety of our members. We had to put in place a comprehensive system to verify organisers of these experiences. We can never be too complacent.
Two, overcoming unforeseen circumstances. For example, a celebrity might be having a bad day so he or she isn’t as outgoing during the event. We haven’t encountered this but we always have to remember that celebrities are just like us.
Three, keeping prices manageable. Our experiences span the gamut in terms of pricing. Some once-in-a-lifetime experiences, however, come with inherent costs that only high-intent buyers understand and see the value clearly.
LivMo has a charity arm known as GivMo. Tell us more.
Through GivMo, we donate a percentage of every experience purchased to our adopted charity Make-A-Wish Foundation. To me, Make-A-Wish is the original experience creator; they have produced amazing memories for terminally ill kids for decades! We support Make-A-Wish also by sharing some of our experiences with these kids – at no cost. We aren’t the largest company around, but we do what we can, with what we have.
What inspires you?
My favourite quote is by Oscar Wilde: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” So I want to live a full life. Whether an experience is positive or negative, I take it all in and appreciate it for what it is. Some experiences come by only once in a lifetime so don’t run away from them!
Your perfect holiday?
My perfect holiday used to be adventure- and exploration-oriented. I’ve visited the Sahara desert for a dining-under-the-stars experience, gone ocean-diving with manta rays and watched fighter jets take off from aircraft carriers.
Since becoming a father, my holidays have revolved around my son and showing him different parts of the world. When he was 3 months old, my family were caught in a typhoon in Tottori, Japan. This year, my family is headed to Tuscany in Italy, where we will be staying in a 200-year-old villa and going truffle-hunting. I’m especially excited about space travel and look forward to getting there!
So do you still take photos these days?
I don’t shoot or direct as much now because I’m now more focused on growing the business. As a photographer I worked mostly with celebrities but it was never about their fame rather than their lives and stories. I still love photography, and I especially enjoy the diversity and challenges that come with meeting fascinating people.