Lim is genuinely interested in people and their ideas. Her body bows slightly when in conversation but her eyes sparkle at every mention of new trends. And people want to work with her. Gushcloud began in April 2012 as a social sharing platform, with a seed of half a million dollars from former Alibaba CTO John Wu, and within months transformed into an influencer management network.
It was acquired by leading Korean digital marketing group, Yello Digital Marketing Group (YDMG), but bought out its parent company in 2019. Led by Def Jam co-founder and hip-hop mogul, Russell Simmons, as president, Gushcloud has three business units — marketing, entertainment and talent development — in 10 countries including the US and China.
She maximises technology to make the money math work “At Gushcloud, we use technology to scale our businesses, update our databases without a need for manual labour, and use AI to make recommendations and curation more effective for our clients and teammates. Technology has enabled our businesses to grow faster, our processes to be synced up despite the various time zones or cultures across our 14 offices, and it keeps us updated constantly.”
Numbers attract (greater) numbers “We use a tech platform called gush.co, which holds on to the database of more than 25,000 influencers across the 14 cities we are in. The data collected fuels our campaign proposals. It also allows us to project incomes for influencers as well as deliver white papers for the advertising and entertainment industry. We also invested in a fintech company Lytepay, and a direct-to-consumer social commerce company Summer International. Tech businesses naturally attract large funding because of their ability to scale quickly. Hence, what typically requires 10 years to achieve now possibly only requires less than half that time.”
Investment funds are used to scale up “John Wu gave us the opportunity to set up in Silicon Valley and to strive hard for ‘product-market fit’. He and his team were extremely encouraging especially during times when we kept failing and couldn’t bring in revenue. That was in 2011 when influencer marketing was extremely nascent. When YDMG acquired the company in 2015, the majority of the funds were used to expand worldwide and to use technology to integrate our workflow in various countries.”
Technology enables Gushcloud to invest in digital talents and their spin-off businesses – offering career opportunities for future generations “We use technology to discover upcoming and existing digital talents that we can invest in to help expand their influence by giving them opportunities to create their own beauty and wellness brands. This is done through our commerce unit, Summer International. In short, we are looking at replicating many Kylie Cosmetics, especially in Asia. Today, most technology-driven companies in our space typically only provide discovery of talents and aid in the curation of influencer marketing campaigns. But we know that isn’t enough.
“For this industry to create true sustainability in digital talent careers, we need technology to discover, grow and monetise their pulling power with their audiences. Gushcloud will be delivering, through the portfolio companies we have invested in, a fintech platform where influencers and digital talents can effectively manage the money earned from brand campaigns. Some notable functions would be auto collection and advance payment receipt, among many others. Such uses of technology will allow us to be a market leader. We know we have succeeded when we can enable our ‘children’ to pursue a serious career in the digital talent industry.”
This story is one part of a multi-person feature on the women changing the tech industry. For the other stories, click here.
This story first appeared in the March 2020 issue of A Magazine.