Glints not just a gleam in the eyes of three 21yr-old founders (Part II)

By Gabey Goh

The Glints team applied for and got accepted into JFDI.Asia's Class of 2014A

Building the Glints engine

According to Yeo, for the past three months, the Glints team has been testing out the market through an agency-based business model, where the recruiting and matching interns happen manually.

It has successfully recruited 200 youth from all around the world, and has received applications from five out of seven continents in the world, excluding South America and Antarctica, he claims.

“Some of our intern applications come from South Africa, the Czech Republic and Hungary ... places we never imagine word about Glints would get out to,” he adds.

Yeo says that the team recently successfully matched one of its interns to a startup based in Budapest, Hungary, by the name of Prezi, which developed a cloud-based presentation software and storytelling tool for presenting ideas on a virtual canvas.

“Yes, Prezi is not a Silicon Valley startup as imagined by many. It was started by Hungarians and through our strategic and influential partnerships, we successfully placed one intern with them for her upcoming summer internship,” Yeo claims.

After the team successfully validated demand for its service and projected its market size, it launched the beta version of the Glints Internship portal which is intended to enable the expansion of its business in a scalable manner, to reach more youth and companies.

“Though Glints has been around for a short while only, we are already global and scaling rapidly. The internship portal platform will help us sustain this growth,” Yeo says.

A cornerstone of this internship platform is a personality-matching system developed by the team, dubbed the ‘Glints DNA profiling test.’

To develop the tool, over 50 youth were asked to take the test and were then asked to do established personality tests such as DISC and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as well, Yeo says.

“We then compared the results between the tests to draw correlations and similarities, and we are confident of the rigour of our product,” he adds.

Yeo's confidence stems partly from the domain expertise of his founding teammate, with cofounder Looi boasting prior experience as a researcher with the Institute for Infocomm Research, A*STAR, from 2007 to 2012, in behavioural science.

He also has 13 research papers in peer-reviewed international conferences and journals, and these publications are supported by A*STAR for submission to his name.

“A key component of his studies was on profiling frameworks, and his research was centred on how we can profile experiences and behaviours to understand the individual better. Utilising that knowledge from human-computer interactions, as well as our experiences of matching interns to companies, he derived the personality-profiling framework,” explains Yeo.

Additional lessons were also gleaned from existing personality profiling systems to understand how they work, to then create something better and more efficient, allowing the team to cut down on the number of questions to 10 from the typical 50-100.

Can Glints take off?

Can Glints truly take off? Enough so that the notion to postpone entry into the vaunted hallways of an Ivy League institution seems less risky?

JFDI.Asia’s Mason believes that we are entering “a fascinating next couple of decades,” as across the developed world, birth rates are falling and young talent is going to become hard to find, particularly in places like Singapore where the unemployment rate is 2% -- while there are places in Europe like Spain where the youth unemployment rate is 50%, right at the other extreme.

In both situations, there is going to be pressure for change and he is convinced that new models for the relationship between employers and millennial employees will emerge.

“Everyone now knows that, outside a very few companies like Procter and Gamble, the notion of a lifetime job and loyalty from a company to its staff is a thing of the past. Employers used to rely on university degrees like badges that helped them select from pre-screened candidates, but what if the tables are turning with this new generation and many of them have the pick of employers, not the other way around?

“I think the deep relationship that Glints will build with its users early in their careers is very interesting in that regard,” Mason adds.

For the Glints team at least, despite their current career paths deviating from the norm, there are no regrets.

“We would recommend any youth who is interested in entrepreneurship but is hesitant to take the leap because of a lack of experience, to just do it. Surprisingly, we have learnt that our young age has been an advantage, and not a disadvantage, so far.

“Aside from making us more memorable, as long as we acknowledge that our young age means that we have a lot to learn, people are always willing to spend the extra effort to mentor and guide us,” Yeo says.

This article was first published over at the Digital News Asia website on 16 April 2014. It is reproduced with permission.

End of Part 2. To return to Part 1, visit HERE.