The 21-year-old is building, an independent talent matching platform

21-year-old Dylan Zeng has always aspired to be an entrepreneur. He first discovered his passion for entrepreneurship while helping his father run the family business, a renovation company, when he was just 12 years old.

As the son of a business owner, he has acquired industry knowledge and the know-how of running a company over the years. He wanted to do more than take over his father’s business—he wanted to start something of his own.

But being young and naive, his teenage businesses didn’t really take off as he had to juggle his studies at the same time.

In 2014, he ran his own e-commerce store,, selling fashion accessories on Carousell, Facebook and Instagram. This affair lasted a little over two years.

Two years later, while in polytechnic, he started another online business, Underdogs Singapore. The business focused on unorthodox fashion clothing, but quickly shut down after only eight months.

He soon realized that starting his own business required a full-time commitment, which is why he decided to work as a photographer and social media manager.

Light bulb moment for

Image credit:

As a budding freelancer who wanted to get more job opportunities and meet more people in the industry to expand his knowledge, he came up with the idea of ​​creating a platform to bridge engagement between companies and freelancers.

Although he noted that there was a clear gap in the industry, Dylan did not immediately pursue his business idea due to his increasing work at school and personal reasons. The turning point for Dylan came only a year later, once the pandemic hit the shores of Singapore.

Thousands of people were losing their jobs and many companies were going out of business, including my father’s business.

– Dylan Zeng, Founder and CEO of

Talents who lost their jobs needed more opportunities and had the skills to work them. Businesses, on the other hand, needed to go digital to generate sustainable revenue, but traditional ways of engaging through agencies were too expensive for them.

“But what’s stopping them from giving each other what they need?” he asked himself—and the answer to this was

Dylan was determined to make a change in the freelance industry, so he pulled out his previous plans and tweaked them by seeking out industry experts.

Things took an ugly turn three months after the start

Dylan Zeng, Founder and CEO / Image Credit: via Instagram

Taking the step to start was no easy feat for Dylan. Together with four of his friends, he invested his life savings and dropped out of polytechnic to start building the platform around March 2020.

“We started with a Telegram channel as our first acquisition channel for clients and freelancers, while the online portal was being developed and it took us almost a month to reach our first 1,000 subscribers,” said Dylan.

They used this time to acquire users and test the idea, and the beta site was finally launched a few months later in August 2020.

By the end of the year, however, things had taken a turn for the worse for – Dylan was left running the startup alone, with no team and no funds.

Faced with a cease and desist letter to shut down its operations in the third month after launch by a competitor, it was abandoned by its other co-founders.

Dylan chose not to give up the platform. “I stood my ground and did not back down from the threat. Eventually the letters stopped coming,” he said.

To support the business, he spent his mornings working at a bubble tea shop, his afternoons working on and a few other freelance projects, and his nights handing out flyers. At one point, he also signed up as a GrabFood pilot to supplement his income stream.

It was definitely a rough time – I only got an average of three to four hours of sleep during those months.

– Dylan Zeng, Founder and CEO of

He recalled being on the verge of giving up during that time period.

“But what if it works? What if there was something he had to go through as part of his starting journey?”

These thoughts that crossed his mind gave him the strength to go through with and he told himself that he would give it his all for another three months. He managed to survive the three months and remains strong to this day.

Starting from scratch (again)

Dylan Zeng, Founder and CEO of (right) and Lim Han Yang, CIO of (left) / Image Credit:

In January 2021, Dylan managed to save about $20,000 and began rebuilding his team. He was joined by his former classmate, Lim Han Yang, as well as Tay Yen Zu and Raphael Lim.

Yen Zu and Raphael initially joined the company as interns, but have since been promoted to lead roles as co-founders.

To ramp up’s suite of offerings, Dylan and his team of co-founders sought funding from various companies. They secured $50,000 from Enterprise Singapore’s December 2021 Startup Founders Grant, as well as $22,500 from the National Youth Council’s 2022 Youth Action Challenge.

With these funds, the team rebuilt the platform with a better user interface and updated system, which was launched in August 2022. The new interface garnered more than 10,000 site visits in its first week and nearly 1,000 new entries in his time. the first month.

Since then, has consistently generated revenue, according to Dylan.

Bringing companies and freelancers together connects skilled talent with companies looking to outsource.

With, companies can gain access to thousands of local talent with a variety of skill sets from different industries, providing an alternative solution that allows employers to increase efficiency while reducing costs.

Some of its notable clients that have boarded the platform include Tiger Beer, *SCAPE, Singapore Polytechnic and Augmentus.

Talent on their platform can also access flexible opportunities, giving them the chance to hone their skill sets. The problem is that they will be charged a flat platform fee of 15% when securing a project through the platform.

Today, the company has successfully onboarded over 6,000 local talents and over 300 Singaporean companies to their platform and expects to cross over 10,000 talents and 500 companies this year.

Dylan believes’s growth will be pushed further as more companies look to cut costs due to the rising cost of living caused by inflation.

Looking forward, Dylan says the company expects to expand its services to include internships by the fourth quarter of this year, as well as expand to other parts of Southeast Asia.

We aim to become the one-stop talent platform in Southeast Asia and provide more opportunities for people from various industries to explore their true potential.

– Dylan Zeng, Founder and CEO of

Featured image credit: Dylan Zeng/

Also Read: State of Shiok Co-Founder on How Business Went from Zero Customers to 6 Fig Revenues in 2022

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