As a part of our featured women series for IWD 2022, we’re interviewing women from all walks of life to learn more about their individual journeys & how they’re accelerating their careers with their #girlpower ! This feature is about Daphne, who is one of the founders of Bluente.
Daphne treasures family, the impact that she can make, and mentoring people. She took this nurturing spirit of hers and put it into creating Bluente, the world’s first business Chinese app. She is now on a mission to bring business languages — typically a very costly and time consuming skill to pick up, to anyone who needs to learn business Chinese. All at the fraction of the cost of a typical in person business chinese course, and available on the go.
Read on to get to know more about her and her mission to bring accessible business language learning to everyone!
I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Bluente. I oversee the overall design and product, and I make sure that every feature of our products are customer-centric. I’m naturally also in charge of the development strategy for Bluente in general, and I also handle investor management and relations.
Bluente started when I was working at Bain and had to talk to a Chinese client. I went to Google translate some technical terms for the meeting, and at the end of it all the client told me that he didn’t understand what I was saying. Another time during the pandemic, I wanted to pick up Bahasa, and started using Duolingo to learn the language. However, after learning for a bit, I realised that I didn’t want to learn what a “hat” is in Bahasa, but rather I’d like to get straight to learning business terms. These collective experiences made me realise there was a gap in the language education sector, and that people with basic conversation proficiency in languages needed more to supplement their learning and reach business fluency in order to reach their certain work goals.
Yes, back in school we used to come up with very random ideas, and a couple of small initiatives here and there. Back in JC a couple friends and I regularly joined startups competitions and started a social enterprise with a couple friends to help women in Nepal. We worked together with an NGO in Nepal to give these women paper making facilities, which they used to make notebooks and other paper products. We then sold these products in Singapore. Eventually we got a source of income and built a library for them.
Back in university I also decided to do a tuition review site to find 1-on-1 tutors. We went around asking different people and teachers for their take, with some commenting that tutors may not like being rated, or might worry about getting a bad rating & not getting any business. Ultimately, we didn’t pursue it — but it was still a fun project nonetheless.
I envision Bluente becoming the go to business learning app for everyone looking to expand their career in a different country, and that language barriers are no longer an issue for them. If we can help a lot of individuals achieve language proficiency in the languages they wish to learn, then I think that will be super meaningful.
Expect to see more courses, and new features (a secret for now!) that will be coming up to users to help you learn better! If you aren’t yet, be sure to keep up with us and download Bluente on the App Store or Google Play Store :)
Don’t be afraid to try. Taking the first step is always difficult but I believe that you should always just try it out and see where that brings you.
Personally I have not faced any challenges because of my gender, I only experience the usual challenges that any entrepreneur faces. You will always have believers and non-believers in your product, and you can’t let the non-believers put ideas into your head, you just have to really believe in your mission. However, I have heard of people who have faced issues like not being able to get investors just because they’re women. I hope that such biases will eventually phase out as we progress as a society.
Fun Fact: Daphne enjoys going cafe hopping and replicating dishes she eats at home. Being a major foodie, she’s constantly baking or cooking up a storm, and is crazy for seafood. Her favourite cuisines? Japanese, Italian and Local Singaporean food.
The work she’s doing also greatly influences the music she listens to while working! Chinese music while doing work in English, and 2000s pop songs when working in Chinese.