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Eyes on China - an interview with MyPhone

MyPhone has plans to launch in late August , so we chatted with Mark Young, one the co-founders of MyPhone to tell us more about their star product ZØEM.

MyPhone has the exclusive distribution rights to a proprietary European water repellent coating which protects smartphones. Mark and his partner, Paul van Brenkelen, first discovered the chemical during a trip to Holland, and saw an opportunity to monetise the spray . Mark points out that over 40% of people drop their smartphones in water at least once. After spotting this significant yet unsatisfied demand for a water repellent coating product, they decide to go with their guts.

Mark and Paul turned their focus to China, the world’s largest smartphone market, where over 400 million smartphones are sold every year. “The smartphone is of vital importance to the younger generation in China,” says Mark. “It is their main channel of communication.”

Mark says as their focus has been solely on the China market, they have been spending a lot of time in China speaking to Chinese manufacturers and meeting interested parties. Although they have received a lot of inquiries from all over the world, Mark says they stayed disciplined to concentrate on their launch in the China.

The two founders have known each other for over 15 years and Mark says founding MyPhone reminds him of university life, teaming up with other students for a school project. Both Mark and Paul have an extensive background in testing inspection and certification for SGS and other big companies at a senior management level. With their previous work experience, they have learned that attention to detail is as important as the big picture. Mark notes that this helped them when preparing the business model and pitching to investors.

From working for a big company to being a founder himself, Mark says what he loves about being an entrepreneur is the freedom and creativity. However, he points out the most challenging part of the job is the inability to control the unknown. “To grow as an entrepreneur, you have to go into the office with a positive mindset,” says Mark. “You can’t control everything but you have to be determined to move things forward.”

During his stay in China, Mark was surprised that some organizations have a long vision for strategic partnerships. “When we went to a meeting with a certain organization for the first time, they had already come up with a plan about where they wanted the relationship to be in three years, ” Mark says. “ I was surprised and delighted to meet those deep thinkers and savvy business people in China.”

Mark indicated that relationships and understanding are essential in China, however, it is also important to find the similarity in people. “My team members have both a Chinese and Western mindset, with hands-on knowledge of the market coupled with a western strategy towards sales and marketing . This has been a great help to push the product into China.

Looking to the future, Mark reveals they have received a lot of inquiries from manufacturers that want to use the ZØEM spray in their product as an enhancement. MyPhone also has plans to expand the ZØEM spray to other parts of the world through their international connections in Hong Kong.

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