The Age of Moms: Interview with Joan Ong, Founder of Supermom

The Age of Moms Interview with Joan Ong, Founder of Supermom

Entrepreneurship is not easy, especially for SuperMoms.

We all agree babies’ heads smell really good and delightful, and their innocent smiles are the best relaxant ever—and you just want to bite those chubby cheeks. Sure, babies are sweet and adorable, but caring for one can be a handful. If you are a parent to a newborn, you know how overwhelming taking care of a baby can be, and tons of baby products will be scattered around your originally neat and organized home. And you will most likely come across moments when you don’t know which crib, baby formula or diapers to buy for your little one to provide them with the most comfort. Well, fret no more, because SuperMom is here to help. 

Having compiled more than 30 million parenting products with over 20 million reviews on their platform, SuperMom is leading the entire Southeast Asia baby product market. To provide genuinely reliable reviews and help customers pick the best products, SuperMom collects different reviews on parenting products across platforms, such as Lazada Singapore and Indonesia, Qoo100 and Amazon. Being a parenting-focused platform, SuperMom takes a step forward and incorporates social commerce technology, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) into its platform. To understand more about SuperMom and how they leverage technology in the business, we talked to Joan Ong, the Founder of the social commerce platform.

The recipe of SuperMom

Founded in 2015, SuperMom was launched with the ambition to aid new, time-strapped parents with useful information to better take care of their children. “So that new mothers will not feel lost and alone,” Ong said during the interview. Now, the platform has grown into Asia’s largest parenting-focused platform and has impacted millions of parents. 

Surprisingly, SuperMom only has 55 people on its team currently for such a large platform. Their priority is quality, not quantity—which is why they succeeded with such a small talented team. The team focuses on building competency to achieve their mission and working out their finances to ensure sustainability and growth.

To illustrate how the platform runs smoothly, Ong broke down the recipe of SuperMom for us. In a nutshell, SuperMom is built upon the following three big pillars: 

AI-powered Product Recommendation and Price Compare Platform

The Product Recommendation and Price Comparison Platform features an AI-driven price comparison engine that consolidates and compares parenting products to tailor the buying experience to parents. Customers can check out the prices of a particular product sold on different platforms and buy it at the cheapest price. 

Crowd-influencing app SuperMom Voices

Offering a wide range of products is not the only edge of SuperMom; they have also recruited Key Opinion Moms (KOMs) to give honest product reviews on their app, SuperMom Voices, which was launched in 2020. The way it works is very simple—just like influencers on Instagram—that KOMs test the products and voice out their opinions about them. The user-generated content platform and the mom influencers can help parents who are drowning in a sea of baby products pick the best products for their beloved little ones. What’s more, this can also be a source of income for all the moms out there. In fact, SuperMom’s survey shows that 77% of the moms in the platform’s community would like to become a mommy influencer! 

Besides helping consumers and mom influencers, the platform can also help brands advertise their products through word-of-mouth marketing—a win for all sides. Using big data and AI, SuperMom matches its KOMs with brands based on their interests, social media followers and connections to carry out surveys and campaigns. This has also led to the launch of SuperMom Insights platform, on which brands can survey and poll SuperMom’s parenting community in order to better understand their key target customers.

The SuperMom Community

Its community also plays an important role in the business. Thousands of conversations take place on the SuperMom Community each day across its private parenting chat groups on social media platforms and WhatsApp. With social listening tools, SuperMom is able to gather insights and track popular trends and recommend products and services to targeted parenting groups.  

The founding story of SuperMom

It is never too late to start a new business. Before launching SuperMom, Ong had a high-flying career as a Managing Director of an international conference company. 

She did not have the idea to start this company until she became a mother. It may seem relatively late for the average entrepreneur, but that did not stop Ong from achieving impressive milestones in her career with her innovative idea and ambitious vision. “Becoming a mother changed my perspective on how I wanted to work. Work is still important to me. Having a baby didn’t change that,” Ong told us. “But it changed how I worked and why I worked. I needed to work for something meaningful and that I can relate to.” Indeed, this is the first step for many entrepreneurs: finding something you want to do and can resonate with. 

Yet, passion is not the only reason for Ong to start a business. “I didn’t want my children to be raised by nannies as I was,” Ong said. Ong knows how challenging raising a kid is, and the desire for all children to have a better childhood encouraged her to jump out of her comfort zone. “It takes a village to raise a child, and SuperMom’s mission is to use technology to extend collective knowledge and wisdom to build a digital village that support and benefit millions of mothers and children, empowering them with information knowledge and community support, so that new mothers need not feel lost and alone,” Ong elaborated.

With this goal in mind, Ong created a unique platform in the Southeast Asia region as the only channel in Asia that combines parenting wisdom and social commerce.

Ong’s takeaways from the spikes along the way

Starting a business is not a piece of cake, and the thorny path can be daunting. There are definitely pressures and desperate cries for caffeine along the way. For Ong, who is also a parent, things have been even harder—imagine having to work 24/7 and take care of your children at the same time. “You just can’t stop thinking about work. Work occupies my time from 9am to 7pm, and resumes after 10pm after my son sleeps. On weekends, I try to spend time with my son, but there isn’t a weekend where I would not squeeze in work,” Ong added.

As an entrepreneur, it only makes sense to care a lot about your own business. “Entrepreneurship has given me a lot of freedom, but work has literally become 24/7. ” Ong sighed. “I am always on a constant lookout for how the business can improve its processes and do things better. And I am constantly frustrated if we are not improving fast enough,” Ong said. When faced with such scenarios, she suggests that entrepreneurs have an open mind and be flexible to change. “Every day provides an opportunity to learn and make your business better,” she shared. 

Sometimes, you can even turn hardships into your weapon. “The foresight and onset of COVID greatly expedited our digital development and escalated our growth tremendously,” she mentioned. 

The Success of SuperMom

In the past year, SuperMom has reached more than one billion mothers and garnered participation from more than 250,000 mothers over 1,000 campaigns, surveys, promotion and sample claims with more than 200 brand partners. The platform’s integration with marketplaces has made them the region’s only and largest profile database of two million parents.

SuperMom has also amassed more than 49 million and 1.5 billion social media connections on Facebook and Instagram respectively in Singapore and Indonesia. Encouraged by such achievements, SuperMom is expanding into four new markets, namely Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, to help millions of parents shop and live better.

What’s next for SuperMom?

Having established plenty of connections on social media platforms, SuperMom is expanding rapidly across the Southeast Asia region, and the company is planning to continue the work. “Through its upcoming regionalization, it will further reach, support and empower another 250 million parents in Southeast Asia,” Ong concluded. 

SuperMom is currently looking for more funding to continue expanding its business. They have started a funding round, and the notable investors in their seed sound and Pre-A funding include Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of Altara Ventures Pte Ltd. To date, SuperMom has raised SGD2 million (US$1.4 million).

Also read:

Header image courtesy of SuperMom

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