Tommaso Tamburnotti is one of the Easyship’s cofounders. Tech in Asia awarded Easyship as the best startup in Asia last year. Founded in 2014 in Hong Kong, Easyship was part of the first batch Swire properties’ accelerator, blueprint. It has now reached 110 countries, the logistic startup aims to facilitated shipping to its customers around the world.
Tommaso was born and raised in Italy and he attended Bocconi University in Milan. He worked in investment banking at Nomura in London for a year after graduating and then joined Rocket Internet where he worked as a director for marketplace in Lazada Malaysia and the regional director in Hong Kong. After two years at Lazada his next move was to start Easyship.
In your own words what does your startup do?
Easyship removes the pain of shipping internationally from eCommerce sellers.
Why did you create your startup?
When I was working at Lazada, my job was to help companies in Hong Kong and China expand their sales abroad. The main obstacle for them was the logistics. Shipping is not easy and shipping internationally is even more complicated. You need to know which shipping company to choose from the over 500 that exist, compute taxes and import duties, and know which documents you need and how to fill them in. It can be overwhelming. At Lazada, we were providing support and teaching merchants how to do this, but there were still millions of eCommerce sellers out there not receiving any help. So, together with my co-founder Augustin Ceyrac, we decided to start Easyship. Our idea was to build a platform that could be used by any eCommerce seller looking to expand their business overseas and wanting to save money and time on international shipping.
What was your first victory when doing your startup – can be winning a competition, raising money, hiring your first staff?
Our first victory was when we got our first 10 customers. It was a small feat, but still a very important proof of concept for us.
What are the pros of doing a startup in Hong Kong?
Definitely the ease of doing business. You can setup a company in 1 day, and have zero paperwork for a year.
Moreover there are plenty of opportunities.
Everything happens so fast.
What are the cons of doing a startup in Hong Kong?
I would say the market is quite small. There is also a big reputational issue. It’s hard to convince Hong Kong companies to work with a startup. Companies here are quite conservative and risk adverse, so if they see that you are young and without a track record, they tend to feel that talking to you is a waste of time as you may not be around next year. It’s about long-term investment.
It was hard to convince the first 100 clients, but after that everything became much easier as the reputation was in place and hundreds of more clients approached us.
It took us the same amount of time to get the first 100 clients as it did to get the next 1,000 clients.
What are some of your daily digital habits?
Wake up early and read the newspapers, and then spend 20 minutes playing Call of Duty with my colleagues after lunch.
Where do you see Hong Kong in 2021?
I hope to see Hong Kong as a point of reference, a kind of hub for the next generation of entrepreneurs.
My university professor Mr. Maurizio Dallocchio
A fortuneteller told me (Tiziano Terzani)
Star Wars: Episode V
What is one thing someone told you/you read that you remember that you would like to pass on to aspiring entrepreneurs?
The first one takes the oyster; the second one gets the shell.
(Portraiture by Ruby Law Photography)