We Are HK Founders: Catherine Tan of Notey


Catherine Tan, founder and CEO of Notey, was born and raised in Hong Kong. After university in the UK she worked in investment banking in London and Hong Kong.
Catherine told us that despite her 70-hour workweek she was Chair of the Women’s Initiatives Network in her firm and helped setting up an educational non-profit. During that time is when she discovered her entrepreneurial spirit.
Notey, the Hong Kong based startup is a blog-searching engine. The mission of the startup is to help readers finding the best blog for any topic.


In your own words what does your startup do?

Notey helps you find the best blogs on any topic! Whether you’re researching your next travel destination or following the Olympics, we deliver you the most engaging articles from across thousands of independent publishers.


Why did you create your startup?

I experienced the problem first-hand, thought about it a bit more and realized there was such a huge opportunity to create a window to the blogosphere.
Like half-a-billion other people, I love reading long-form articles and for me, I enjoy reading about Travel. It was a few a years ago now when I was browsing around thinking “wow, blogs are such a great resource.”
Thinking further, I wondered why is it so hard to find the story about the student that took a gap year in Bali or the fashion blogger who had an “eat, pray, love” in Bali? There are so many people who read blogs and with millions of sites out there, I thought it was about time someone created a simple, easy way to restructure the entire blogosphere – and this is where it all started.


What was your first victory when doing your startup?

Among the many highlights since we started – from crossing traffic milestones to building an amazing team, the best feeling comes from hearing or meeting people who love using Notey. Hearing from users about how Notey helps them and bloggers who appreciate the new audience, always makes my day!


What are the pros of doing a startup in Hong Kong?

Pros – cosmopolitan, great talent, a key financial center.


What are the cons of doing a startup in Hong Kong?

Cons – Not enough early adopters to try out startup products and ideas. Sadly, Hong Kong is not seen as cutting edge in terms of innovation or technological leadership anymore and there’s a fair amount of skepticism. You need to seek validation overseas before returning to garner the respect of the local community.


What are some of your daily digital habits?

I live and breath Notey. It’s the last website/app I’m on and also the first one I hit up in the morning.
Other than the usual, such as Slack and Evernote for work and Snapchat and Instagram for social media, I try to explore new apps and websites every week especially around my space to stay on top of the latest trends and ideas.


Where do you see Hong Kong in 2021?

Wow – that’s a loaded question!

From a bottoms-up perspective, I see Notey becoming one of the many unicorns born and bred in HK. It’s only through these types of successes that can we build the entrepreneurial spirit, inspire others to take risks and thus sustainably grow tech and innovation here.


Rapid-Fire Round:


What is one thing someone told you/you read that you remember that you would like to pass on to aspiring entrepreneurs?

You’re fighting time and money. Make decisions quickly, move fast and break things.

(Portraiture by Ruby Law Photography)

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