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Meet the Mentor: Andrew Yin

Friday Jun 17,2022 | IIE News

Mentorship matters. Through our Meet the Mentor series, learn more about the mentors in our network and the role mentoring could play in your startup. In today’s feature, we will be spotlighting Andrew Yin, the Head (Asia) of Digital Marketing, eCommerce & Retail Development at Hasbro.

Andrew Yin

Tell us about your background and your area of expertise

My years of experience in the Consumer Goods space span across founding my own social enterprise to being the company's first hire for eCommerce in the subsequent companies I work for. I gain immense satisfaction from building nothing to something, and has acquired solid foundation in end-to-end consumer marketing (eCommerce, digital and retail) in an often lean, entrepreneurial and highly cross-functional environment.


What inspired you to be a startup mentor and what would you like the startups to take away through your mentoring?

I remember being in a start-up myself and going through it back then, I have always remembered how daunting it could be to try something which you don’t have experience or knowledge in. It doesn’t have to be. I think the approach I have towards mentoring is really to build assurance & confidence to these budding entrepreneurs that their problems are normal and common, and they can be solved. More than anything, what I hope they take away are the unchanging fundamentals of marketing concepts, frameworks and processes so that they are equipped with the right knowledge to tackle these problems.


What do you look at when assessing a startup?

A clear route-to-market strategy which has some track record of successful conversion (whatever product/service that they are selling), which should include a short-term & long-term roadmap (from content to execution). I often say a great product or service is not enough. Every product/service out there is great but what separates them is really how that product/service is being marketed and brought to the right audience that they are pitching/selling to.


What do you think is the most important question a startup founder should ask any mentor on their first meeting?

“What is the biggest problem you see for my business?”


If you could turn back time, what would be one piece of advice you would have given your younger self?

First: Ask more. There’s this saying which a senior once told me – Don’t ask, don’t get. Don’t try, don’t know. Golden! Second: Prioritize! Don’t sweat over the small things, and really keep your eyes focussed on the prize. Outsource/delegate where you can, and always do a mental check-in on what’s the most important thing to tackle in a single day.


In your opinion, what is the value of an incubator programme for startups?

The network! It’s not just what you know, it’s also who you know. I remember this quote which a previous mentor shared – your value is a sum of the people you know. It’s not everything, but it is definitely a huge enabler for growth.

Have a BIG startup idea but not sure how to get it off the ground? The Business Innovations Generator (BIG) is a four-month, equity-free, founder-centric incubation programme designed to help student founders and early-stage startups grow faster. Founders get to validate their startup at no cost through mentorship, dedicated resources, funding, and access to an investor network. Now accepting applications for the Aug’22 cohort. Apply by 8 July 2022.


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