Meet Startup @TW

Founder of Taiwan's largest anonymous social media platform named to Forbes 30 under 30 Asia

Dcard

Young entrepreneurs are the reasons to stay hopeful in the times of crisis, Forbes says. The 28-year-old Taiwanese who started an anonymous social networking platform at the university is one of them.

Last week, Dcard co-founder Kytu Lin was named to the magazine’s newly released list of “30 Under 30 Asia” in the Consumer Technology category. He’s the only Taiwanese honoree in this category.

In 2011, Lin launched Dcard as a matching-making site for university students where they gain access to a random user’s profile at 12 am every day; a match is made when they send a friend request to someone who also shows interest to connect.

Now, the social media platform is one of the most-visited websites in Taiwan, attracting more than 1.5 billion page views per month from university students who discuss their relationships, careers, and various hot topics with others anonymously or semi-anonymously on the site. It’s said to have encouraged the young generation to participate in politics and make their voice heard.

Like Mark Zuckerberg, Lin began his entrepreneurial journey in late teens and has reached a milestone that only few others can. However, he told Business Next that looking back at the years, he has never thought about his title of entrepreneur. “You are an entrepreneur once you take action,” he said.

As a new 30 under 30 honoree, this young entrepreneur shared with Business Next his experience of starting a business in the prime of his life. His words have been slightly edited for brevity.

Spending your youth running a startup, what have you sacrificed?

"I've learned so much from the experience that I don't think I've sacrificed anything for it. There are not only challenges ahead but also a great opportunity to learn and think about how to lead a better life. Plus, the startup allows me to build wealth and gain a sense of accomplishment and mission. It’s hard to say I’ve made any sacrifice."

What are the challenges and opportunities faced by entrepreneurs in their twenties?

"Starting a company comes with a lot of pressure. It’s difficult to distinguish whether it’s due to a lack of experience. However, I do believe we need to overcome such lack of experience through reading extensively and learning from those who have the experience we need. I’m optimistic about young entrepreneurs, who are able to learn fast and as blank slates."

During these years running a startup, have you thought about giving up? What makes you who you are today?

"Yes, I’ve thought about giving up. At the lowest point of my life, I turned to biographies of CEOs and founders of great companies, such as Apple, Google, and Facebook, and realized that they have all been through the same time in their life. I also learned that you need to face your fears in order to grow, and after the biggest difficulty comes the biggest breakthrough in life."

"There are two reasons why I didn’t give up. First, I have a big dream to achieve. Also, I’ve received support from so many people. They’ve been with me through good and bad times and I hope to give back someday."

If you could make the decision again, would you choose to start your journey as an entrepreneur in the second year of university?

"If I had the chance, I would not only make the same decision but start the journey as early as possible. However, I normally don’t encourage students to start their own business. A true entrepreneur is one who doesn’t give up even if the world tells them to."

What is work–life balance for you as an entrepreneur?

"I’ve never tried to achieve work-life balance since balance means separation to me. Every life experience helps me make better decisions at work. Plus, it’s hard for me not to think about work when I’m off work."

Bryan Chou
Journalist & Global PR

Bryan Chou is a Taiwan-based and born journalist who writes about innovation and entrepreneurship for Business Next and Meet. Over the past five years, he has written for a student press, translated numerous magazine pieces, and worked as an intern in two startups. He believes what shapes him into who he is today is not only these experiences but the people he has interacted with and the stories he has learned from them.

He has a BA in Foreign languages and literatures from NTU. After graduation, he spent a year in Prague, traveling extensively around Europe to learn about the history and culture of the region from local people. Currently based in Taipei, he hopes to present the best of Taiwan to the world.