2018 Global CEO Excellence Awards

30 CEO MONTHLY / GLOBAL CEO EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2018 , GCE18027 INSPIFY is a Singapore based company that is disrupting the traditional style of retail shopping. We spoke to Founder CEO ThorstenWalther to find out howhe is driving the brand to success through innovation and ingenuity. Best Luxury Fashion Business Leader 2018 - Singapore Established in 2014, INSPIFY has flourished since inception despite operating in a competitive market. Thorsten explores what sets his firm apart from its competitors and marks it out as a unique solution. “Setting us apart from what may seem like other similar apps, INSPIFY is not an e-commerce web site, but a digital platform that helps lifestyle/fashion brands and retailers to increase their In-Store traffic. What makes us unique is that we connect content from publishers and social media with products and offerings in the stores. By linking content with offerings, we can tell the readers instantly where to buy what they just looked at or searched. We work together with media companies, lifestyle and fashion brands from a B2B perspective but also serve B2C clients that enjoy fashion and lifestyle. “Through our solution, we believe that creating value for both sides is the most important objective. At INSPIFY, we have a model where our clients only have to pay when they make a purchase through us, or when a shopper is physically visiting the store channelled through INSPIFY’s inspirational content. Together with our clients over multiple rounds of meetings and communication, we define the objectives and expected outcome.” The firm’s unique solution draws on the vast experience of Thorsten, who has worked across a range of industries, as he is proud to showcase. “Personally, I have had an unconventional career path. After my tertiary education, I worked as a Software Developer in my brother’s IT company. Some years later, I left this post for some time to fulfil a dream opportunity – I was good enough to be selected to play professional football, first for Bundesliga in Germany and subsequently Ligue 1 for France. I played for the clubs of Fortuna Düsseldorf, VFB Stuttgart and FC Toulouse. It was a very good interlude from my real calling in my current business, as being a professional football player taught me many valuable lessons in perseverance, determination, hard work and team spirit. “After four years, I made the decision to leave my sports career and apply my talents in a start- up in Germany and built an SAP consulting practice with a few friends. This was a major change, but I was going back to my roots and I enjoyed the challenge. The second start-up business I went into was an IT Strategy company in the US where we had consulting mandates in various industries like wholesale, pharmacy, steeling and banking. In parallel to the consulting work I did my MBA in International Business at the University of Liverpool. It was a very hard time to get study and daily business together. Later, I founded INSPIFY together with my business Partner Judy Hunt.” Building the business, Thorsten and his team faced many challenges. He explores how he overcome these to create a thriving firm. “When you are building a business like INSPIFY, you mostly face issues from many directions. You have limited resources, you must convince partners of plans and you must get consumers on your platform. But all these challenges are good because it drives you to find solutions, and this makes it very interesting. Doing business in a completely new field requires a lot of flexibility and believe in the vision. Motivating employees not with money but with the vision and philosophy of the company is very energy consuming. After all these years, we can see now that we have built a great team that is able to produce unbelievable results.” In today’s market, publishing, lifestyle and fashion companies are currently striving for major transition into the digital age. Foot traffic to stores has been trending lower. Horizontalization of media has disrupted the traditional role of publishers and transformed them into production businesses. Readers, particularly across social platforms, actually expect editors to tell them where to buy what they just wrote about in their articles, but the traditional store-listing information is fast becoming archaic. Brands have mostly separate offerings between their stores and their participating e-commerce sites. All these issues have to be addressed. Brands that understand the need to merge online with offline will have a future. Otherwise it will be difficult to survive. It is no longer a question of competitive advantage, but to build a foundation for a strong omni- channel strategy. As such, looking ahead, Thorsten is keen to build upon INSPIFY’s current success and grow the brand even further, as he proudly concludes. “With regards to the future of our market and business, one of the key developments we can see is that all the big technology companies especially from China are investing heavily into digitalisation of the shopping experience, from face recognition in a grocery store to a digitized Starbucks. Our strength is that we are leading in connecting content from publishers and social media with a central product catalogue and offerings in stores. We are able to provide our partners the traceability to render a complete customer shopping experience, from inspiration through content to physical visit. “Building upon these strengths, we are currently very successfully expanding thanks to our platform in Singapore. Looking ahead, we are keen to start expanding to new locations like Hong Kong and Dubai. The plan is that in the next two years we can cover all the major locations globally. These are very aspirational goals and we look forward to achieving them.” Company: INSPIFY Pte Ltd | Contact: Thorsten Walther Address: 1 KEONG SAIK RD, SINGAPORE, 89109, Singapore Email: [email protected] | Website: www.inspify.com

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