Founder Spotlight: Eula See of Asiapixel
From Corporate to Advocate
How Being an Entrepreneur translated to pursuing advocacies in promoting Asian culture and arts
Armed with sharp eyes, we met Eula for her interview. In an industry dominated largely by men, she signals a vibrant breath of air, every bit of her personality embodying the ideal start up founder - driven, passionate, and resilient. While most entrepreneurs start their story choosing entrepreneurship on the onset, Eula See, founder and CEO of Asiapixel, finds her story beginning in the most unlikely - yet most relatable - place. She began her startup path while working under the corporate structure.
A firm advocate for artists and promoting the Asian culture, Eula represents the story of a hardworking, power woman finding fulfillment through entrepreneurship.
Her Origin Story
Upon graduating as a designer, Eula worked in the advertising industry for six (6) years before finally making the jump six months ago. At that time, she was climbing the corporate ladder quite fast. While in the industry, she chose to work under accounts management to gain full understanding of how to run her own agency in the future.
After countless client pitches, she found a recurring demand for content featuring the Asian culture and its elements. She credits Founder Institute as her stepping stone into the startup industry. She shares with Techshake, “I was there to explore, and I wasn’t willing to quit my job yet. When I went to Founder Institute, there was a sudden change in mindset and my time there opened so many doors for me. If I graduated from FI, and I let myself go back to advertising, I would lose my momentum. And if I one day happening in front of my eyes, and it wasn’t me who did it, I would regret it forever.”
Transitioning from Corporate to Startup Founder
Asiapixel is a startup that provides artists and companies a variety of content that is centered on the asian culture. While main providers of stock images cater to worldwide and generally feature the western demographic, Asiapixel focuses on highlighting diversity by showcasing the different facets of life that the Asian continent has to offer.
When asked about the difficulties she faced upon building her entrepreneurial venture, one of her biggest challenges was adjusting to income differences between the corporate and startup scene. She shares, “I’m used to having the 15/30 setup. I have responsibilities, and bills to pay for, and in a startup, you don’t necessarily have a steady stream of income. For me, it wasn’t just passion because passion can’t feed you. I [had] lined up several jobs before I resigned to make myself sustainable.”
Despite her personal challenge to hustle more, Eula finds herself lucky, and credits part of her success to her partners that helped make Asiapixel’s vision a reality. In Founder Institute, she found her first co-founder in Jojy Azurin, seasoned startup entrepreneur, mentor and investor. It also helped that they built trust among the team, since joining their roster is her old friend, Bill Ti Yu, as well as the photographer behind Monster Studio, Mon Marquez, a frequent contributor that believed in their initiative from the start.
When asked about how her background in the corporate ladder played a part in starting her path as a founder, Eula discusses how entrepreneurship became a deliberate choice to solve a problem she personally encountered while in the agency. Adhering to the age old advice given to founders everywhere, Eula knew her market well, and poised herself to solve a problem commonly found in the advertising industry. After graduating as a designer from the university, she set her career path on accounts management, knowing full well that she needed to seize the opportunity and build her capacity as an entrepreneur.
“The choice of becoming an entrepreneur was deliberate, [and] when I entered the agency, there was a decision I made to pursue accounts management because I knew that soon after, I will have my own business. The mindset of owning something was already there, and the accounts management side is the closest thing I have to being an entrepreneur. The thought of becoming an entrepreneur was never out of the question. It has always been there.”
Due to her captivating position as a founder from the corporate setting, Eula shares the difference between the two paths. “I’m more of a slave [than the boss of my own company] in a sense that you scavenge all [resources] and it is tiring, but you really don’t have a choice. You tend to do it on your own to spend less, since [we’re] bootstrapping. The downside of corporate is that you have things that you really don’t like doing - that aren’t fulfilling - and you can’t say no. It’s part of your job and you’re paid to do it.”
Handling Her Hustle
While in the subject of fulfillment as an entrepreneur, Eula finds herself building her company according to her values and belief system. She paints the reality that startup founders face, “In the startup world, at least I have the freedom to say no to some things that are against what we believe in. The hustle may be [similar], but in the corporate world, there are low seasons when there aren’t much work and you still get paid your salary on the 15th. If you’re doing your own business, you don’t work for a week means you don’t get a decent cash flow for the coming weeks.”
Despite juggling five (5) jobs as of the moment, our heroine finds her motivation in her need to “hustle more.” Returns come in the currency of fulfillment, and while doing these tasks keeps her moving, she admits that there is a tradeoff by spreading herself too thinly. To ensure that Asiapixel continuously moves forward, she makes it a point to do a photoshoot for the stock content at least once a month. “At that point, I wouldn’t quit easily.”
It helps that their system as partners are handled smoothly. “We depend on each other. If there is a task that the other is not able to fulfill, anyone can step in and do it.” While traction for the venture is not an issue, the team faces an otherwise good problem - they had to temper with the demand for their services. Since the company is bootstrapping, the team has learned to manage their operations to mirror the flow of their finances. Due to the expensive nature of photo shoots, the team makes sure to produce content based on client requirement, and to invest in content production for images that clients will buy. “We don’t go all out, unless funds are readily available. We don’t want to be stuck with images that are not in demand.”
While the venture is founded on a need to solve a common industry problem, Eula expresses how Asiapixel is much more than that. “Asiapixel is about speaking the Asian culture. It is not about the platform, but about the content the photographers provide as well.”
Coming from her experience as a marketing professional, seeing businesses grow from zero to [wherever they are now] is a personally rewarding moment. Marketing and advertising plays a huge part in every successful company, and by providing content that is relevant, Asiapixel gets to help out in bringing the company’s message across.
On the other side, as an artist, Eula takes pride in providing an avenue for other artists to thrive. She recognizes the hardships artists face in monetizing their artwork, and considers her photographers as fellow hustlers whose work is undervalued. Through Asiapixel, Eula pushes for her belief in providing better working conditions for her photographers. “Our professional photographers earn up to 50% of the total stock photo which is higher than the usual for Shutterstock or other bigger players. They can start at 50% and then if they get to sell and submit with frequency, we put them up to 70%. We had them in mind when we put [Asiapixel] up because it’s their work. We want to give more to people who actually did the work.”
When asked about their vision for Asiapixel down the line, Eula expresses her interest in growing the number of images to over a million of quality content in bank. As they are currently bootstrapping, the venture team is open to investment, and exit is also an option “as soon as we get the [target] number, and a substantial amount of sales.”