You might not know this, but the annual SXSW festival held in Austin, Texas, is not just about music. The festival also holds events such as exhibitions and their very own Trade Show, which “hosts a diverse range of forward thinking exhibitors — from promising startups, to established industry leaders”. And this year, 13 of our very own Singaporean representatives are at the event to showcase their work to the rest of the world.
One team that has caught our attention is Will Fan and Fei Yao, the duo behind online startup QLC (which stands for Quarter Life Crisis). They graduated from the JFDI Accelerate Programme in Singapore this January, and were finalists at Tyro.VC in February. They’re also currently listed on Betalist.
What is QLC?
“QLC focuses on career discovery for millennials. We are a hybrid between online education and practical upskilling. So we focus on connecting our core customers, the millennials, with innovative startups or non-profits who need their talent for short term projects. We also provide them with the training, mentoring and toolkit to support the work,” explained Fei when asked how QLC works.
New projects are released weekly, offering short-term opportunities that last between 4 to 6 weeks. These projects require only around 5 to 10 hours of commitment per week, so users get to learn about a separate industry while carrying on with their day jobs. While the platform doesn’t eliminate the tedium of sending out résumés individually, they do at least help users to understand which kinds of jobs they’re really passionate about after having been involved in some of QLC’s programmes.
To enjoy the services that QLC provide, users simply pay a small registration fee, following which an invitation will be sent to you to RSVP. You can then begin your foray into new industries and careers you are passionate about.
The QLC Golden Ticket
This is an exciting breakthrough for the job market, because it acknowledges the sad reality that people in the modern era are facing job dissatisfaction and pursuing education solely for monetary purposes.
And what QLC is offering is a golden ticket for us to have the best of both worlds. Their virtual projects not only allow you to have hands-on involvement in startups or established businesses remotely, but you will also be able to do it in your own time.
When asked about what the online experience is like, Fei answered, “[Registrants get] online learning material to support your work for the particular startup. You have the chance to work with the founder who will give you really interesting insights into the particular industry you get into. You also get to connect with other participants enrolled in the same project, so you connect with a global community of like-minded people.”
She basically read off my mental checklist of a perfect job. Check, check, and check.
As for what registrants can do in preparation for the jobs? They can expect a multimedia curriculum, and depending on the project, one could take part in online classroom discussion, watch interactive videos, read, and/or engage in the conventional webinar.
Who says Singaporeans have lost our enterprising spirit?
QLC saw vast potential in the tiny island of Singapore, and found the local community to be very entrepreneurial by nature. Fei explained:
“We incubated in Singapore with JFDI and then decided to stay because we like the ecosystem and have integrated well into the community.”
A lot of support is given to startups, providing them with opportunities to promote their businesses — such as this trip to SXSW and the Tyro.VC show. As such, Singapore has been known to have one of the most conducive environments for budding entrepreneurs. In fact, of the 250 businesses listed on QLC, about half are made up of local startups.
And that’s only on the business end. With over 3000 candidates signed up on their platform within their first 5 months of launching, you can tell people are slowly but steadily embracing the idea that they can make a difference, and they can work at something that they love.
While the projects initiated by startups and non-profits are most likely offered on a voluntary basis, many of them are making use of this platform to look for their first hires. And the fact that they are able to do this is a clear sign that many people are willing to step out of their financially secure lifestyles for their passions. The founders of QLC clearly exhibit this courage as well, and hope for others to do the same.
“Most of our businesses are based in Southeast Asia at the moment as we are based in Singapore. We are also helping to connect global candidates from typically more mature markets like the US, the UK, and Australia with businesses from emerging markets. My co-founder and I are both Australian so we see the value and trend in wanting to experience the Asian market,” said Fei.
And they are not stopping there. In the near future, QLC intends to build more exciting projects for their enrolled candidates. Their presence at SXSW has already caught the attention of a number of new innovative start-ups, who will join the eclectic mix of projects already available.
The duo will also start fundraising efforts for seed investments this April.