Be flexible. We live in a changing world, new solutions are always needed in this environment.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Aidaa Wong. Aidaa Wong is a serial entrepreneur in the artificial intelligence and blockchain sectors. Since 2015, Aidaa and her co-founder have successfully managed a big data and AI tech company for personal luxury goods. The company creates solutions for price transparency, buyer-seller efficiency and security, product authenticity and sustainability using AI and blockchain technologies.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Thanks for inviting me to share my story with you. I found my passion in fashion since I was young. Hence, I studied Fashion Design for my Bachelor’s Degree at Central Saint Martins in London. I also hold a Master’s Degree in Fashion Womenswear from Royal College of Art in London.
Immediately after graduation, I started working for Max Mara Fashion Group as a fashion designer in Italy. After returning home to Hong Kong, I helped multiple fashion groups to establish several fashion brands in Hong Kong and Mainland China, and held position as the Creative Director and Chief Designer. I have been invited as a guest art director and guest stylist by international fashion magazines and a visiting lecturer at the university in Hong Kong. I have more than 11 years experience in the luxury brands and fashion industries.
In 2015, I co-founded Luxsens with Kenny Au, a big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tech company for personal luxury goods. Our company has also obtained government and VC funding such as SOSV, which also invested in BITMEX, a leading crypto currency exchange. We created the world‘s first AI driven Global Luxury Index that analyzes millions of personal luxury goods data from different sales and social channels worldwide. It estimates the selling price and market trends for new and second-hand personal luxury products.
Most sellers and buyers simply do not know the value of their luxury products, which means they lose out on the best deals. By using the index, the product owners know the current worth of the luxury goods they own. In a case they decide to sell such product, it is important to know the best selling price to offer for a favorable deal, know when, where and what are the best sales channels to sell the product at the highest conversion rate. Buyers will be able to recognize good deals worldwide across different sales channels, both online and offline. We have profiled over 600 merchants from over 22 countries worldwide. We have a strong team of 25 members and are looking to grow in the future.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
We are currently working on the Luxchain project. Whenever my cofounder and I work on a project, we always think of the ”why” first.
Over $3 trillion worth of personal luxury goods sold in the last twenty years are sitting in people’s closets. Likewise over $460 billion worth of counterfeits have been sold in the past years. In the current secondary luxury goods market, buyers are unable to tell whether the products they are purchasing are authentic or counterfeit. This also means that sellers have a harder time winning the trust of buyers who are wary of counterfeits.
With blockchain technology, the project will expand to include a decentralized verification solution for personal luxury products and data. The blockchain project is called Luxchain, it was created by the original team members at Luxsens. Luxchain offers the world’s first Global Luxury Index and Decentralized Verification Solutions for personal luxury goods, backed by artificial intelligence via incorporating Luxsens technologies. It aims to work with the community, authentication experts, luxury goods owners and merchants to digitize valuable luxury goods information on the blockchain (i.e. Digital Assets: a portfolio containing verified product information and history, authenticated by experts). Product data can no longer be manipulated by centralized giants, giving a new level of transparency to sellers and buyers alike. The Global Luxury Index powered by AI benchmarks the best selling and buying prices, market trends and market demands for luxury goods. It also informs sellers and buyers of the optimal sales channels to find the best deals or make the highest profits.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Of course, I remain grateful for meeting Kenny Au. At the time when I met him, Kenny was leading the e-commerce operations at Brand Off Tokyo (a pre-owned luxury goods retailer in the world with 65 stores at the time). At that time, there was a huge demand from Chinese consumers. However, the biggest challenge for the stores was that Chinese shoppers are price sensitive. As a result, over 100 million Chinese shoppers travel outside of China to shop for luxury goods every year. 70% of luxury goods purchases made by Chinese consumers occur outside China.
Kenny and I discussed about the ideas for months and prototyped different products, including building a comparison shopping engine luxsens.com at the time. We provided ‘reserve’ as well as ‘buy it now’ models for the consumers, so they could discover products in specific cities, reserve products before traveling, or had see-now buy-now door-to-door online shopping service.
Over 400,000 live inventory across different countries. We’ve been doing this for 3 years already. We receive not just internal data from our own platforms but also external product and customer data from other sales channels. At that moment, we realized we had something very powerful. We commenced building our business intelligence platform, and started providing data analytics to luxury goods merchants around the world to help them in carrying out transactions and selling their products.
We now have the most sought after technology in the world. Last year, we got offers of acquisition from a big boxed luxury merchant but we decided to delay the process, because this proprietary technology is the catalyst to reinventing the business model in the secondary luxury goods market. We have decided to grow it further in blockchain and have been fortunate enough to be backed by Draper Dragon, a well known investment firm who’s invested in Telegram, Vechain, Sentinel Protocol, etc.
We will be raising additional funding to accelerate our growth by educating the community, the luxury goods merchants, sellers and buyers about utilizing AI and Blockchain technologies in creating a whole new luxury economy through digital assets.
As a result of all these, the Luxchain Foundation was born.
What are the 5 things that most excites you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
- Blockchain’s decentralized nature, compared with the current traditional centralized system, it makes society fairer as it takes control away from powerful corporations.
- The level of security it guarantees, provides a reliable environment for all parties.
- All parties can see transactions transparently, eliminating fears and doubts.
- Cryptocurrency enables the different parties in a transaction to figuratively cross borders without having to worry about fees or tariffs
- Lastly, what excites me is its ability to create a platform based on mutual trust for a decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace, bringing the world closer together.
What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
1. Flash crashes (cryptocurrencies plummet in value suddenly). The volatility of the crypto market is really something to worry about. It raises fears and doubts in the minds of investors.
2. Cryptocurrency exchange hacks and lack of investor protection. At least 3 dozen heists of Cryptocurrency exchanges and many hacked ones are shut down. As the technology keeps advancing, there are those who work hard to sabotage its success, the technology no doubt has some high level of security but there’s room for more improvement.
3. Scam projects. There have been over 1000 failed blockchain projects already in 2018. They raise ICOs and then crash, making away with millions in money, ICO has become negative in the eyes of some investors.
4. Lack of cryptocurrency knowledge among the general public. The absence of proper education has made newcomers in the blockchain and crypto industry easy targets for scammers. It is crucial that people are well educated especially on crypto to foster the quick adoption of digital currencies. Without increased awareness, more frauds will continue to hurt the community.
5. Government regulation, but I think that’s a good thing, the regulation will bring to crypto is positive. It will create trust. When investors know that an ICO is regulated, they’ll feel more confident about buying the coins. Scam projects out, keep good projects.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
Our company brings goodness to the world by educating luxury goods sellers and consumers about extending the life cycle of luxury goods. We are creating a solution for price transparency, buyer-seller efficiency and security, product authenticity and sustainability using AI and blockchain technologies.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
1. Keep learning. I came from a fashion background, now in the tech industry, even though it’s still related to fashion and luxury brands, I still have a lot to learn during the whole journey.
2. Be open minded. I meet and work with people from different fields. We learn from each other and inspire each other. It’s always beneficial for me to learn new things from great minds.
3. Be flexible. We live in a changing world, new solutions are always needed in this environment.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Among all the people in the industry, I would love to meet Satoshi Nakamoto. Despite his mysterious identity, I would love to have a meal with him and hear the motives behind the creation of Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology has spurred a new direction for how we can transfer value without centralization. I am especially intrigued to hear how such a revolutionary technology came to be by the inventor himself. I believe that decentralization will always be needed and the technology will continue to be adopted by the world.
Originally published at medium.com