FINANCIAL SERVICES | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Singapore

Media veteran Yvonne Tay sets up an alternative-funding site for the creative industry

Loretta Chen’s ‘Secret to Happiness’ is a major project.

Great ideas often cannot maximise potential reach or achieve sufficient funding to materialise. Nor has there been a platform where communities, corporates and creators can come together to create something worthwhile. Yvonne Tay, a 40-year-old media veteran for 18 years came up with a solution. She founded in 2015 a crowdfunding site Gofiee. It is a one-stop platform for the creative industry, which includes campaigns by local personalities, Loretta and Edmund Chen, National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita, and others.

“By having corporates come on a digital platform to spot and sponsor projects alongside the crowd, Gofiee is providing more than one way to help creative people accelerate their fundraising process,” said Yvonne.

She explained that at Gofiee, distributors such as TV channels and online content providers can use the platform to identify projects they can collaborate with.

“Gofiee is the meeting point for Creators, Community and Corporate Sponsors,” she said.

Yvonne previously served as the senior vice president and general manager of FOX International Channels in Singapore, where she looked after the operations and profit and loss for the company’s 40 TV brands, including National Geographic Channel, where she first started. She led the company in many localisation strategies transforming global brands into well-loved TV brands for Singapore.

Yvonne was appointed as one of the advisory board of directors for Media Authority Board (MDA) in Singapore when they launched the first “Singapore Media Festival” in 2014.

With more than 18 years of experience in the media industry, Yvonne often gets approached by creative personnels to link them up with corporate sponsors and vice versa. Her sharp business acumen has led her to create Gofiee.

Yvonne currently travels between Singapore and Oxford, United Kingdom, where her husband is pursuing a PhD in Oriental Studies. Despite being a busy businesswoman and mother to two children, Yvonne still has time to contribute to the community where she has recently been appointed trustee of WildAid Charitable Trust to promote wildlife conservation issues around the world.

Yvonne was based mostly in Oxford, UK, when she was setting up the business, while her working team, clients, and network are in Asia. Working remotely alone from her dining room, constantly talking to herself, and waiting for emails in a different time zone can all be very challenging. Coming from a very comfortable and high profile position in the corporate world, struggling with the smallest of things that trouble Yvonne in her own business makes her feel like she is starting all over again.

“It is very humbling and takes a lot of self-motivation. But I am learning a lot everyday and the journey has been very fulfilling,” she said.

How does Gofiee work?

Gofiee claims of revolutionising the way traditional marketers and brand managers source for and invest in projects, even before they materialise.

“Gofiee bridges the gap between corporates and creators, and widens a campaign’s community,” said Yvonne.

Yvonne explained that as corporations partner with entertaining and empowering projects, Gofiee supports companies’ branding, marketing and corporate social responsibility objectives and connects them with the underrated creative scene.

“Of course, creators have access to resources and funding that was previously out of their reach. Unlike today’s crowdfunding giants, Gofiee works very closely with our creators, she added.

As a brand new online platform that handpicks and curates their projects, Gofiee is currently working with individuals like renowned NatGeo photographer Mike Yamashita, one of Asia’s most inspiring women Loretta Chen, and Uprosa, which is a rising UK design brand created by Cambridge and Oxford graduates.

The story of Loretta Chen's campaign, "Secrets To Happiness," was recently picked up by ContentAsia and Television Asia Plus. Yvonne notes that the success of this campaign will mark a new point in Singapore's media history as it will be the nation's first crowdfunded travelogue about Bhutan.

Gofiee is also in the process of putting up new campaigns with other notable individuals and groups.

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