Refuel Podcast

Kat Lu

On Refuel, I talk to business owners and entrepreneurs who are running all kinds of interesting businesses, and hear about how they started their businesses and the lessons they learned along the journey.

All Episodes

On today's episode, my guest is Suzanne Ma, who's the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Routific. Have you ever used Google Maps to optimize your route when you are trying to drive from location A to location B? Now, imagine if run a business, and you have a fleet of cars that need to stop by multiple destinations. See how planning the routes can get quite complicated? This is where Routific comes in and save the day. Routific is a startup based in Vancouver. They focus on helping businesses around the world save time and fuel with routing optimization algorithm. Since Routific was born, they've already optimized routes in more than 908 cities around the globe. Talking about making a positive impact in this world! In this chat, Suzanne shares the story of how she's transitioned from being a journalist and a published author, to a startup co-founder. She talks about how Routific helps delivery companies switch from optimizing routes with pencil and paper to adopting software. We also discussed about why the notion that married couples are unlikely to start a successful business is a misconception.

Feb 2019

34 min 12 sec

On today's episode, I got to chat with Shelley Chen, who's the co-founder of Edvisor. If you have never studied abroad, you probably haven't heard much about the international travel education industry. But in fact the international travel education is a massive industry worth billions of dollars. As a young startup company based locally in Vancouver, Edvisor is a disrupting force that's changing the way travel education industry traditionally operates. It is an online platform that connects international schools with education agents. Now, with 600 schools and 2,500 agents onboard, they are growing rapidly and set their goal to expand across the world. In this conversation, Shelly shares with us how she became an entrepreneur right after she graduated from college, her experience going through a tech startup accelerator program in New York as well as her insights on being a female entrepreneur in the tech industry.

Sep 2018

39 min 48 sec

My guest today is Ganesh Swami, the co-founder of Covalent. Covalent is a tech company that provides blockchain transaction data that cuts the noise and brings transparency to the cryptocurrency market. No matter which industry you work in, you must have heard about the emerging trends of blockchain, cryptocurrency and bitcoin. To people in the tech industry, some even claim that "it feels like the early days of the internet, web 2.0.", but to laypeople, blockchain is still a vague concept that is difficult to grasp. In this conversation, Ganesh shares with us his understanding of the blockchain technology, his entrepreneurial journey of starting two tech companies, and his vision behind Covalent. Entrepreneurship runs deep in Ganesh's blood. Covalent is the second company that Ganesh is working on. He emphasizes the importance of building a malt to defend your business in an increasingly commoditized market and why branding is crucial for growing a business. You will also get an insider scoop on his upcoming adventure to reach the Mount Everest basecamp.

Aug 2018

47 min 57 sec

On Today's show, I'm talking to Kris Hartvigsen and Justin Vallaincourt, who are the co-founders of Dooly. Headquartered in Vancouver, Dooly is a software company that aims to help sales professionals reduce time spent on administrative tasks using AI. Recently, they have raised a $2 million seed fund and have expanded to a team of 10. As the CEO and CTO of Dooly, Kris and Justin retrace the steps of why they started Dooly and how they are building Dooly to solve pain points faced by sales teams. You will get to hear their experience as tech entrepreneurs, their advice on starting a SaaS or software-as-a service business, and why instead of taking funding from the Silicon Valley, they decided to giving back to the community by hiring local talent and grow Dooly in Vancouver. We had the conversation in their awesome new office in downtown Vancouver. I apologize for the little bit of background noise during the recording, but you should still be able to hear our chat clearly. Without further ado, here's the show.

Aug 2018

43 min 54 sec

On Today's show, I'm talking to Margaret Ying, the shop owner of Once More With Love, an online planner store that sells stickers with original, hand-drawn designs. This year, Once More With Love has been listed as the 11th best selling shop on Etsy, the world's largest e-commerce platform for handmade items. Since Once More with Love's opening in 2015, the store has over 350,000 sales, 120,000 reviews and almost 50K followers on instagram. It's a sensation in the planner world and has cultivated a royal fan-base. Margaret describes herself as a hopeless romantic who draws inspirations from fairytales and the love she sees all around her. In this episode, you will get to hear the story behind how Margaret turned her passion for hand-drawn stickers into a thriving business on Etsy, and her next steps for Once More With Love. Margaret and I have also been great friends since high school, and I'm really happy to have her as my first featured guest on Refuel. Don't forget to subscribe the show at Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Jul 2018

37 min 29 sec