Glints Co-founder Oswald Yeo On Connecting and Upskilling Young Talents Across Asia
The co‑founder and CEO of talent ecosystem Glints discusses his desire to help the workforce upskill and achieve their fullest potential
Career discovery and development platform Glints was established in 2015 “to bridge the gap between education and employment as well as solve the problem of talent shortages,” shares co‑founder Oswald Yeo. “We began very humbly by getting people to sign up for internships and companies to sign up for interns using Google Forms. We personally interviewed each candidate and employer, and matched them up.”
Yeo was only 21 then, and as someone who dropped out of college to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams, he understood the need to upskill and consistently better oneself—and the company’s goals began to shift a few years down the road.
“We didn’t realise it at the time, but we were chipping away at something bigger. We weren’t just creating a job agency, we were creating an ecosystem for any young professional to be equipped with the tools and resources they need to be empowered and take charge of their careers,” Yeo says. “We realised that professionals don’t care about the internship itself. What they care more about is improving their skill set, gaining work experience and taking that experience to find better future job prospects.”
True enough, this is the ethos that has guided the company over the past few years as it grew to become an end‑to‑end talent recruitment platform with more than 3.5 million professionals and 50,000 employers.
It has also established itself in five markets: Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan. It has its eye set on the Philippines next and it will use part of the US$50 million Series D funding it raised in August to make this happen.
Yeo shares more about his journey with Glints.
Glints has brought meaningful impact to job-seekers and businesses in emerging markets. Every hour, there are thousands of job applications happening on the platform. Every month, millions of dollars in earned income go to talents in emerging markets through our ecosystem.
We enable the 100 million professionals in Southeast Asia to grow in their careers and access job opportunities from around the world. We enable small and medium businesses and corporates in Southeast Asia and from all around the world to hire the right talent anywhere in Southeast Asia, in turn allowing them to achieve their own mission.
My biggest challenge was navigating the steep learning curve. Glints was not just my first company but also my first job. When we first started, we faced a lot of rejections, particularly from investors. We had to go door to door to sell our services and onboard employers onto our platform.
My first big success was figuring out a repeatable model that I could scale. We set a goal of making our first 1,000 matches between candidates and employers in 2018, and we achieved it.
One of our proudest moments as a team was when we heard about the story of Rangga, an Indonesian man who joined one of our skills development programmes, Glints Academy. At the time, he was working part-time as a dishwasher to help provide for his family, but after graduating from our three-month programme, he found his dream job as a [software] developer with one of our [partner companies]. Such stories of impact inspire us and keep us going.
The name “Glints” came about from a combination of words. We combined the words “graduate” and “internships” to create the name because Glints was first a place for internship matching.
We have many projects in the pipeline. We want to invest more in our mobile application to enable job discovery on the go. We also want to double down on cross‑border recruiting to connect Southeast Asian talents to the world.