Today’s audience is flooded with content from every direction. Because of this, it can be time-consuming for users to find meaningful and educational content that is still short enough to listen to on a commute, work break, or other downtime. This particularly affects working mothers, who often put their careers or education on hold due to the time commitment of longer courses. The challenge is to create and curate innovative media formats that distill complex content into easily-digestible bites.
VOOX is an audio media that makes it easy to learn in 10 minute segments. With the recent entry of Clubhouse into the Japanese market, the audio market is attracting more and more attention. VOOX is uniquely positioned to offer a new experience of learning through audio outside of print or video. VOOX is looking to make learning a daily habit by making it easily accessible to everyone.
How the Concept of Growth Drives both Guihua Hong’s Personal Development and VOOX’s Mission
Spend one minute with Guihua Hong and you can’t help but be captivated by her genuine laughter and bubbly personality. Guihua is expressive and driven when it comes to detailing her experience and venture at Moon. She’s the type of entrepreneur you feel an instant connection with that makes you want to help grow her venture.
Before Moon, Guihua worked in the Mobility Unit within Mitsui & Co. selling large aviation parts across the globe. While this work was important, it didn’t connect to Guihua’s personal aspirations. Guihua was ready to explore an idea inspired by her own personal needs.
The vision she shared with Moon was clear: to create a world where people can easily enjoy learning on their own. “The idea for VOOX is what I wanted. I like to learn through listening because I find it's more efficient and you can remember more than when you read something. I like learning by listening or hearing people speaking and learning through their personal experience, it makes it more memorable and real,” Guihua said.
Guihua joined Moon on April 27, 2020, amid the pandemic. “Before the pandemic, commuters in Japan were our biggest target audience. But now that commuting time has gone down significantly due to COVID-19. Through user interviews, we discovered that our service fits best for working mothers and their lifestyle. Nothing is better than user feedback. Before getting the user feedback, all our thoughts were just assumptions,” stated Guihua. Even with the new data, Guihua was unwavering in her conviction that the world needed VOOX. “While the target audience might change, the vision for VOOX has never changed. The vocabulary may change and evolve, but the vision will not. We have always wanted to make a place where people can enjoy learning every single day.”
Since Guihua joined Moon, her journey has been full of new learnings. It comes as no surprise that her venture, empowering others to learn, is so closely aligned with her own personal growth. “If something doesn’t work out, I would accept it and see that there is always another way. If you understand that the whole process is about learning, you will always continue to try again. You have to change and adapt at every different phase. I am always learning a lot. I came to Moon and started working with so many different people and even working fully remote! I have never built a product before. I didn’t even know about the tool Figma. I didn’t know Notion. I picked up all these new skills and tools along the way!”
Not only has Guihua grown as an entrepreneur and leader, her venture has grown as well. In September, the team launched and tested their first MVP and began securing partnerships with professionals to develop educational content for the app. In just six months, the team launched the beta version of the mobile app and has since acquired over 12,000 downloads. In addition to the success Hong has seen in the number of downloads for VOOX, she was also able to convince the ex-Chief Editor of Harvard Business Review, Fumio Iwasa, to join the team as their Chief of Content.
“I have received so much support from our content creators who have helped spread the news of our service even without asking anything in return. They believe in the VOOX service! Before we released our app, we didn’t think this would happen. Once we released VOOX, we asked the content creators to release the news through email and SNS. But now I saw some of the content creators start doing it without me even having to ask them to share. That made me and my team feel highly encouraged, that what we are building is a real human want and need!”
Building a venture during an unpredictable year is one experience no one could have ever imagined, but Guihua’s light heart and grit makes her stand out as a resilient entrepreneur. “I think the most important thing is that I convinced myself that I'm not perfect. Everyone is not perfect. After I accepted that fact, I have been much more comfortable with myself. Before I thought I had needed to do everything perfectly, and I realized I just can’t do it all. There are so many things that I don’t know and I need to learn and that’s okay. After I had acknowledged that I am not perfect, then I am much more comfortable with the uncomfortable than I was before. My experience learning as an entrepreneur has taught me to embrace new things and challenges and always learn from doing.”
“If something doesn’t work out, I would accept it and see that there is always another way. If you understand that the whole process is about learning, you will always continue to try again.”
Guihua Hong Chemical Industry Mitsui & Co. Ltd.
Bryan Ma Chihiro Konno Maiya Wiester Matt Phillips Ryoji Mitsuhashi Shingo Nishimori (Mori Mori) Ted Ko
Mary Ann Gallo