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Updated: Jul 27, 2020

Mr. Hung Tran, Co-founder & CTO of Got It, Inc.

Source: Nexus FrontierTech: Ideal product development team for a successful startup

Got It, Inc. is an excellent example for the idiom: “Fire proves gold, adversity proves men.” and many people would be surprised by its success. Among thousands of startups in Silicon Valley, Got It, Inc., an educational platform founded by Hung Tran, a Vietnamese entrepreneur, has successfully survived and thrived in the fierce competition here. Which factors have contributed to the growth and success of Got It? Had it not been for the enthusiasm for computer science, technology, experiences, and relationships of Hung Tran, Got It's Co-founder & CTO, would the company have appeared as an efficient assistant for students?

To address those questions, we had an exclusive interview with Mr. Tran. Following is the excerpt from the interview.

VietChallenge: As Got It, Inc. becomes one of the most popular educational platforms worldwide, would you please share with us some detailed information about the company?

Hung Tran: Got It, Inc. is the AI-based Knowledge as a Service (KaaS) platform and on top of it, we have been building different products serving different user groups. For example, there is an education app PhotoStudy for students seeking help with homework as quickly as possible via smartphone. PhotoStudy, a top 2 education platform in the U.S. App Store after Itunes U, officially provides services for more than 200 universities in the United States. When there is a question, this system will connect users to one of the most suitable professors to answer your query. The entire process is within 10 minutes. Such a convenient and efficient system! By having this app, students can register to ask a significant amount of questions in a free trial, which is easier for them to rate the system. Even though students will eventually need to subscribe to continue using the app, the fee is lower than other educational applications. Not only a non-cut-throat platform, but PhotoStudy also has become a primary income for many experts. If you know Got It, Inc., you would be familiar with ExcelChat, another excellent product which is knowledge as a service for office workers. Moreover, Got It, Inc. is known for the development of QueryChat AI for data scientists, a Natural Language Platform (NLP), and deep learning based on the Google BERT model with over 3,5 million words to avoid the limitation of Question and Answer on searching.

VietChallenge: How did you come up with the idea of establishing Tutor Universe (Got It, Inc. former name)?

Hung Tran: I did a lot of tutoring at The University of Iowa, and did not have time to respond to all of the students that made requests for tutoring sessions. I realized an imbalance between supply and demand from tutors and students. My co-founder said that they saw a market that badly needed a better means of communication and facilitation in order to meet the growing demand for tutors in higher education. Hence, I came up with an online tutoring platform: Tutor Universe (the first name of Got It, Inc.). In a tiny scorching room in McLean Hall, Iowa City, the first server for Tutor Universe was built. In 2011, Tutor Universe was discussed and launched in Iowa from a fast-food restaurant to libraries or honors center. Then in 2013, I decided to bring his potential enterprise to Silicon Valley - a holy land for technological startups. Despite the challenges, I and the other five colleagues have done wonders. We had successfully connected to Peter Relan, a business titan who owns a vast startups garden in the United States. The team received an arduous task from Peter Relan: Study and transfer the new website to mobile format in a month. And that was the first appearance of the Got It mobile application. “To convince Peter to be a chairman and CEO for Got It, Inc., it was a complicated task for the whole team. We had to spend a couple of months discussing with him. Consequently, Peter accepted to work with us since he believed that Got It, Inc. has a tremendous opportunity to develop.”

Mr. Hung Tran & Mr. Peter Relan

Source: Vietnam Economic Times: GotIt! has a new CEO

VietChallenge: During the period of building and bolstering Got It, what difficulties have you encountered? Are those obstacles part of Got Its' success?

Hung Tran: The office was moved from various places in Iowa to California, with twenty staff working in its first head office in Silicon Valley. Additionally, six other staff passionately worked and bolstered the Got It to platform in a small office in De La Thanh, Ha Noi. There was an applicant who came for a job interview. After a glance at the office, he walked away without a word. Perhaps that funny event had motivated me to invest in a more modernly well-designed office for 20 workers, based on the style of the head office in Silicon Valley. After merely 20 times moving and extending the office, Got It has ended up in Burlingame, California, the United States, and HCMCC Tower in Thuy Khue, Ha Noi, Vietnam. To achieve the goal of success, facing difficulties is inevitable, but it also challenges the endurance and authenticates passions of startups. It was not an exception for our team; we have to deal with many problems to bring Got It closer to customers from location, strategy, and content platform to human resources. Even though the number of applications is up to 1000 persons, 98% do not meet the requirement since most of them are not capable of utilizing English dexterously. No matter how hard it was, Got It finally has 20 staff and appeals to funds of 9 million USD from Silicon Valley at the end of the year 2016.

Office space in Ha Noi

Source: Glassdoor: Got It Office Photos

VietChallenge: Recently, you are establishing STEAM for Vietnam as a non-profit organization. What is your vision of this organization and how does it help startups and technology in Vietnam?

Hung Tran: STEAM knowledge and skills are increasingly crucial now and in the future. Through STEAM for Vietnam Foundation, we would like to bring all the best Vietnamese people who are currently working on STEAM fields from all over the world to teach and organize related activities for people in Vietnam, starting with teaching coding for kids. Mr. “We believe that if kids are introducing STEAM at a young age they can create breakthrough technologies in the future.” I saw the titans of the tech industry like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, who all started learning to code around the age of 10. In fact, I don't expect everyone will be working in the tech sector in the future but the skills and knowledge, especially problem solving and computational thinking ones will help them be a lot more productive and efficient in whatever career path they pursue. “I strongly believe that the young generations will be the ones who make Vietnam known in the World's technology map.”

Facebook: STEAM for Vietnam

VietChallenge: “As you have followed VietChallenge for many years, what have you thought as frequent mistakes and misconceptions from startups?”

Hung Tran: I see that many people still think that creating a startup is to get rich quickly, meanwhile, they do not understand its risks thoroughly. Additionally, most of them consider the fundings they get from investors is their own money! In reality, it's totally the opposite. Founding a startup to create new products or services is very difficult and 90% will fail. Also, fundings from investors are for growing the business, making it more valuable, not for the personal use of the founders.

VietChallenge: Thank you so much for this amazing conversation!

Got It and the stories of Mr. Hung Tran are the answer to the question: How can Got It overcome these obstacles? Never stop putting efforts, acknowledging one's own strength and weakness, and not giving up is how Got It overcomes adversity and achieves its success. Thank you Mr. Hung Tran for participating in this interview with VietChallenge.


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