Vietnamese 8X is on American newspaper thanks to this creative model which connects immigrant community – Dantri.com.vn
- by- admin
- 14 Oct 2015
An America’s prestige newspaper, Bloomberg once introduced a new utility, useful for immigrants around the world to America, named Greenhandshake. The founder of this model is Son Nguyen – a Vietnamese man
The idea to start a business comes from personal impasse
Son Hoang Nguyen graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Informatics and Computer Engineering from Russian State Technological University and moved to the US to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration specializing in Information Technology Management and International Business, at California Lutheran University in 2009.
After graduation, Son once participated in product development technology with Harvard University and experienced, through a number of industries such as import-export, e-commerce and finance, before starting the business, Greenhandshake.
The idea of founding Greenhandshake – a community network connecting the United States with people immigrating overseas to the US, formed when he decided to stay in America to work as he faced numerous barriers in paperwork as well as lack of information.
As a student, sources of information mainly came from friends, but this time, Son realized that everyone was in the same situation with him, and could only try to share pieces of experience they collected by themselves.
“When you have to start integrating with a completely new life, new lands and new language … then even the tiniest things sometimes became difficult. Lack of information is the most dangerous thing. Then I wonder, is there any way to find someone who had walked the same road with you that can share his experiences, procedures, etc., ” Son said.
At that time, the Vietnamese boy immediately thought of a certain paid service for procedure advisory, because in the long term, it would help to save lots of time and money. But he could not see any current services which could meet that need.
Thus, Son rushed to fulfill his dream to build a Vietnamese product to become an effective tool for immigrant communities in the United States from countries all over the world.
In 2014, Son invested $50,000 to build Greenhandshake using the model of sharing business. Unlike traditional advisory channels, this model has played a mediating role in classifying and connecting fellow newcomers in America.
Besides consulting on various topics over the Internet, immigrant communities also have the opportunity to connect directly with each other through real-life jobs such as transportation, tour guide, tutor, etc. Once in the United States, immigrants need help with even the simple things, such as airport transfers, driver’s licenses, university enrollment procedures, studying advice, etc., to immigration paperwork problems.
Although Greenhandshake has been running for almost one year, it has gathered more than 1,000 members covering all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. Although it was never promoted outside of the US, every month this model received more than 10 requests to help new immigrants and students outside of the US.
The model would be “dead” without the sharing method
As a completely new model, when Son Hoang Nguyen founded Greenhandshake, he had to start from scratch. There were many concerns for Son, such as outsourced algorithms; how to connect immigrants back and manage them in general; how they were to pay; or how to manage participants comfortably and safely as well. There were times when the website was almost complete, but there was still an error in a certain step. Son had to correct all of that from the start.
Another major difficulty was capital. Initially, Son had come to the US company’s IT to seek support, but they required a lot of money for the start-up project up front. IT companies in Vietnam did not want to take a risk with a new project like this either.
Greenhandshake is appreciated because every year in the US there are thousands of new ideas. It was born to serve everyone, but there have been no technology products dedicated to serve the immigrant community, whether those immigrants are Americans and they are sensitive subjects, or if they need help the most.
This network brings to light new ideas that should become infectious to other companies, such as the sharing of help for those that need it. On the other hand, Greenhandshake can also offset the deficiencies of the non-profit models.
Son give an example, “I’d love to put matters such as, someone greets me at the airport and directs the way to rental accommodation is normal, but when it comes to money, both helpers and people in need of help are very cautious in this matter.”
People who help find it embarrassing to suggest payment in cash; they also help with willingness and do not know how much money is enough, and the people who need help suffer the risk of authentication information. They do not know the helpers or how to behave. Therefore, there should be an intermediary standing between to handle this matter.”
Explaining the name Greenhandshake, Son explained: Greenhandshake is made up of two words: “green” and “handshake“. “Green” symbolizes the color green, which is a symbol of youth and hope and familiar to immigrants in America as the Green Card – a symbol of freedom; and “handshake” as a symbol of cooperation.
“I chose the word handshake. Throughout history, handshake is the culture of both the East and the West as a symbol of cooperation. And I think it fits the criteria of Greenhandshake, which is an appreciated collaboration and sharing. Lacking of money cannot kill this model. But this model will die without helping mindset of the immigrant community, ” Son confirmed.
Talking about the initially successful entrepreneur story in America, Son, said, “Many people say I cannot afford the money or I will give many reason to delay. But I think that it is because they are lack of ambition. If we really love or passion with the work, these barriers can be erased.”
Starting a business is not about chasing that business or project immediately, even when their project is lacking of capital and experience. It is about how you concern and manage to find the most viable solutions for this situation and try your best ways to make it come true .”
Le Thu – Reporter of Dantri.com.vn
(Translated by Thanh Bui)
- by- admin
- 20 Sep 2015
ICTnews: There have been many activities supporting immigrants in the US are deployed through websites, social networks. Greenhandshake is being rated as one of the most effective tools to support millions of immigrants. The founder of this start-up is Son Hoang Nguyen, a former international students who came to the US in 2009, alone.
Greenhandshake is an effective tool for millions of immigrants throughout the US
It is estimated that every year more than 1 million immigrants and 900,000 students come to the United States. Many people are having problems with the visa procedures, school advising, or airport transportation. Typically, immigrants learn about America from online forums via Internet, social networks, or through the services of a consulting firm. However, information on forums and social networks, like Facebook, often get a lot of answers which are hardly authentic, and consulting firms or consulting services charge fees that are way too high.
Being a former student who traveled alone to the US to study in 2009, Son Hoang Nguyen understands all of the potential difficulties others may face. The start-up technology model Greenhandshake.com officially deployed operations in December 2014, by Son Hoang Nguyen, to connect the expatriate community living in the US, with immigrant people coming from all over the world.
Talking to ICTnews, Son Hoang Nguyen, founder of start-up Greenhandshake said, “Greenhandshake operates on a shared economic model. The ones who need assistance can post their information with a certain fee. People who have the ability to help, may bid for the implementation of the aid charge. This type is new in Vietnam and abroad. But there are companies that have been particularly successful with this model such as Uber and Airbnb. Before starting the work, I have carefully analyzed the strengths of the model when applied to the idea of Greenhandshake.”
“This is the new technology targeting to the community from all the world who enter the US. And the first task of Greenhandshake will be an effective tool for the overseas Vietnamese community in Vietnam,” Nguyen Hoang Son shared.
Greenhandshake has been appreciated, because every year in the US there are thousands of new ideas born to serve everyone. However, there has been no product-specific technology that supports the immigrant community, whether those immigrants are Americans and they are sensitive subjects, or they are the ones who need help the most.
Great development potential of a start-up
Son Hoang Nguyen received his bachelor’s degree in Informatics and Computer Engineering at the Russian State Technological University. He then moved to the US to obtain a Master’s in Business Administration specializing in Management Information Technology (IT Management). Following that, he worked for a short period of time to develop a single-product technology with Harvard University. But what drives Son Hoang Nguyen is the business and economic model, rather than pure technology.
When embarking on project Greenhandshake, Son Hoang Nguyen soon realized that the technology was not the problem, but the main problem was financial capability. Initially, Son went to the US company’s IT department to seek their support, but they required a large investment for a start-up project. Son returned to Vietnam to seek support in the hope of reducing the initial cost. However, the small IT companies in Vietnam did not want to take the risk of a new project that fond of processing products which was already available or copy a similar product on the market. But little bigger companies are being paid higher than the actual price. Finally, Son was able to obtain affordable support from an Indian team, and was able to risk pursuing projects from ground-zero, and repair or rework until he was able to find a solution for his start-up.
So far, Greenhandshake has gathered more than 1,000 members in over 50 overseas Vietnamese-American states, including Hawaii and Alaska. Eighty percent of the members are students from the student council at many universities across America.
“On average, every month Greenhandshake.com receives 10 requests for assistance. Who need help the most are the people in Vietnam over the US as a preparation for study and to settle down. With the current capacity, the ability to meet to support the proposal of the members Greenhanshake.com is approximately 35-40% of the posts. Greenhandshake has versions for mobile. And depending on the level of development, the latter would switch to the application (app),” Son Hoang Nguyen said.
In the context of people moving between countries with more and more frequency, projects supporting immigrants are expected to become one segment of potential for business projects, especially models starting a business. And Greenhandshake will continue to be further improved to increase its capacity to meet the needs of the market.
“Around the end of September, 2015, Greenhandshake will complete the Vietnamese version and began officially promoting in Vietnam. Quite a lot people in Vietnam consider Greenhandshake as a good project; however, they complain that the current English language is still confusing. After expanding in the local market, the Greenhandshake model will be developed into 10 countries, which have the largest number of students who come to the US, especially the Asian countries, and have the same Vietnamese characteristics like China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Our dream is that Greenhandshake, which is a product of Vietnam, becomes the indispensable tool of US immigrants,” Son Hoang Nguyen shared.
Greenhandshake is composed of two words: “green” and “handshake”. In particular, “green” refers to the color green, a symbol of youth and hope, as well as immigrants in America know the Green Card as a symbol of freedom; and “handshake”, which symbolizes cooperation.
Binh Minh – Reporter of ICTnews.vn
(Translated by Thanh Bui)
Nhip Cau Dau Tu – Vietnamese Business Magazine emphasizes the high potential tech start-up of Greenhandshake to immigrant communities in US
- by- admin
- 23 Aug 2015
Greenhandshake connects immigrant communities in the US
“Each year more than 1 million immigrants come to America. But now, Greenhandshake is the first place that listens and connects the immigrants to the people they need”, Son Nguyen said.
Bloomberg News is introducing a new utility for immigrants. Greenhandshake.com is the technology start-up model that helps to connect immigrant communities who are living in the US with immigrants from other countries all over the world. Through Greenhandshake, newcomers can ask fellow countrymen to support first difficulties such as visa procedures, consulting for choosing schools for children or even airport transportation. Based on a sharing economic model, Greenhandshake will charge a fee for each service. However, the Greenhandshake’s fee is lower than other consulting companies because it is done via auction.
Operating in December 2014, Greenhandshake has already gathered more than 1,000 Vietnamese national residents from 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. Although Greenhandshake has never been broadcast outside of the US, this model always receives over 10 requests from new immigrants and students every month. According to Son Hoang Nguyen, Founder of Greenhandshake, his start-up has absolutely believed in its potential development in the long term. “Each year more than 1 million immigrants come to America. But now, Greenhandshake is the first place that listens and connects the immigrants to the people they need”, Son Nguyen said.
Only immigrants can truly understand each other
Greenhandshake was established from Son Nguyen’s experiences on the immigrating route to America. In 2009, Son Nguyen came to America alone for his Master’s degree and was determined to set up a business here. At that time, Son Nguyen took all means possible to prepare for the long trip. As many other students, he learned about the United States through three channels: internet forums, Facebook and a consulting company. On forums and Facebook, any questions often got a lot of answers, but were hardly authentic source. “I was confused with gloomy information on Facebook and forums, so finally I had to take a lot of money looking for the consulting company”, Son Nguyen remembered.
According to Son Nguyen, because the consultants hadn’t had experience in overseas study and were concerned only with documents, they hardly provided useful information despite charging a lot of money. Due to many unplanned problems arising, it took a while to adjust to his new life when he moved to California. In order to immigrate to the US, immigrants were limited by many barriers, such as lack of information for a job, sponsors or asking for visa issuance.
“It’s strange that when I said about immigrant’s difficulties, Americans are always surprised. But they encouraged me to do something to help another one”, Son Nguyen remembered.
Therefore, Son invested $50,000 to build Greenhandshake according to sharing economic model in 2014. Different from traditional consulting channels, this start-up takes the part of the connector who classifies and links the newcomers with fellow countryman in the US. Besides being able to consult through the Internet, immigrant communities have opportunities to connect directly with others through a welcome-pick up, tour guide, tutor, etc.
Greenhandshake operates similar to a task exchange. In the spirit of community, the group should work (the side who wants the help) will always be higher than the group posted on (the side who needs the help). Therefore, during the first year of operation, Son Nguyen only focused on immigrants who were willing to help their communities.
Eighty percent of the 1,000 current members of Greenhandshake are students at many universities in the US. With 1,000 current members, Son expects to support around 35-40% of requests that are posted on Greenhandshake in the coming months.
Greenhandshake applies a bid format, but competition will not be eliminated entirely. “Based on the proposed price by the buyer, members will bid. But they will not see each other’s prices to override the price down,” Son Nguyen said.
According to him, the low price comes with poor service. However, the members freely proposed the price that they think suitable with quality services provided.
For example, if the service is an airport pickup, the service supplier will get three different prices from the members of Greenhandshake, depending on the means of transportation (bus, car or car comes with the consult for choosing school). After selecting the suitable price, the buyer will be paid through a bank transfer or PayPal. Only when the work is completed and the buyer’s satisfaction is confirmed, will this amount be transferred from Greenhandshake to its recipients. If not, the buyer will be reimbursed 100% of the money. Greenhandshake has just completed the upgrade of a Chinese version; it also intends to boost services, and focuses on the Vietnam, China and Taiwan markets.
In response to questions that Greenhandshake will take profits from 20% retention fees on each completed service, Son Nguyen hesitated, “I just think that taking a 20% fee is enough for maintaining the system, not including profit.” However, he smiled and pointed to the turquoise logo of his start-up. “Two hands grabbed each other in a heart that was the mission I founded Greenhandshake. Lack of money does not kill the model, but this start-up will die without the big heart of the immigrant communities to help each other.”
Doan Hoa – Reporter of Nhipcaudautu.vn
(Translated by Thanh Bui)
First few days of the Year of the Goat bring good news to Greenhandshake. Bloomberg Business has selected Greenhanshake to introduce to readers all around the world.
- by- admin
- 25 Feb 2015
Greenhandshake: Helping Newcomers to the U.S. Find the Help They Need
An innovative online marketplace is helping newcomers to the U.S. to find the help they need from members of their own community who are already settled in the country.
Greenhandshake is a trusted community marketplace which enables people who have recently arrived in the U.S. to connect with one another and to find local help from people from their own country who are already established in the U.S. and are familiar with the way of life here. This online bidding platform enables its users to post tasks with which they need help and which other users can then bid on. Tasks can range from simple requests for a lift from the airport to help with complex immigration issues.
Moving to a new country can be a challenge, even for someone who has lived in many countries around the world. As well as homesickness, the complexities of a foreign language and the inevitable stage of culture shock, many new arrivals face the added difficulty of not knowing anyone to whom they can turn for help, advice or moral support.
Son Hoang Nguyen, the CEO and Founder of Greenhandshake experienced the challenge of adapting to a new culture first hand when he moved to the U.S. As he explains: “No matter how prepared we are, foreign students and immigrants inevitably encounter unforeseen challenges with both the culture and language.” Adapting to life in the U.S. and helping others to do so gave him the idea of creating an online marketplace especially geared towards the needs of U.S. immigrants and, in May 2014, Greenhandshake was launched. He says: “I realized that there was a real need for sharing information between new arrivals, experienced immigrants and those born in the U.S.”
Recent recognition for the value of the Greenhandshake marketplace has come in the form of a recommendation from The Association of Vietnamese Students and Professionals (sinhvienusa.org), which described it as “a bridge for Vietnamese people in America to stay closer and find local help.”
Matthew Michel, Founder and CEO of Tinker Tailor Inc., is a member of Greenhandshake’s advisory board. He says: “In the past, new arrivals in the U.S. may have been able to find the help they needed by piecing together information from a number of websites. Now they only need to visit Greenhandshake to find themselves in touch with a trusted community of people who can help.”