THERE seems to be an allure to being an online content creator these days. Whether it is their glamorous lifestyles or exciting job assignments, many youths of today admire and aspire to be like their favourite content creators.
In fact, recent government research showed that 72% of SPM graduates have their eyes set on becoming online influencers and content creators. However, the route to success is not as easy as some might think.
Given the high amount of competition, it can take a while for content creators to make a living from it – enter Ulalive. Founded early this year, Ulalive is a live e-commerce platform that enables creators to connect with communities, while boosting revenue through live streaming.
Contrary to other e-commerce and social platforms, content creators here can generate an income through live streaming their video content exclusively to their subscribers.
While other social platforms require users to provide free content, Ulalive allows content creators to immediately make money from their content through a subscription model with no minimum required subscribers.
In addition, content creators can also generate income through promoting and selling products while receiving commissions on the platform.
To further understand its mechanism and its backstory, we speak to its founders, Afham Fareez and Elizaveta Leytgold.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Afham Fareez: “I am Afham Fareez and I grew up in Pekan, Pahang with five siblings. I was born on Aug 16, 1992 and I am turning 30 this year. My education started in secondary school at Mara Junior Science College in Kuantan.
“I then furthered my studies in engineering at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). But I dropped out of my engineering course to pursue aviation. I took a piloting course and thus far, the eight years [I have spent] as a commercial alliance pilot for Malaysia Alliance have been awesome.”
Eliza: “My full name is Elizaveta Lytgold but people call me Eliza. I was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2001. I am turning 21 this year. And I moved to Malaysia in 2018 to pursue my IB diploma.
“I graduated high school in 2020 and then started my degree in digital media and communication and a bachelor of business and commerce. And right now, I am finishing my second year.”
What first sparked your interest in entrepreneurship?
Afham Fareez: “My entrepreneurship journey first began in high school and college. I had joined the entrepreneur club and it was the freedom of time and money that inspired me to further into it. So, I then upgraded my knowledge and skills.
“And even up to this day, I enjoy learning and exploring new ideas. I enjoy taking on new challenges and growing the business.”
Eliza: “I enjoy solving problems and having this creative freedom to do so kind of like pulled me into entrepreneurship. Was I always interested? Maybe not, but then seeing people achieve this type of independence and freedom in their choices attracted me the most to the field.”
How did the idea for Ulalive come to be?
Afham Fareez: “It started two years ago when I was active in e-sports. Our previous service is organising e-sports events and we engaged with the local scene quite well. So, the idea came when I noticed that the underrated streamers were struggling to earn a consistent and sustainable income.
“While the established and experienced streamers were having issues with scaling their revenues and solely depended on one or two platforms to monetise. So, we have been trying to solve this issue by helping streamers and creators to start charging for their content through a subscription.
“At the same time, manage and sell their products using our built-in e-commerce. And the core commission is to allow them to scale their revenue and turn their service into a profitable business.”
What differentiates Ulalive from other apps like YouTube and Instagram?
Afham Fareez: “What makes us stand out is that we are not actually a social network or a video-sharing platform. We are an eCommerce, but we are also kind of different. We build on live streaming. So, we want to attract business owners and creators who want to start their businesses.
“That is actually the reason why we started to help creators to become a business. Start selling the products because on most of the platforms, you cannot really sell the products and it is very hard for you to get a consistent income.”
How do you hope to change the local streaming and entertainment scene with Ulalive?
Afham Fareez: “When we first started Ulalive, we noticed that many streamers and creators did not have a real solid business. Many of them did not know how to convert their brand into a profitable business.
“Through Ulalive, we have been helping them by providing a single platform for them to manage their content and products. So, we hope in the future to see more businesses born and built by the creators.
“In other words, we hope to smooth their onboarding process of entrepreneurship. This is because the creators do voice out their worries about their future path.
“They want to know what they will be doing in the next five years – when they are 30 or 35 – because they know they [may not be streaming] games for 10 years. So they want to build a business.”
Eliza: “So we are basically providing tools for them to amplify their creativity and brand.”