Royce Dy reaps his just rewards
By Deneb Batucan
BEING in a start-up business is a lot like riding a rollercoaster. You slowly go up in a steep incline, trying to jumpstart a business all from scratch. Then comes the tilt. Up and down and round and round, you go in different directions to find out which ones actually fit the need of the business, until finally, you find something that works. But unlike the amusement park ride, this ride to success never stops. It goes on and will continue going, so long as someone is still in the ride.
Royce Albert Dy is still riding along, braving the twists and loops in his rollercoaster journey in the start-up world. He and his partner and co-founder, Seph Mayol, are working hard to continue this simple yet one-of-a-kind idea that has sparked the interest of a lot of people nationally and internationally.
Royce is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Hoy!, a social media app that gives instant gratification to its users from a simple selfie. A user can choose from Hoy’s wide array of international and local brands and will be given instructions on what kind of selfie they should post — like taking a selfie with a brand logo — and then the user will post the selfie. After getting the required number of likes, they will be rewarded with a product from a brand. So from a selfie you’ll get free food, clothes, shoes, you name it.
The app is entertaining and is making waves in the social media marketing scene as it provides marketing mileage for their brand partners and, most importantly, it gives a lot of happiness to its users.
From one end, the idea seems simple and straightforward, but a ton of work has been made to make this app. Royce recounts having “marathons” with Seph for weeks — meaning, they had sleepless nights working on the app and coming up with ways to make the users’ experience great.
Royce works mainly on the technical side. He created the server and developed the iOs app for Hoy and part of his everyday routine is to maintain his creations. He is the “problem solver” as he makes sure that the app is free from all forms of problems or bugs to guarantee a great experience for its users.
Even from the start, Royce was keen on going on board with Seph’s idea of the app. He met Seph in 2014 when a common friend introduced them to each other. Since then, it has been a wild ride for the two tech guys.
When Seph explained to Royce his ambitions for the app and what it all entails, Royce was already impressed. “Na bilib lang ko sa idea because I saw that it’s really good for the users. I resigned from my full-time job as a mobile developer to focus on Hoy! It was a risk that should be made because I didn’t want to go on board the project and not give my 100 percent,” he said. “It was also the time that I was fed up with working as an employee. I wanted to start something of my own.”
Building a business is not for the weak. It requires so much hard work. “You have to be an all-around guy. With start-ups, you can’t specialize on just one thing. It’s a one-man band — you do all the work,” Royce said.
Like most business owners, the business becomes a big part of your life. As Royce says, at any time of the day, his mind often wanders on ways on how he can improve the app, fix bugs, and find ways to give its users a great experience.
It’s a 24-7 job, and even when the struggle is real, Royce always has high hopes and an optimistic perspective. “It’s important to believe in your product,” he said. “There will be times when things seem so hard, but just keep on pushing. Never give up, never complain. In the end, you’ll always be rewarded for your hard work.”
Hard work is always rewarded, and being recognized internationally has been euphoric for Royce. “Every time someone gives us good feedback, malipay gyud mi. Our years of hard work becomes worth it. But murag wa pa mi na human sa stage one. We’ll keep on going and keep on improving and innovating taman sa ginhawa.”
Photographer: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome
Locale: Tom N Tom’s Coffee