Every year, we scope out 18 women who are driven by a desire to bring positive change and have achieved success in their chosen field as part of the Great Women Of Our Time awards. Meet 2019’s Finance & Commerce nominee, Val Yap, Founder of PolicyPal:
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Meet Val Yap – Great Women Of Our Time 2019 Finance & Commerce Nominee
Val started with the idea of simplifying the process of buying insurance in 2016 by creating an app that allowed users to track and organise their products on one dashboard.
“The idea behind PolicyPal came about when my mum was diagnosed with cancer and the insurance company rejected our application for a new claim as the old one had lapsed,” she explains, before adding that she lost her father that same year to a heart attack.
At the time, she was working in banking, but “it prompted me to start building a digital platform where users could consolidate their insurance policies in a simple and accessible way”.
Fast forward three years and PolicyPal has grown into so much more.
Today, she has 16 carriers on the PolicyPal network, 50,000 users and manages $70 million worth of insurance premiums on the platform.
So successful was Val in her endeavours, she launched a new entity to make Singaporean lives even easier.
“When PolicyPal took off, I also started an affiliated blockchain entity called PAL Network in 2018, which bridges the gap between financial products and customers. Nothing is more fulfilling than knowing something I have created is making people’s lives better,” says the 31-year-old, who is also the first graduate from the MAS fintech sandbox, which allows financial institutions and fintech startups to experiment with promising financial products or services in a supportive environment.
“When I see happy customers, I know that all the hard work I have put in is worth it. To me, this is the most triumphant moment for any entrepreneur,” she shares.
“The hardest part of starting and running a business isn’t necessarily coming up with new ideas, strategising where to focus the limited resources, or sustaining growth. For many, it’s staying inspired through the uncertainty of what lies ahead.”
As a woman who has made waves in the tech industry with her hard work and savviness, Val hopes to inspire other women to join the fast-moving tech industry.
“The most common and frustrating misconception is that the tech industry is only for males! Don’t be intimidated by those who seem to know more than you. It’s very easy to spew some techno-babble at someone and seem intelligent but never be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. It’s a great way to learn,” says Val.
“Sadly, it’s very likely to run into sexism in the tech industry. I never let it get me down. One of the nice things about this line of work is I can usually prove an idea is better by actually building it. I ignore nay-sayers and just go for it. I hope that I’m creating an opportunity for the next generation of women who’d like to enter this exciting field by leading by example.”
Photos: Vee Chin & Tan Wei Te
Fashion Direction: Aaron Kok
Styling Assistants: Juliet Suen & An Lyn Chee
Hair: Jason Wong/Salon Nu, Grego & Ash Loi/Sonder Salon
Makeup: Keith Bryant Lee, Hongling Lim, Rina Sim, Wee Ming & Jyue Huey (for Shann Sok)
Location: 89NR, The Working Capitol, Botanico at The Garage & The Summerhouse
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