Meet Fohlio, a member of Quake Capital’s Cohort 4! Huibin Yu, the CEO and Founder, says that Fohlio’s vision has always been to build a data hub of what the physical spaces around us are made of.
Fohlio is an online platform for builders, architects, and designers that allows you to create custom product data libraries and share these libraries with all your stakeholders. Fohlio also automates the bid and offer process and allows for seamless payments to vendors, property owners, and designers.
Meet Hubin Yu, CEO & Founder
Before Fohlio, Huibin was a VP at J.P. Morgan, where she the managed the operations of cross asset derivative trading desks and built out workflows and complex systems. Several years ago, she was going through the process of renovating her home when she experienced first-hand how difficult the process was. From compiling a complete list of necessary products and making sure to stay within the budget, to keeping track of several installation and warranty documents, Huibin realized that the interior design process was a significant hassle.
After speaking with industry professionals and hearing them echo her struggles about this labor-intensive process (and in fact their challenges were tenfold what hers were), Huibin realized there was an unfulfilled need in the construction market that wasn’t being met. And that’s when she decided to develop her own solution.
To figure out the concept behind the solution that would eventually become Fohlio, Huibin set out to work with an experienced licensed architect and project manager. She also sought out Matt Abedi, who was Fohlio’s first employee and is now the Head of Sales at Fohlio. The fact that he dabbles as a standup comedian is no surprise — it’s the skills he’s learned from standup, such as telling good stories, pivoting from rejection, and reading an audience, that make Matt such an invaluable salesman and popular with Fohlio’s clients. The Fohlio team is rounded out by CTO Ilya Andreyuk and a dedicated offshore team that has successfully handled customer service for Fohlio.
Even its very early days, Fohlio started receiving significant interest from users around the world, from Brooklyn to Costa Rica, which helped validate the market for Huibin and confirmed her belief that Fohlio was truly resolving a universal issue.
Enter Fohlio. Fohlio is fundamentally a collaborative platform, where users can share documents with each as they would through Google Drive. Fohlio also provides customers with unprecedented flexibility to build data libraries and to search these libraries, which is particularly powerful for professional designers, who need the ability to search product data on a granular level. Projects completed on Fohlio are thus highly diversified, spanning residential homes, luxury yards, hotels, film sets, high-rises, and many others.
Fohlio launched just over a year ago, and they’ve experienced incredible growth so far, with over 300 firms as paying customers across 30 countries. Recently, they pivoted to a B2B model, which has allowed Fohlio to focus on developing strong relationships with professional designers that keep returning to the platform time and time again for their designing needs.
Throughout Fohlio’s year-long existence, Huibin has made sure to follow the lean startup approach and constantly listen to users for feedback, while keeping the product easy to use. Hiring the right people has also been a contributor to Fohlio’s success, and Huibin credits her abilities as a manager and hiring the right people to her experiences at J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Huibin’s particularly proud of her international team, with members hailing from the Philippines, Romania, Pakistan, Russia, and Poland. She’s careful to look for “what the person is made of, rather than what they’ve done in the past,” and specifically looking for the go-getters and people with the right mentality, she’s been able to put together a strong team at Fohlio.
As one of Quake’s female founders, Huibin has first-hand experience with the challenges that women in business and the tech world face, though she’s navigated her professional and personal life changes skillfully, becoming a mother to her second child right after Fohlio was launched. She’s always planned on pursuing a career in entrepreneurship, as her father was an entrepreneur himself. And although she’s enjoyed the complexity and intellectual challenge her early career in finance provided her with, Huibin’s always looking for next challenge. Entrepreneurship has provided her with a constant stream of unique and interesting challenges to tackle, and that is part of what has made the Fohlio journey so fulfilling for her. Her background of managing cross asset data has ultimately influenced her work at Fohlio — from the start, her goal has been to bring the concept of complex financial trading systems to the construction industry.
Here at Quake, we’re excited to see where the future takes Fohlio!