Liam Millward & William Gao were just teenagers when they embarked on a journey to change the future of e-commerce. They found each other though a cold LinkedIn message, and soon after, they were building Instant, raising a $2.2 million pre-seed round, one of Australia's largest, led by Blackbird.
Get to know our co-founders, hear why they built Instant and find out what makes them tick.
Will Gao & Liam Millward at Instant's Sydney HQ.
Liam Millward - CEO
Give us an overview of why Instant exists?
The vision of Instant was born purely from frustration, as both a consumer and seller. During the midst of the pandemic I was studying, and a part of this looked into the recent trends of e-commerce growth towards the middle of Covid. I started an online store drop-shipping products and promoted them via Facebook ads. Long story short, Instant originated to solve both the problem of cart abandonment for sellers (me at the time) and the horrible user experience for a consumer purchasing online (also me at the time!), considering most people drop off completing a purchase due to how many fields, passwords, accounts, or let's be real, the fact they need to get up off the couch, to find their credit card to actually purchase something online – every time!
Where do you see the biggest benefits behind Instant? For both the consumer and seller?
We have some incredible plans in the pipeline. The opportunity we have to change the way people shop online, turning billions of complex checkouts into hassle-free transactions is incredible. We’re starting at checkout, but that’s definitely just the start for us. By working with sellers to implement Instant Checkout on the product pages of their online stores, we’ve seen incredible results already to date. Whilst Instant at its core is focused on providing an incredibly positive, simplistic and desirable online transaction experience for consumers, that’s easy every time, our true love is towards and always will be towards building incredible products that uplift revenue and drive growth for our sellers.
As one of Instant’s founders, what do you do at Instant?
Our team is what makes Instant. From ideation to launch in under 8 months, raising over $2.2m in less than a year, and now scaling quickly within the APAC region, I honestly spend the majority of my time in the weeds and on the tools with the team. If we get particular, however, I lead everything across the commercial, business, growth, marketing and sales side of Instant, and work cross-functionally to also keep quite closely across products, influencing our roadmap to reflect the needs of our existing sellers and soon to be onboarding merchants…. So kind of everything! Haha. As a whole, my time is spent unblocking the team and ensuring the company continues to move at speed. "A little bit of strategy, and a lot of execution!"
What is your key to success?
My key to success is to be continually building. Building product. Building teams of insanely talented people. And most importantly, an incredibly successful company in which has created value. In my vision, this success is a world where every shopping experience across the internet is Instant, every time.
What excites you?
Not to sound all ‘markety’ but in all honesty, having the ability to checkout online, anywhere and everywhere, instantly, is was excites and drives me on the daily.
Will Gao - CTO
Why did you join Liam as a founder of Instant?
Towards the tail end of 2020, Liam and I were both working on our own eCommerce businesses on the side, and as a result we experienced what most merchants experience online - a lengthy checkout which caused high abandoned cart rates and a poor user experience. Experiencing the problem first hand, Instant solved my own problem - and the rest is history!
Why do you think the Instant product is beneficial to both consumers and merchants?
Traditionally, online checkout is fragmented, and the biggest source of lost sales. Not only because most checkouts provide poor user experiences that lead to low conversion rates, but they also fail to increase consumer loyalty and delight customers. Instant solves this by providing a delightful checkout experience, that drives first time, and repeat purchases that results in increased sales and conversions for merchants.
As CTO, what do you do at Instant?
I wear many hats at Instant currently; building product day to day, defining our product vision, working cross functionally with sales to liaise with, and onboard merchants. Most importantly, unlocking the potential of my legendary team - Pat and Tom, who are both incredible engineers, is my core priority.
What is your key to success?
Listening to customers! Building a startup is an incredible journey if you talk to customers and bring them along for the journey - making sure we execute at speed to build incredible, scalable solutions to their problems.
What excites you?
Our vision is to build the future of commerce; and provide incredible customer experiences across the entire consumer purchasing journey - leading the journey to fulfil that vision and building incredible products with an amazing team is what excites me!
Liam & Will are building the future of commerce and they're just starting with checkouts. The future of shopping is seamless, simple, and Instant - and it started with two co-founders with large goals and an even larger capacity to execute greatness at immense speed.