Digerati50: Brothers with global ambition

Digital News Asia (DNA) continues a weekly series that profiles the top 50 influencers, movers and shakers who are helping shape Malaysia’s Digital Economy. These articles are from Digerati50, a special print publication released in January 2014. For information on customised reprints of Digerati50, email [email protected].

  • The Goh trio started out young, but still aims to build a global player
  • Recent management buyout has reignited entrepreneurial spark
Digerati50: Brothers with global ambition

THEY may have started out their venture in 2000 at the tender ages of 21, 18 and 15 respectively, but brothers Kenny, Henry and C.S. Goh have since matured into savvy entrepreneurs while still holding on to their dream of building a global company that will dominate in the mobile space it operates in.
 
Over the years, they have refined the description of what their company Macrokiosk does down to ‘an enterprise mobile technology enabler.’
 
“Our business is all about enabling the mobile strategy of corporations. Among the 18 sectors we serve are logistics, automobile, medical, marketing and promotions,” says Henry, the chief operating officer.
 
“The beauty of this is that although they live in different ecosystems, we help them leverage on pervasive yet advanced mobile technology to meet their business needs,” he adds.
 
They have done well so far. What started as a class project of Kenny’s, the eldest brother, has grown into a 14-country operation with 220 staff and revenues of RM141 million for 2012, and projected revenues of RM180 million for 2013 (fiscal year-end is January).
 
[RM1 = US$0.31]
 
Macrokiosk was also in Red Herring’s Top 100 Global Award for 2012, which recognises the world’s most promising private technology companies and entrepreneurs.
 
Those are good revenue numbers by any yardstick, but not when you really believe in your dream to become a dominant global player. The brothers know this too.
 
Which is why, back on their company’s 10th anniversary in 2010, they drew up a five-year plan on further globalising the business. It is an ambitious strategy, driven by the need to build on the scale they have already achieved.
 
At the time, they were in 10 countries. They set the target of expanding to between 10 and 15 more. Three years into that plan, they have added four countries, with more on the horizon.
 
Their strong Asian network has already seen them win Facebook as a customer. Clearly proud of this win, Kenny points out that it is Macrokiosk’s strong presence in Asia that brought Facebook to them.
 
They have also got into the radar of Harvard University which sent some MBA students over to study Macrokiosk’s business model and write up a case study. This is under the university’s Field Immersion Programme.
 
“They are going to learn from us, and we from them,” notes C.S., the youngest, who is chief corporate officer.
 
Meanwhile, a recent (July 2013) catalyst is their RM22.4-million management buyout of 70% shareholder Goldis Bhd. While they value the guidance and experience of Goldis, having full control now means they can execute much faster and the culture will become more entrepreneurial in nature.
 
“There has also been a perceptible lift in morale among staff as they feel a sense of confidence that we can stand on our own without a big corporate parent,” says Henry.
 
The plan is for Macrokiosk to become a big corporation itself, and the brothers are definitely excited about future possibilities, especially with smartphones increasingly being adopted by corporations.
 
They believe that their enterprise experience and skills in project management methodologies, info-tech security, service levels and ERP (enterprise resource planning) integration gives them an edge over other players.
 
They aim to leverage that to become the trusted partner for enterprises which are starting to deepen their adoption of mobility solutions into processes and systems.
 
Macrokiosk also claims to be the only mobile tech enabler with the ISO 27001/2005 certification, which gives clients a deeper sense of reassurance.
 
“Not many companies can offer the type of enterprise services that we do, and these open up a great number of possibilities,” Kenny says, hinting of a new enterprise-cum-consumer app on the horizon.
 
This will be the first innovation to come from Macrokiosk’s product development team. The brothers are betting it won’t be the last.

 
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