Macrokiosk’s quest for ‘world domination’
By Karamjit Singh November 15, 2013
- Macrokiosk aims to move faster with full control of company
- Brothers Kenny, Henry and C.S. Goh believe their success can inspire others
THEY finally got the bugbear off. The MBO (management buyout) by Macrokiosk’s founders – brothers Kenny, Henry and C.S. Goh – of the 70% stake owned by Goldis Bhd, sees them owning 100% of the company they launched in 1999.
Not only has the entire mood at the company changed, but the brothers can finally put a stop to the perennial question they get asked, “Why did you give up a 70% stake?”
What started as a class project has grown today into a 14-country operation with 220 staff and revenues of RM141 million in 2013, and projected revenues of RM180 million by end-January 2014 (the company’s fiscal year-end).
But with Goldis as the main shareholder, there was an inescapable feeling, among staff and customers, that their success was somehow aided by the network and resources of a large shareholder.
“We were always a Goldis company,” says Henry. “Yet we never did business with any of the Goldis subsidiaries. There was no left pocket, right pocket deals.”
But now with the MBO successfully executed, staffers believe they can stand on their own. “This has made an impact on not just their psychology, but even our customers,” he says.
Even its human resource department has seen an uptick in job applicants, especially among younger talent who want to be in an entrepreneur-run company.
“They want to join an organisation that is run by younger people,” says Kenny, who suggests that previously Macrokiosk was not seen as such an organisation.
Speed of execution is accelerated too. The management team now knows that decisions made by them are final. There is no delay in seeking shareholder approval.
To the brothers, who are proudly patriotic, the MBO also shows that things can happen in Malaysia – but you have to work hard.
“Don’t just sit there and complain, get your act together,” says Kenny.
It is a personal mission of the trio to grow Macrokiosk, a mobile technology enabler, into a global company. They prefer to use the term “world domination.”
In fact, earlier this year, the three brothers visited Silicon Valley and went to the offices of the big three: Google, Facebook and Apple. It was a trip to inspire them into believing that they can turn Macrokiosk into a similar global player.
While they aspire towards that lofty target, they believe their current success is already an inspiration. They believe that if they can do it, so can other Malaysians.
“We are just from an average family but if we can do it, we definitely believe that Malaysia has more of our breed out there,” says C.S., the youngest of the siblings.
The brothers are excited about the future and don’t see any technology developments as disruptive to their model.
“We have always been embracing the latest technologies and smartphones are actually opening up a lot more opportunities for us,” says Henry.
They may have started out with SMS in 2000, but today adopt multiple technologies, while launching their NFC (Near Field Communications) services in certain markets before bringing them to Malaysia.
With smartphones being used to access an increasing number of corporate applications plus e-commerce uses such as buying tickets, they believe that their enterprise experience and skills, such as project management methodologies, info security, service levels, ERP (enterprise resource planning) integration and know-how, gives them an edge over other players, especially the smaller application developers.
They are also the only mobile tech enabler to get 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,” says Kenny, while hinting that they have an exciting app that they will introduce in December, an enterprise-cum-consumer product.
The app is not a precursor to a listing though. Kenny is adamant that while a listing is on the cards, “There is no urgency as we still feel there is a lot of growth potential in the company.”
One huge advantage they have is the network they own and which is directly connected to telcos around Asia, thus giving them both scale and reach.
“We actually believe that it is very difficult for another company to replicate this direct link we have with telcos around the region,” says Kenny.
They are already the first choice for European and US companies that come into Asia and want to deal with a single party to connect their various business units, as well as some Malaysian banks and aviation players which have an Asian footprint and want in-country support and cheaper procurement.
“That’s the advantage of our deals. They can be signed in Kuala Lumpur but we then make sure we use in-country support to liase with their staff in those countries,” notes Kenny, adding that they have no competitor across Asia.
“Our competition is in-country and across specific verticals but across Asia, no one comes close,” he claims.
In the United States, one such competitor is mBlox Inc, the largest mobile transaction network company, which engages in providing mobile billing and connectivity capabilities.
In their quest for global domination though, the brothers clearly have their eyes on much bigger fish.
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