Disrupt #10: Getting your foot in the door

  • Home market being sceptical of indigenous technology solutions makes it extra tough
  • Two entrepreneurs to share battle scars, AirAsia X CEO to shed some light

Disrupt #10: Getting your foot in the doorYOU may or may not believe Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) who said “Money never sleeps” in the movie Wall Street, but the lack of it coming into a business surely gives entrepreneurs sleepless nights.
And when you are an entrepreneur in the technology space, it is even tougher for you because the local market is very harsh with Malaysian-built solutions. Scepticism is high and the preference for anything with the As Long As It’s Not Made in Malaysia tag is strong.
In a strange way, entrepreneurs with a product that is targeting a global market may just have it a bit easier in their journey as they, at least, are not facing a sceptical home market.
We just wrote about how Piktochart has already surpassed RM1 million in revenue this year and is aiming higher. Could it have achieved this if it decided to focus on the home market first as a way to validate its product?

So what’s a desperate Malaysian entrepreneur, who believes he has built a solid solution or service that will meet a market need, to do? How does he convince customers in his own backyard to give him a chance to show what he can do? How does he get that foot in the door?
 Disrupt #10: Getting your foot in the door
I won’t say next week’s DNA-TeAM Disrupt panel discussion will have the answers, but we will hear from two local entrepreneurs who took their lumps in the local market and found a way.
Both are now earning revenues in the millions but are aiming to hit the tens of millions. They will share their stories and hope it will give a lift to their fellow entrepreneurs.
We have as a panellist Andre Sequerah, cofounder of Aexio, a telecommunications software company. Joining him will be G. Saravanan, founder of Centium Software, a software development and communications development house with a presence in India and the Middle East. Coincidently, Aexio has customers in the Middle East too.
Both however want to deepen their local market penetration too.
Sequerah and Saravanan are geeks-turned-entrepreneurs and will have plenty of battle scars to share from their entrepreneurial journey thus far.
Joining them on the panel will be AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani, who will talk about the technology needs of a regional Malaysian business and about what local entrepreneurs need to do to be able to serve the requirements of a fast-growing business such as his.
Before joining Tony Fernandes on the quest to ensure everyone can fly, Azran was the senior director of business development at Astro All Asia Networks Plc (Astro), where he led the startup and operational launch of Astro's international investments and joint ventures across South-East Asia, India and Greater China.
We are awaiting one more panellist to confirm his attendance but please do lock in your seat first.
The next DNA-TeAM Disrupt session will be held on next Wednesday, Aug 28, at 5.30pm to 7pm at Plug & Play Technology Garden, South Tower, MidValley City, Kuala Lumpur.
The DNA-TeAM Disrupt series caters to anyone who has a passion for technology, and revolves around sharing and learning, networking and camaraderie, but begins with an interactive panel discussion on subjects and issues of interest to entrepreneurs.
The DNA-TeAM Disrupt series is organised by Digital News Asia (DNA) and the Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM), with the support of Plug & Play Technology Garden. The media partner is business radio station BFM89.9.

Related Stories:
TeAM and DNA out to ‘Disrupt’ the ecosystem 
Giving our own start-ups a fair shake
Enterprise-centric Disrupt a pleasant surprise
Disrupt: ‘It’s hard to raise money in Malaysia’ 
Disrupt pointers for start-ups in the app economy
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