Leaving the corporate world to start your own business can be daunting enough. But choosing to embark on a new career in the high-growth, fast-paced and innovation-driven technology startup scene is a whole other ball game. For many, it’s exciting and every day is a learning curve with new opportunities to grow or pivot your Read More…
Let’s talk: Investments
Wed 5 June 2019 - 11:49 amExpert | Featured | Let's Talk
Today we are talking about investing. Specifically, what small-to-medium businesses are choosing to invest in to further expand their success.
It can be a tricky thing to invest a big sum of money with confidence, however with the right expertise behind you a good investment can really pay off in the long-term and is arguably an essential part of business success and growth.
To avoid a plateau, investment is needed. But where should they investment be and what should it look like? Well, the answer is going to be different for different businesses as every organisation has unique needs. However, by asking our experts what they’re currently investing in, we hope to share some insights and inspiration to SMEs unsure on taking that next investment step.
This week we asked: What is your business investing in to ensure continued growth?
Edwin Onggo, Founder & CEO, GiggedIn
We’re experiencing strong growth at GiggedIn. Things we do to ensure we continue this:
- Have a great team that deeply understands this new discipline of growth marketing. I.e. Channels to acquire customers, but also keeping them/getting them to buy more and tell their friends. Basically, understand marketing, product and data. Know the AARRR pirate metrics and execute well on them.
- Track metrics that matter to you and make data based decisions.
- Develop strong product intuition by capturing customer feedback often to drive better decision making on how to guide customers to get value from your product/service.
- And again on team – surround yourself with great people. We’re entering a new phase of maturity in GiggedIn’s journey so I recently added the ex Head of Growth at Canva and ex head of Marketing at Koala to our advisory team. Safe to say they’ve got more experience and knowledge scaling companies to $1B+ valuations than I do.
Attributed to Detch Singh, Co-founder and CEO of Hypetap
We invest in two main areas for growth: our people and our technology.
We make a huge investment when we hire new staff. Hypetap’s executive team is involved in the hiring of new employees to ensure we’ve done our diligence and they’re the right fit for the company.
Moreover, we want our employees to learn and grow in their roles and skill sets, so we invest time and resources into ongoing training and development programs for our team. With influencer marketing being such a fluid, ever-changing industry, we’ve developed tailored training around everything from data to creative campaign approaches to ensure employees are well-versed in cross functional elements of the industry.
We also appreciate the importance of creating a positive working environment, which is why we offer initiatives like flexible working arrangements, pets in the office, bring your kids to work days, weekly fitness sessions and social movie nights.
Since our founding, 50 per cent of Hypetap’s headcount has been devoted to research and development, pioneering new technology solutions that allows us to lead influencer marketing industry in Australia. It’s this approach that has helped us grow quickly in an increasinglycompetitive industry and protect a highly differentiated offering.
Patrick Coghlan, CEO, CreditorWatch
We’re investing in:
- People – we’re hiring new staff and we’re on track for a 50% employee growth again this calendar year
- Data – we’re always on the look out for new data sources or ways of interpreting/manipulating existing data using new technologies
- Our product – we’re a technology company first and foremost. The reason we have been so successful, and continue to be, is because we continually innovate our product and improve the user experience. Our product has a genuine “WOW” factor, but we are never satisfied!
Valeria Ignatieva, CEO, WORK180
We are investing heavily in our tech team and our product, the WORK180 jobs platform, in order to deliver the best possible experience for women looking for jobs with a supportive employer.
This includes listening to our job seekers and when they tell us what they find most — and least– useful, such as policy transparency from companies, ease of application, company culture and development, while also meeting employers’ needs of attracting quality candidates.
We are also investing in the HR Health Check, an online tool which helps companies quickly benchmark their policies against those of their peers. This tool has already helped over 500 organisations speed up their business cases for creating more inclusive workplaces, and we’re excited about enhancing it.
EJ Guren, Head of Communications, Pureprofile
As a global data and insights business, Pureprofile has a strong program for growth and innovation centred around people and technology.
Our investments focus on our core mission: to link consumers with the brands and services they love and to connect businesses to more of the people that matter. We do this by capturing declared data and generating consumer insights based on opt-in engagements with brands. We will continue our focus on educating consumers about the value of their data as we provide them with a meaningful, secure and transparent platform on which to harness that value in exchange for their time and opinions.
Growth will also come as we extend our reach and partner with more organisations who see the advantage in obtaining and connecting declared, granular consumer data (e.g. geolocation, transactional, behavioural etc). We help businesses understand the “why” behind consumer behaviours and create more ways to provide engaging experiences for their customers.
And last but certainly not least, we are always focused on growing and nurturing our people – the backbone and strength of who we are as an organisation – and ensuring that our culture encourages them to always strive forward. (There would be no Pureprofile without them and it wouldn’t be as much fun to come to work everyday!)
David Low, Head of Marketing, Employsure
We see a future in which every business has access to the tools and information they need to implement positive workplace practices and help their business succeed. In just eight short years, Employsure has experienced exceptional growth by creating a new service category and meeting ever changing start-up and SME needs. To keep up with the pace, we continue to invest in two core activities: value proposition and enhancing the client journey.
We recently brought our legal representation in house with the official launch of Employsure Law – offering a more comprehensive range of legal services with a seamless experience for the needs of SMEs with an emphasis on quality, cost-effective, practical legal advice and representation. Additional services ensure client needs are met and revenue growth is sustained.
Enhancing the client journey
Ensuring every interaction and touchpoint with our clients is seamless and adding value is our focus. We’re investing in additional features or service innovations to improve the experience. We’ve introduced Employsure Protect, a protection service that challenged the incumbent insurance model, allowing us to enhance client value with increased benefits. Further, technology extensions and applications are in the pipeline that build or extend the client journey, ensuring our service grows simultaneously with engagement. Understanding client needs is truly at the heart of our growth.
John Thompson, Managing Director at Knosys (ASX: KNO)
The cloud. Our new cloud delivery model is a central part of our robust growth strategy, to diversify revenue streams and target markets beyond the current enterprise opportunities. We’re taking our lead from companies like Xero and Elmo who have used the cloud to successfully target the mid-market companies, evolve their offering to better meet customer demands and continue to innovate.
The launch of our multi-tenanted, software-as-a-service solution KIQ Cloud this year has been transformative for our business. KIQ Cloud combines the analytic power of machine learning to reshape how businesses organise and share information. The business benefits our new KIQ Cloud service are significant and enable us to accelerate new customer and revenue growth, provide recurring revenue streams and shorten the current sales cycle.
Through new product development, geographic expansion across Asia and new channel partners such as Microsoft, the cloud has been pivotal to ensure the long-term sustainable growth of our business.
Mark Hoppe, managing director, Oceania, Atradius
Growth is highly desirable for most companies however it brings risk as well as reward, especially as businesses move into new markets without existing customer relationships. Trade credit insurance is an important investment for companies looking to grow.
Credit insurance protects businesses’ cash flow in case customers fail to pay. This lets businesses supply goods and services with more confidence because they can avoid the losses that come with supplying customers who then don’t pay.
Reputable trade credit insurance providers also help businesses conduct due diligence to avoid entering into relationships with companies that pose an unacceptable risk. The information provided can shed light on whether an organisation has a good payment history and, therefore, whether the business should offer favourable terms or demand cash on delivery, for example. If the potential customer is deemed a high risk, the business may elect not to sell to that customer, thus avoiding losses.
Bruce Mackenzie, Founder and Managing Director at Humanforce
After a successful capital raise earlier this year, Humanforce is investing in two key areas; employees and technology. Of the two, our biggest asset is our staff. Finding new ways to keep them engaged and motivated is absolutely critical to the success of our business. A strong, stable base of human talent is the best platform from which to grow, and that includes bringing the right people into the business. That’s why we’ve recently made a number of senior appointments in our software and sales teams, as well as in other parts of the business. We’ve implemented various initiatives aimed at culture and celebrating our success, which has so far been very well received.
Dipra Ray, CEO and Managing Director of mPort
As a growing startup, our business is investing heavily in the three key areas for growth:
1) Our product – we’re constantly improving what we can offer our customers. There’s an incredible amount of opportunity within our business here at mPort and we’re always focussed on delivering the best outcome for our customers. Over the next few months, we’re expecting to release significant functionality to make it easier for people to understand their bodies and improve their health and generate growth.
2) People: we strongly believe that our people is our biggest strength. We invest in our folks through a number of ways, including allowing regular brown bag sessions, training, allowing flexible work terms and also by allowing them the space to innovate and try different technology stacks (where it may take slightly longer but allow our teams to expand their knowledge base).
3) Brand awareness – we’re investing in social media and other marketing methods to boost our awareness. We’ve got a unique product globally and our desire is to create mass consumer awareness of our technology so people can be the healthiest version of themselves.
Alexie O’Brien, Chief Operations Officer of Tell Me Baby
At Tell Me Baby, as a start-up with a very clear, albeit ambitiously fast growth plan, we are investing in people and technology.
Firstly, it’s essential for us to find the right people in the right areas to enable us to execute our strategy seamlessly; particularly, people who love the thrill of creating and building something they get to make their mark in and grow with us. We are a remote workforce and flexibility is one of our most important values – so creating processes and leveraging tools that help us stay connected and effective are super important.
Secondly, we’re investing in our technology stack and AI. It is critical that we are continuing to invest to make our experience the best for our brands and our community of parents. When we launch into China we also need to make sure we have the right ecosystem for inside the Great Firewall to help Chinese parents make great buying decisions for their families.
Ken Kencevski, CEO and Founder of Devika
As a startup working with emerging technology, our main focus is to continue to invest in research and development to not only ensure our customers stay ahead of the curve, but to also ensure the longevity of our own business. Our philosophy when it comes to emerging technology is to believe nothing we hear and half of what we see. It is when we tinker with technology that we begin to think about how it can be used to better a problem statement within the business and how it can be applied to either existing or new areas to assist in fostering growth.
Batoul Peters, GM at Global Story Network
Our growth strategy, and dare I say any media business’ growth strategy, is having the agility to diversify content platforms to meet the consumers’ evolving consumption behaviour. It is incredibly important for us to invest in how we can leverage a meaningful brand experience across our multiple platforms and consequently create a holistic media solution for brand partners. It’s now become our job to enable brands to behave like content publishers so that the consumer experience remains positive and engaging, and in turn is rewarding for advertisers.
Yanir Yakutiel, CEO and Founder of Lumi
Lumi is growing incredibly fast, and being a small business ourselves, we’ve been working really hard to make sure we invest wisely to secure our future. Our priorities have been around developing the platform’s technology so we can continue to find innovative ways to bring further value to our customers and partners. We’re also looking to double our team in the next 12 months, hiring both technical and operational staff to keep up with the demand. Our investors are looking for the resilience of the team, so it’s crucial for us to get the best people on board. Lastly, to reach more small business owners, we’ll continue to invest in partnerships who share our mission to help revolutionise the user experience in financial services.
Uzair Moosa, CEO of Hey You
At Hey You, the largest pre-ordering food and coffee app in Australia, we are currently focused on 3 things to help us ensure sustained and healthy growth for the business.
Firstly, we are striving to optimise the experience for our customers. This includes allowing them to save their favorite order on the app so that during a busy period of time, this will become a one-click process rather than having to re-input their favorite coffee or toast each time they want to order ahead.
Secondly, we’re working on scaling our product offering across Australia so that people across the country can avoid standing in queues for their favorite food and coffee orders, and instead create time for what matters most to them.
Were also expanding into adjacent verticals that would allow our consumers to solve other food and coffee related challenges that they face on a day to day basis.
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