Love of IT spawns firm with global ties

  • Business
  • Monday, 30 Apr 2007

EXPLORING the wonders of technology when he was 18 set David Tann on his path to success. 

Today, he is chief executive officer of LinearSoft Sdn Bhd with businesses worldwide.  

Tann, 31, was born in Penang but brought up in Sabah. He attributed his success to his late father who exposed him to the world of information technology (IT) early in life.  

His father foresaw IT to be the most powerful “weapon” to rule the world in future. 

Tann's father, who was Sabah Oil general manager, encouraged him to read the newspapers and watch the news on television to gain more knowledge and be aware of important issues globally.  

David Tan

When he returned to Kuala Lumpur and studied in Taylor's University College, Tann was impressed by how people could communicate through e-mails when Hotmail was first introduced to the market. 

“It really opened up my mind as I could now write to my friends via the Internet,” Tann said.  

A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, Tann worked in a Japanese company, Sekisui Chemical, in 1998 as a product engineer before he was promoted to general manager. 

He can speak fluent English, Bahasa Malaysia, Japanese, Thai, Balinese as well as other Chinese dialects. 

The IT lover embarked on the software business in 2001 when he met up with his college mate, Gary Saw who is now LinearSoft's chief technology officer. They used their expertise in business and technology respectively to run the company, said Tann. 

LinearSoft is a technical computing solutions provider. It offers solutions such as scientific calculation software, which is widely used in the academic and commercial sectors worldwide.  

Most of its clients are universities and colleges as well as engineering firms such as Intel and Motorola. 

“When we started, our vision was to have a global business with a product developed in Malaysia,” Tann said. 

Currently, the company has three subsidiaries – Unikset Solutions Sdn Bhd, Techsys Sdn Bhd and Australia-based Capix International Pte Ltd. 

“The acquisition of Capix in Melbourne has given LinearSoft a good platform to expand its markets,” he said. 

Capix, a software developer which focuses on the financial sector, has recently set up offices in London and New York. 

“We have also developed a Chinese version of our solutions and are now expanding our Chinese market. We are considering setting up an office in Shanghai later,” Tann said. 

Besides its office in Subang Jaya and Kuala Lumpur, LinearSoft also has an office each in Thailand and Jakarta. At present, its overseas business contributes 80% to group revenue. 

“We hope to achieve stable business growth every year,” he said. 

Tann said LinearSoft also provided technical training such as accredited mathematical training courses. It specialises in the building of mathematical models of technological systems. 

The courses are marketed in Thailand, Jakarta, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and lately in Britain, the US, Canada and China. 

Besides working hard, Tann loves travelling, backpacking, bungee jumping, scuba diving, skiing, mountain climbing, swimming with sharks and roller coaster rides. 

So far, he has been to 50 countries and 120 cities for work and play.  

Whenever he travels, Tann would observe how people run their hostels.  

“It's an interesting business where not only can one make money but also meet lots of new friends. 

“I am on semi-retirement mode now. When I retire, I want to have my own backpacking hostel,” he said. 

In fact, Tann is keen to buy over a few potential backpacking hostels in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.  

As the president of University Technology Sydney Alumni Association, Malaysian Chapter, he also assists in conducting a monthly personal development programme at Taylor's University College. 

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