Startups begin with a mission. For Vectory Innovation Sdn Bhd co-founder and chief executive officer Bryan Soong Tze Yuem, 30, his mission was to help SMEs embrace the digital revolution in their business processes, starting with basic accounting, using their cloud-based enterprise resource planning applications, writes LIM WING HOOI.
Tell us more about what you were doing prior to starting the company.
I started my career in information technology as a junior programmer after graduating with a degree in information systems engineering in 2008. In 2010, I co-founded a web solutions company, offering e-commerce and website development for clients, and as time went by, work became quite predictable.
That’s why two years ago I established Vectory Innovation and started out by renting a house with two other friends to develop a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) application called Biztory, an accounting system that doesn’t require users to have accounting knowledge to run it.
What motivated you to start this business?
I have been building solutions to help corporations manage their operations more efficiently while growing their business in a structured way. However, I noticed that many small businesses haven’t gone digital due to lack of appropriate skill set or investment, to purchase these systems.
This became apparent when the goods and services tax (GST) was enforced in April 2015, as many businesses, especially the traditional ones, ceased operations because they didn’t have the knowledge and resources to deal with the transition.
We want to offer a product whereby every SME can digitalise their business easily. Then, they can achieve more with less by automating or simplifying processes which require paperwork. By doing so, they can spend more time growing their business, reducing overheads while increasing productivity in the process.
One of the ways it helps business owners to be more efficient is by understanding the company position better, on a daily basis. By recording all the sales transactions into Biztory, the products are then analysed and visuals can be created using graphs to aid business owners in making better decisions. Basically, Biztory tells the story about a business.
What is your business model?
We run Biztory as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) using a subscription model. Users may choose various different features, ranging from RM48 to RM228, depending on the number of users. Anything beyond this and we will customise a fee structure that best meets our clients’ needs.
Who are your clients and what are the challenges in this business?
Our customer segments right now are mainly traditional retail businesses such as furniture shops, automobile workshops, beauty/hair salons and telecommunication retailers. Recently, we have noticed some new startups and freelancers using our services too.
Also, the majority of businesses still think that subscribing to a SaaS product is more costly compared with a typical off-the-shelf software which requires only making a one-off payment. What they don’t realise is that SaaS has better value for money in terms of pay-per-use, and flexibility to downgrade or upgrade the plan anytime. And this comes together with quality service and features to ensure customer satisfaction.
What do you do to relax?
Since the startup is new, I spend more than 80% of my time developing the company. Once in a while, I’ll go for a hike to rejuvenate my body and mind. Besides that, archery is also one of my hobbies which I find effective in helping me train my focus.
What is your philosophy in life?
In my position, I need to make many decisions; sometimes it turns out to be good, sometimes it may not. But I think that’s how it shapes a company or business. If I believe something is good, I’ll go all out to meet my goal. There is no easy way or short cuts in entrepreneurship. One has to persevere and keep on going.