Working with his son, Martin launched Velox Networks, a telecommunications business.
What’s your story?
I was a Vice President of global sales for a software company before setting up my own maritime business. While my son Daniel was working for me, he came up with a VOIP application that uses less bandwidth than any other application in the market. Together we set up a company called Gentay Communications and builtNanu, a free voice call app which grew massively with over 6.5 million downloads worldwide. However, Nanu could not generate enough revenue to continue operations and we decided our next step would be to move into the B2B market instead which is how Velox Networks came about.
What excites you most about your industry?
Not many consumers or businesseswould give much thought about the Telecom infrastructure or industryin Singapore as there are only three major companies currently (Singtel, Starhub and M1)with a fourth company (TPG) commencing operations soon. However,the thing that excites me the most is the potential for disruption and growth in the current industry.
What’s your connection to Asia?
My family and I moved to Singapore in 1998 and we have lived here ever since. My son was 8 when we came to Singapore and he studied in United World Colleges Southeast Asia before working with me in Gentay Communications and Velox Networks. Besides living in Singapore, I have business connections all around Asia as well.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
My favourite city in Asia besides Singapore would have to be Japan. I have been there for many business trips and I am accustomed to the area. I am very comfortable with the business culture and the ethics prevalent in the Japanese culture as it facilitates long term, sustainable business relationships.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best piece of advice I received was from one of my managers. “A sales person has two ears and one mouth and they should be used in that ratio to become a better salesman”
Who inspires you?
My family has been my main inspiration and motivation for pushing myself to work harder.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I am constantly learning new things that amazes me and it would be hard to pick a particular incident.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have learned and picked up more IT skills from my son Daniel, he has always been very knowledgeable in all things technology.
How do you unwind?
I enjoy spending time with my wife and family as they are the people that support me and motivate me to succeed.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
My favourite Asian destination for relaxation would have to be Philippines. The locals are very friendly and I enjoy their culture.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bell” by Charlotte Gray, everyone who is interested in telecommunications should know about the life of the inventor of the telephone.
Shameless plug for your business:
Velox networks offers an end to end VoIp telecommunications platform for SME’s delivering unparalleled call quality at the fraction of the cost in comparison to Singtel/Starhub with the full features of a high-end cloud based PBX – with zero capital investment.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.