We talked to Danny Goh, Co-Founder and CEO of Nexus Frontier Tech Ltd about the new frontier of intelligent automation.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Danny Goh: I’m extremely thankful that my family is doing fantastic. I am originally from Malaysia so when the pandemic really started to show its colors we decided to leave London and come back to my home for a while. Considering all that’s going on in the world, we consider ourselves very fortunate to be safe, healthy and at work and schooling as usual.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Nexus Frontier Tech.
Danny Goh: In a nutshell, I consider myself a serial entrepreneur and I’m an early-stage investor. Aside from Nexus, I currently serve as an Entrepreneurship Expert at the Said Business School and is a fellow at the Ecole des Ponts Business school in Paris. I’m also an advisor and judge to several technology start-ups and accelerators.
Nexus began when myself and my two co-founders, Hajime Hotta and Takakai Mizuno, began developing software solutions and consultancy services for clients in the ASEAN region in 2015. With the market demand, we moved into the AI and process automation space, specializing in automating data-heavy processes within the financial services and public sectors. By 2018 we had a three-year record of profitability without any sales team. In 2018 we opened our Headquarters and sales office in London, and in 2020 we opened up another sales office in Singapore to meet heavy demand in the region. We have our R&D team in Japan and a larger production team in Vietnam, as well. I’m proud to say since starting we have grown exponentially every year and have big plans for 2021.
How does Nexus Frontier Tech innovate?
Danny Goh: Our Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) capabilities convert unstructured data (including handwriting and voice) into structured data using our configurable AI extraction models. By making data machine-usable, we enable businesses to move fast and efficiently through the data value chain with less human interaction so that they can serve their clients smarter at near real-time processing. Our technology helps to leverage the value of human expertise to carry out business processes more efficiently and to a higher quality, allowing organizations to pivot resource effort from low value-add tasks to high-level decision-making.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Danny Goh: Operations-wise, we, of course, let everyone that was previously office-based work remotely for as long as needed. At various times throughout the past and current year, our members in the UK, Singapore and Vietnam especially saw that they had to shift to a work from a home model that was not their day-to-day routine. In our UK and Singapore team, not having meetings with clients face-to-face threw us a curveball, but I think it’s safe to say that this was not a unique situation for our company. The entire globe made this transition and we all had to adjust together. We are fortunate to have an extremely agile team, so there was virtually no down-time in terms of operations.
Business-wise, Covid only raised the importance of digital transformation for businesses globally. Our solution is poised for this. So we’re lucky to have doubled our pipeline & closed a number of deals even faster than before the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Danny Goh: Fortunately for us, the pandemic did not have the negative impact it has had on many companies across various industries. We were not forced into layoffs and, as a matter of fact, our business has grown as the need for process automation is being recognized now more than ever.
What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Danny Goh: Zoom is definitely important but we also learned that many corporate clients prefer Webex for security reasons. I personally adopted Notion.io to share my ideas with the team faster.
Management skill-wise, I think it’s very important to “manage” your employees’ emotional health during the time. It’s a very sensitive & chaotic time and many people have had to work in isolation. Our HR team did an amazing job dealing with this. They organized various virtual get-togethers, encouraged people to share appreciation notes, hosted WFH challenges, etc. All these efforts make our team members more engaged & motivated to continue doing the great job they do.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Danny Goh: Some of our competitors include Eigen Technologies, ABBYY, Fenergo, and Hyperscience. Updating with the latest technology is very important to stay in the game because the AI landscape is changing very fast. But I think what makes one company stand out from others in this market is how we are able to find the right applications for its technology, what use cases will bring the highest ROI for our clients. AI is only the tool we use to do this. We focus a lot on the application-side. Since 2020 we have partnered with domain experts to understand the problems & thus design solutions better for corporates. And we will keep doing this more in 2021.
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