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An Interview with Kakitangan CEO, Effon Khoo

An Interview with Kakitangan CEO, Effon Khoo
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HR Automation is the process of improving the efficiency of human resources departments through automating the manual processes while eliminating information-centred risks.

Malaysian startup Kakitangan specialises in this very department. Founded in 2015, the company received up to RM1.5 million in funding through equity crowdfunding. To delve into their vision and success, SKALE spoke Effon  Khoo, the founder and CEO of Kakitangan.

The Interview

Kakitangan, a one-stop HR solution for SME's across Malaysia.

The Start and History

Describe your business (product and offerings) and the vision/mission of the company?

Our product is HR Automation for SMEs in Malaysia. The vision is to save time, cost and materials when it comes to HR processes for all SMEs in Malaysia!

What would you say is unique about your company? Is there a special product, approach or philosophy that you adopt?

We make it easier for personnel to spend more time on their employees instead of papers and machines – especially for SME’s (who need it the most). Our solution eases the arduous and dreaded processes that HR management usually entails. With our product, employees can skip the stress and focus more on the business side of things.

What motivated you to start your business? How did you know if this is what you wanted to do?

We wanted to build software that was previously only available to big corporate companies.  Kakitangan automates Human Resource operations such as leave submissions and payroll operations.

We were sure that we could help the industry by reducing the costs for HR management, especially for SME’s. Afterall, financing is tough with smaller corporations. With that thought, I knew I could help revolutionize HR processes.

What were you doing before starting your business and what were your field of study/expertise? Did you had a long history of operating this already?

I started off as an engineer, and worked in corporate finance, IPOs, and sales – so what was next? I wanted to do something that could change the world. At the time, I naively thought of joining a Silicon Valley startup – to go to the US and join Google or Microsoft. So, I blindly applied to do an MBA in Stanford University – and was rejected. Like I believe ‘Life is like a box of chocolates’, full of opportunities.

A month after the rejection letter, I got interviews from Microsoft, Google and a few venture capitals. Eventually I decided to join Microsoft in China. Microsoft‘s HQ is in Seattle, but they have two big R&D centres in India and China. I joined China’s engineering team on Microsoft Office, starting from Outlook, to Office Android, to Sharepoint Online. Sharepoint was the fastest selling Microsoft product ever.

Do you have any other founders? If yes, how did you guys meet and decided to start this?

Luckily, I managed to pull one of my colleagues from Microsoft China to start up a software business together. The man is a very good friend of mine, Jeffrey Christopher!

The Success

How big is your business currently and how long have you been operating it? e.g. how many staff do you have and are you able to provide some success figures such as number of stores, number of customers daily, awards, countries in yearly revenue, profit or growth rates etc.

We have around 20 staff and we have grown 3,000 companies strong since we started. As of now, we are still growing and expect to continue doing so for awhile.

How did you grow the business? What were the key success factors?

Agencies like MaGIC has helped us grow, by introducing us to other startups that would become our clients. By joining the ASEAN Accelerator track, we also made friends with startups from the rest of Southeast Asia, which we keep in touch till today. These opportunities have paved the way to expanding and moving the business to other countries.

The Journey
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