The convergence of services between market sectors has picked up pace since the rollout of the national broadband network (NBN) was completed.
The hybrid work environment, customer experience and customer retention continue to come under the microscope for many organisations -- large or small.
Watching energy providers and banking organisations tap into offering telco services for their customers – like Commonwealth Bank’s investment in More Telecom and Tangerine, AGL’s purchase of Southern Phone and Energy Australia – they’re not necessarily aiming to turn into a telco – but rather create customer experiences - a certain stickiness has never been more prevalent than now.
As Marshall Thompson and Jason Matser hatched an idea and started building the origins for their business – Acurus in 2007, they were involved in building and supporting billing platforms in the utilities sector.
They could see the market convergence taking shape and in 2014 started designing the Anex ISP as-a-Service white label platform. However, back in 2014, it wasn’t widely understood by the market what that ‘convergence’ meant for business, customer retention and stepping into a new services paradigm.
“Looking back - we were true innovators. We built this platform before anyone was thinking about it,” Thompson said.
“But we had to educate the market and that's a hard slog. We spent years developing the platform and convincing brands that taking on adjacent products such as telco, insurance and so forth, was a viable churn reduction strategy."
Acurus has two focused business streams: its Anex platform which is used to power internet for brands including Energy Australia, Officeworks and Tomi Broadband and it's managed services arm, which provides cyber security and digital transformation services to customers including Bakers Delight, Roy Morgan, Hume Bank, Zen Energy and Paccar.
The company’s business model and Anex platform caught the attention of publicly listed Superloop, which recently completed the acquisition of Acurus. Superloop has retained the Acurus brand, its company culture and its 60-plus employees with Thompson and Matser at the helm.
For New Zealand-born Thompson, this isn’t the first time he started up and sold a business. He moved to Australia when he was 17 for a lifestyle change that saw him enrol on a computer course and take up work experience for an IT consulting business where Matser was his IT manager.
Finding and retaining good people, having a good culture and building solid business processes, are some key elements Thompson has learnt along his business journey.
“Our people have a reputation for getting the job done,” Thompson said. “This is where our trademark 'we find a way' was born. We're pleased that Superloop has a fantastic culture and has the same work ethos, we look forward to working alongside the Superloop team.”
As a result of the Superloop acquisition, Matser added it will be focusing on growing its managed services and customers on the Anex platform.
“The challenge of getting people to see your vision doesn’t seem to be there anymore and they’re really keen to talk to us about what we can do for them,” Matser said.
“We just love the engagement that we're getting from old and new customers, and we’re so excited about how many new customers we can work with moving forward.”
At the time the acquisition was announced, Superloop CEO and Managing Director Paul Tyler said the acquisition expanded Superloop’s addressable market beyond traditional telcos and into the growing domain of non-traditional retailers.
“With this newly acquired white label telco capability, brands from any industry who are looking to broaden their core offering with turnkey telco services now have a great option,” Tyler said.
"Customers will have access to the well-regarded expertise of the Acurus team for integrated white label services combined with Superloop's high-speed infrastructure-on-demand platform and network assets.”