Exclusive Interview with Mr. Umair Javed Founder & CEO Tkxel
1.Please share few words about yourself, education and professional life?
I am passionate about launching, managing and accelerating businesses that use technology to create value.
I did my graduation from UET Lahore in Electrical Engineering, followed by an MS in CS from LUMS, where I also got the honor of receiving a Gold Medal. That followed by the couple of years work in the industry as well as setup of the engineering department in Government University.
After that, I went on to building my own ventures. I built a couple of companies, faced early success, excitement, and disappointment before finally doing TkXe in 2008 and this where I am till today.
Till a few years ago, I used to teach at LUMS and couple of other institutions because I think that if we are to get the kind of individuals we need for our organizations, we have to contribute towards developing them. I am unable to do that now, for lack of time, but this is something I miss.
2.Tell us about your organization, your services, and clientage?
Founded inside a university lab back in 2008, TkXel has grown to become a mid-size company today. We have over 180 people with several wings and decent revenue streams.
Our services wing specializes in enterprise, web & mobile space. We help create highly profitable businesses by delivering technology solutions. Our focus is to work with customers and solve their business problems or fulfill their needs to spur their growth. In the past 7 years, we have delivered a large number of mobile apps, web products and enterprise solutions to top brands across the globe. We have worked with companies like NBC Universal, Groupon, Barclays Bank, Toyota, Telenor and much more.
Our digital agency wing helps brands get visibility and growth. We are one of the very few agencies that really help brands not only get visibility but also generate revenue and provide direct ROI on their spend. We have directly or indirectly managed campaigns for Zong, Ufone, Toyota, Ford and much more. The focus of this wing is Pakistan and Dubai.
We also invest in consumer and business products. Our games and apps have produced over a 100 million installs in the last one-year. We have also recently invested in a couple of e-commerce start-ups to help them scale up to make them big. Another area where we have invested is the Edu-tech and we are looking to partner with schools and revolutionize the way parent, teachers and students interact.
3.What makes taxes different from other technology companies?
Our constant desire to push hard, improve and never settle for second place is what that makes us different. We focus on having an “A” team and then push them to become better. This doesn’t mean that we never face failure, but we treat it as learning and never settle for it. Most of the technology companies sell the same service or work on similar technologies; it’s the people that make the difference. You put right people in lean and efficient processes and the results are great.
The second part is that we try to inculcate strong customer obsession culture in our teams. We work hard to produce great quality and then work even harder to ensure that we delight our customers.
4.How do you see Pakistani market and future prospectus as Technology
It’s getting better and better and technology companies will see a lot of growth in the coming years. Ten years ago there were only a few companies with a million dollar or more revenue, today there are many. At that time you could hardly hear about startups, today it’s a buzzword. So it’s all good news!
Having said that, there is an acute shortage of skilled engineers, managers, and marketers in the technology sector. Industry, academia, and government need to work independently as well as hand in hand to improve this situation. The size of the IT companies in Pakistan is a clear indication that we suffer from lack of skilled HR and we all need to work to reduce that gap.
5. Mobile application industry expected to flourish with the introduction of 3G/4G services in the country?
Let’s talk numbers, 13 million mobile users access 3G/4G on mobile and the number is expected to reach somewhere around 15 million by the end of this year. Greater connectivity and ease of use has shifted the consumers to prefer mobile applications for socializing, shopping, banking and what not. Hence, demand is surging for such downloadable mobile applications that cater to varying choices of the consumers.
To be precise, as long as the number of people who prefer mobile applications increases the mobile app industry is bound to grow.
As a company that started its business with mobile application development, we are ramping ourselves up to deliver top quality mobile apps experience both in the services and product space.
6.What are your future plans and strategy?
Currently, we are engaged in delivering large scale, integrated business and mobility solutions to organizations in North America, besides creating products for consumer space.
Our future plans and strategy revolve around expanding both sides of our business:
1.We are looking to get more market share for services business by expanding our footprint further in North America and other regions. Last year, we opened an office in the US and we are scaling it further.
2.We are also investing in several Pakistani e-commerce, education, gaming and other startups to launch products for Consumer and Business space in Pakistan and abroad. We believe that it’s a right time to enter in the Pakistani consumer space as internet and smartphone penetration is on the rise and exciting startup eco-system is trying to take its roots.
Besides the top two initiatives, our independently managed divisions of digital agency and quality assurance and certification bodies are doing well. They have major clientele in telecommunication, financial and manufacturing space and expanding locally.
7.Are you satisfied the actions taken so far by the regulator/IT ministry for IT Industry?
I believe that there needs to be more collaboration between industry and government. I can see the government taking some substantial steps and I believe that industry should participate more to give feedback. However, there are also issues like Youtube ban, etc. which are taking forever to resolve.
There has also been a lot of emphasis on internship, training and certification programs by government, which is no doubt important, but there should be a lot more investment in helping companies with sales and marketing and expanding the footprint of companies in the export markets.