Acquisitions won’t stop as KORE expands to provide software and services
Alexander Bufalino joined KORE in October 2016 as senior vice president of international sales and marketing. Here, he tells IoT Now that, following the acquisition of Wyless, the company is addressing customers’ needs for global services and preparing to widen its offering to include software and services in addition to connectivity.
IoT Now: What were the reasons for KORE’s acquisition of Wyless?
Alexander Bufalino: The connectivity enablement market is highly competitive and more and more companies now expect to have globally available services so having a truly global IoT managed service is what the market is demanding. KORE is very big in the US and Canada and Wyless had impressive operations in Europe, Australia and Latin America so putting the two together made excellent sense.
In addition, bringing both companies together has created the largest independent IoT managed services entity in the world and also provides a global footprint for our operations. After the Wyless acquisition, when we talk to clients we can truly serve them with our global, managed solutions.
For example, a client in the mining industry from Australia but operating globally, might provide very important heavy equipment to mines in Africa and need to support that plant using IoT services. From a connectivity point of view it’s an obvious requirement to have a provider that can provide connections to that equipment.
That global footprint is so important because it adds to our credibility. Combined, we now operate in more than 100 countries and connect more than 7.5 million assets and that means that when we start talking to mobile network operators, they’re naturally interested in working with us. We have a growth rate of 30% year-on-year and we’ve no plans to stop making acquisitions. They’re an important part of our growth strategy as we progress.
The match between the markets and the technologies of Wyless and KORE was a great fit. Wyless had developed technology in managed connectivity with a connectivity management platform that matched technologies KORE had developed perfectly. The companies were remarkably well aligned in terms of how the combined business can grow.
The company is now very rapidly becoming a software and services business in addition to the connectivity we offer. Part of the strategy when the companies came together was to provide embedded solutions worldwide and we’re bringing those to customers now. Those solutions will initially focus on horizontal enablement but may go vertical later on to provide highly tailored solutions for specific use cases in industries such as oil and gas, retail or manufacturing.
KORE is now highly differentiated from standard IoT connectivity providers and it’s important to remember that we provide cellular and satellite technologies so wherever there’s a connectivity need we can support our customers.
IoT Now: What are the advantages for customers of both companies?
AB: For the clients it’s definitely an advantage that KORE has brought Wyless into its business. We’ve added additional networks and geographic areas and combining the two companies means the variety of choice is greater for customers. They will also benefit in terms of the continuity and capability of the business. We’ve become stronger so our negotiating position with connectivity providers is better and so is our competitive positioning. What’s very important now is that when our customers want to go international there is already a solution available for them within the new KORE.
For example, a former Wyless client in Israel that has a good business in Europe has been able to get coverage from us in North America as well because the companies are combined. That wouldn’t have been so simple before because KORE has key contracts with AT&T which are attractive to the customer and Wyless did not have that relationship with the operator.
IoT Now: How is the integration of the two companies coming together?
AB: It’s going very well. The technical integration will be completed in the first half of this year, bringing together the multiple technology platforms of the two companies. On the organisational front, we’ve established the structure of the business and have strengthened our management team to enable further growth. For instance, Miguel Garcia has just joined us from SAP and heads our product management now. We are moving to become a software, services and platforms business so Miguel is ideal for us because he brings that knowledge. We’ve also brought on a new CFO because the business is complex and needs strong management and we are building the business as a global brand with integrated corporate marketing that breaks the business down into individual markets.
IoT Now: KORE has a strong brand in North America but is less well known in Europe, how is the company using Wyless’s strong European heritage to spearhead growth of KORE’s brand recognition in Europe?
AB: Europe’s very interesting and soon we’ll be reaching out to the market to communicate what we’re doing. We have large units in the UK and The Netherlands which we’ve brought together to consolidate and restructure the team. We’ll strengthen our reach into those two markets and we have concrete plans to extend into Germany and Italy, which we see as very attractive markets, in the second quarter of this year.
Those are our 2017 goals and we will assess moves into Eastern Europe and Scandinavia next year. Today, we’re on a strategic growth plan which has two elements – consolidation and growth both in established and new markets.
IoT Now: What are KORE’s future plans?
AB: Analyst firm Gartner has positioned us as the only challenger company in its Magic Quadrant for managed IoT connectivity and we are now strengthening the company to go further. The next step for KORE was to go global and we have achieved that with the Wyless acquisition, now we need to continue transforming from being a managed IoT connectivity provider to becoming a software and platforms company in addition.
We are becoming an IoT enablement company and that means having end-to-end enablement capabilities. We’ve developed the software in-house and for hardware, we’re partnering with triple-A rated device OEMs. We will actively approach opportunities globally offering hardware and managed connectivity, we’re even better placed than before.