Groupon purchased of 5 month old Malaysia startup Groupsmore, is quite likely one of the biggest news to hit Malaysian startup scene. With the purchase of Octozen by Facebook and Friendster being brought by MOL, there seem to be a ray of hope for
local entrepreneurs who wants to make it big. We spoke to newly appointed Groupon Malaysia CEO about the excitement of this new acquisition.
Joel Neoh is the founder of Youth Malaysia, a former model(appeared in the covers of Men’s Health, winner of Malaysia business reality show the Firm and co founder of Youth Asia.
MYE:Congratulation Joel on being the new Groupon Malaysia CEO. We understand Groupsmore was a property of Youth Asia who also runs the newly rebranded Says.my, what will be difference now that Groupsmore will be Groupon Malaysia?
Joel Neoh: Basically Khailee will be running YouthAsia side of thing and I will be handling day to day of Groupon Malaysia. For Groupsmore, we’ve been operating with less than 10 people over the past 5 months. In order to spur growth, we’ll be growing our team significantly over the next few months. On a personal side this is also a great opportunities for cross learnings from other groupon companies globally.
MYE: There are many other Groupon clones in the market in Malaysia. We have tracked close to 20 with a lot of them very small. I get an email almost every week since November on people telling me they are going to set up a clone. How will this effect the other players in the market?
JL: We’ve always been focused on getting our value proposition right to our members. this does not change with the Groupon acquisition. At the end of the day, our members comes first as they make the call on whether to continue using groupsmore or other sites.
MYE: Will you work with other companies that have been purchased such as beeconomic?
JL: At this point of time I don’t have any indication of how closely we will work – but it is very likely. I look fwd to working with the rest of groupon companies, as most of them are run by young successful entrepreneurial individuals too.
MYE:What can you tell us about the deal?
JL: Sorry but because of the agreement, can’t disclose the numbers — but this deal has put Malaysia on the map of tech startups (we were in lots of global tech review sites eg. thenextweb.com, techeye.net, penn-olson.com —- and this really helps in generating interest of global companies, vcs, investors take notice of our Malaysia social technology scene. There are many very cool startups here in malaysia that needs more visibility + funding.
Currently members of Groupsmore team will be sent to UK and the Valley for trainings of operational training. Groupon is generally viewed as the fastest growing company in the world. They have been valued at close to USD4 billions and most recently walked away from an acquisition by google. They have been aggressively looking at expansion around the world by purchasing top players in the local market such as Beeconomic in Singapore, Atlastpos in Taiwan and uBuyibuy in Hong Kong. The Malaysian deal was done in record time of 5 months. Which clone will they buy next in Asia?
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