Originally born and raised in Jakarta, Kevin moved West for his education and then entered the startup scene in order to forge his own path. After many stints in notable startups like car2go, Breeze, and Hailo, Kevin has come back to the region to bring SmartRetail to the masses. With the skills and lessons learned from his time in the US and UK, Kevin is looking to change the automated retail industry.
His new venture, SmartRetail is an innovative developer and operator of Smart Automated Retail Solutions. They develop machines that are IoT platforms capable of real-time remote controlling and monitoring of the machine, an interactive marketing platform, allow redemptions and loyalty awards, access social media, and other potential Big Data applications.
Still connected to this region, Kevin speaks Bahasa Indonesia, which he learnt as child growing up in Jakarta, Indonesia.
If you can’t find Kevin in his office or meeting potential partners, he’s likely to be traveling or even holed up at home watching Netflix. Read his story below.
Sell us your company/service in 300 words?
SmartRetail is an automated retail specialist that takes old school vending machines to the next level. We’re not just a traditional machine for snacks and drinks. You can customise our vending machines to sell almost anything! We have close to 400 machines in Hong Kong and another 100 operating in Singapore. Some of the products our clients are selling include health and beauty supplies, Fitbit devices, and even smartphones and computer accessories. The machines are connected to the internet, so you can track sales and inventory, update product information and prices and upload marketing videos remotely.
What is stopping you from having the largest company in the world?
Limitations to hardware and the requirement of a local operations team to handle maintenance and repairs. It can be difficult to find a good team where you need it, especially when SmartRetail plans to expand regionally.
There’s only one of me, and this means that before we can expand overseas, there needs to be in place proper Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure regional teams can operate smoothly even in my absence. These 2 factors are what makes scalability difficult.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry in Southeast Asia, what would it be?
I would like to change the region’s openness to new technologies. For example, Singapore is enveloped in progressive people and technology. It makes business more fun when people are open to new technologies, the government is supportive of new companies and competitors move quickly to solve a problem. If the SEA region can progress to reach Singapore’s level of embracing technology, that would be ideal.
Name one person in the region, who is making a difference in Technology?
We are. The retail space has gone through constant innovation, from accepting credit cards to e-commerce and so on. Today, many retailers still seek a brick and mortar experience for their customers. At SmartRetail, we offer vending machines with intelligent smart vending technologies to businesses looking to provide the brick and mortar retail experience for customers without the traditional brick and mortar setup costs. We are utilizing different technologies to change and improve new problems that are coming up in our industry. With that, I strongly believe that we have the potential to become a technology unicorn.
What would you want people to remember you for, 100 years from now?
In 100 years, I want people to remember me for being a charismatic business person that worked hard and gave back to society in a positive way.
Kevin has had a lot of experience in the startup scene, with stints as the General Manager for brands like MyTaxi, Hailo, MOVE Guides, and Breeze. Prior to moving to the region, Kevin was in charge of the US and UK markets for these brands and focused on expansion and growth.
Views expressed by the interviewee are not necessarily shared by Tech Collective. Some minimal editing is done for clarity’s sake.
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