An Israeli expat and Aussie growth
Yair Tzur: An Israeli expat building a high-growth, globally-focused Aussie software business
Israel has an enviable track record in nurturing fast growth, high tech startups and the culture appears to transplant neatly to Australia where the Israeli expat founded Epicon is readying itself for explosive growth to Europe.
Canberra-based Epicon has grown quickly but without fanfare since its inception in 2008.
Epicon’s Integrated Performance Management System lets companies peer deep into their complex IT systems by pulling together a consolidated picture from existing internal and external monitoring tools. The process is underpinned by Epicon’s IT Integration Bus, which allows code-less integration of any monitoring tool, from any vendor.
The company believes its product is unique.
So far Epicon is popular with big government departments and large enterprises, which is not a bad place to start.
“We grew organically very quickly,” says Yair Tzur, co-founder and CEO of Epicon and an Israeli who says he loves Australia and its lifestyle.
From Canberra Epicon expanded to Sydney and Melbourne and the firm these days employs about 70 staff, a number set to more than double as expansion plans get rolled out.
Epicon has recently set up in New Zealand and is in the process of building a Singapore base where Singtel is a customer. Yair says an acquisition there could be an option.
The company has grown from nothing to around about a Series C funding prospect on internal funding only, with revenues last financial year of around $20 million and a revenue growth rate of about 60 per cent. Profit growth at about 100 per cent has been even larger due to new efficiencies introduced to the business
“All of that has been purely organic – no marketing, no PR, just word of mouth.”
While flying low has served Epicon well so far, the firm needs more sales and marketing hands as well as technical staff as it traverses its next big step into Europe with a large contract in Scandinavia as an entrée to the market.
As it spreads northward, the firm is looking at setting up 24/7, follow the sun support. “Bulgaria might be a support centre for us there,” says Yair. “Bulgaria is very welcoming.” The European HQ is still under debate although Yair says he is leaning towards London, despite the Brexit problem with regards to the rest of the EU.
“Culturally (London) is a very good fit for us and the UK is very welcoming for new technology and company tax is low.”
As for the US, Mr Tzur says: “We’ll get there when we are ready.”
The company has spent the past 12 months building muscle in everything from HR to financial systems in anticipation of its growth spurt and Mr Tzur is confident Epicon now has the capacity for even quicker growth than the 60 percent level of the past few years.
It also recently engaged PwC to help it put together a $20 million funding package to finance its growth plans with the round expected to close later this year. As for an IPO, Mr Tzur says it’s early days. “We need to be a little bit more solid.”
In the Federal government market Epicon sees itself as well positioned to take advantage of the Coalition’s goal of spending 10 percent more of its ICT budget with innovative SMEs and making the procurement system more user friendly for smaller local suppliers.
A Fed taskforce is thought to be looking at creating an SME ‘sweetspot’ for contracts valued between $80,000 and $5 million. These are for projects solutions that can often be turned around quickly and could be carried out by smaller agile providers.
Epicon sees the breaking down of the Fed’s traditional big contract approach to IT as inevitable.
“The big outsourcing deals are going to get smaller and be available to more people, says Mr Tzur.
While Epicon will spread its wings across Asia and Europe in the near term, Canberra will stay the company’s base.
“I have lived literally all over the world. I have lived in New York, Israel, Europe and Asia and Canberra is probably the most liveable city I have ever lived in,” says Mr Tzur.