The first quarter of 2023 has been marred by skyrocketing inflation in the APAC region, with an average increase of over 3% since 2022, according to Global Data. Geopolitical instability and fears of a recession have added further strain to the mix. As a result, employers in the region have had to rethink their hiring practices and business goals to adapt to the current climate.
One of those ways, as we’ve observed, is venturing out of their home ground into Southeast Asia (SEA) to hire in markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The talent pool in this region remains attractive to employers because of cost efficiency. In fact, a sizable number of companies have already shifted their focus here.
Chinese employers are currently eyeing SEA, according to a recent Glints survey on hiring sentiments. Similarly, companies from Japan are tapping into these talent pools as well. One such example is Tokyo-based unicorn, RevComm, which wanted to find a way to penetrate Indonesia’s market.
RevComm is a Japanese software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup that gears its mission towards “reinventing communication to create a society where people think of others”. Its product, MiiTel, is a cloud Internet Protocol (IP) phone that leverages AI to visualize telemarketing and customer interaction. It was first launched in Japan back in October 2018.
During a call, the product will automatically record, transcribe and analyze the conversation between the individuals present. Additionally, it can also visualize telemarketing and customer interactions. MiiTel aids businesses by identifying important factors in a conversation that affect Key Performance Indexes such as acquisition rates and closing rates.
In just four and a half years since its inception, MiiTel has gained almost 44,000 users. RevComm has also been granted several awards including Forbes Japan Startup of the Year, Japan Venture Awards, and many more.
The company’s CEO, Takeshi Aida, shares that the company has been having a positive cash flow since its Series A funding in 2020 and are actively hiring at least 10 skilled talent per month.
“Indonesia is the next big market,” says Aida. The country is the region’s largest digital economy and is projected to grow and exceed US$100 billion by 2025. It’s a fertile ground for new businesses to take root and flourish. Local Indonesian companies have also undergone a digital transformation — evolving their telecommunications to Voice over IP (VoIP) phones, replacing traditional analog ones.
The VoIP industry is estimated to be worth over US$43 billion worldwide and is projected to grow more than twice the amount by 2033, according to Future Market Insights. Unsurprisingly for RevComm, Indonesia is seen as the ideal destination to grow MiiTel, since there were no AI-enhanced voice-to-text VoIP products in Indonesia yet. Aside from that, Indonesia is also home to over 260 million young digital natives.
To begin operating in Indonesia, RevComm needed to first understand the lay of the land. This proved to be a hurdle in its expansion plan since it was not familiar with the market in Indonesia and didn’t have insider knowledge of the country.
“You cannot invest in a market without any form of testing,” Aida explains.
Conducting a product market fit test required local talent who had the experience and expertise. Without any proper networks in Indonesia, RevComm resorted to LinkedIn and approached people individually. It was a process that Aida describes as “painful” since it took a lot of time and effort to engage potential candidates.
He elaborates that it’s hard to find skilled talent to join them — particularly sales and customer success representatives — since SaaS was not a big industry in Indonesia at the time. As a result, it was hard for RevComm to explain the concept of voicetech to potential candidates. The company also did not know the best way to communicate the requirements of the roles with potential candidates as well.
“There’s no idea or concept of inside sales or customer success, those kinds of positions,” Aida says. “It’s really rare, and it’s hard to understand what it is. I think it’s very difficult to fill them.”
In addition, there were also several factors that slowed down their progress. RevComm was not familiar with Indonesian compliance matters such as payroll, tax, and insurance. Employers must be well adept in such HR processes to avoid legal repercussions from surfacing during hiring. They also had to be aware of Indonesia’s workplace culture, which can be tedious and time-consuming to understand.
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It’s because of these issues that RevComm decided to team up with Glints.
“Glints knows the market and regulations of Indonesia. It’s fair to say it’s a one-stop service regarding Human Resources and other legal matters. They can translate our requirements to the candidates and let them understand what we’re looking for. So it’s really smooth communication,” says Aida.
The partnership allowed RevComm to tap into Indonesia’s talent pool and accelerate its search for the right talent. The team at Glints provided RevComm with a personalized hiring experience to address its hiring needs and pain points, which involved curating interview-ready talent from its regional talent pool, and facilitating the recruitment process from onboarding all the way to compliance management.
Aida adds that the hiring process was great since he received quick responses from Glints representatives. He commends the quality of the talent pool that Glints has, explaining that there were no problems at all when new talent were hired.
“To rocket start into a new market, we need to have certain proper talent. Through Glints, we now have an operation team dedicated to us. Glints is super helpful from A to Z. Without their help we won’t be able to do it for sure,” Aida says.
Since partnering with Glints in 2022, RevComm has been able to focus solely on its expansion plan. They’ve successfully engaged with more than 100 Indonesian businesses and have over 1,000 active MiiTel users. Aida summarized his whole experience with Glints with just one word — “awesome”.
The successful venture into Indonesia has set RevComm’s eyes on expanding its business into several other Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and The Philippines. Aida expresses a keen interest to continue RevComm’s partnership with Glints and is confident that RevComm’s future expansion plan will come to fruition.
“I really think from the bottom of my heart, without Glints, we won’t be able to expand our business into Indonesia within a year. “I’d love to work with you again,” Aida reiterates. “I trust Glints. I trust the Glints’ people.”
As Southeast Asia’s largest talent recruitment and management platform, Glints can help connect you with skilled talent from Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and The Philippines — so you can focus on growing your business without the hassle. Find out more about our services here.
Additionally, check out our hiring guide here where you can find vital information about hiring processes in greater Southeast Asia — such as salaries, manpower laws, and employment regulations — along with details on the local talent pool and work culture.
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