Simply Wireless shuts up shop and heads east

Simply Wireless shuts up shop and heads east

Simply Wireless has shut its doors in Australia and will transfer its business to the Middle East as a result of poor investment funding from the local market.

CEO and founder, Desmond O'Geran, said an insufficient amount of capital from Australian investors combined with the slow adoption of wireless technology, caused its demise.

"It is not my preferred option - the idea was to replicate the business in the Middle East and keep Simply Wireless in Australia as well," he said. "But we can't do both - I just don't have the funding."

Simply Wireless went into voluntary administration on July 30, appointing Deloitte as its overseer. It had been operating for 30 months.

The company provides a range of wireless solutions and technologies, including Wi-Fi, wireless LAN and mobile connectivity products.

O'Geran said a foreign private backer had initially invested $2 million into the Australian Simply Wireless business. He had then spent up to 30 per cent of his time while running Simply Wireless trying to raise additional investment capital.

"If I had enough cash, I would buy up small wireless companies in Australia," he said. "They are all struggling."

Although there had been several interested parties looking to buy portions of Simply Wireless's assets in Australia during the administration process, the shell of the company was dead in the water, O'Geran said.

He had now secured $US1 million worth of funding in the Middle East to set up shop in Dubai Internet City.

O'Geran said he paid $12,000 to buyout the intellectual property and related assets of Simply Wireless in Australia. All existing local customer contracts had been passed on to other wireless integrators, including Integ.

He got the idea for expanding into the Middle East after participating in an OzIndustry delegation to the region two years ago.

"The market in the Middle East is 1000 times the size of Australia," O'Geran said. "Dubai is undergoing explosive growth. There is a market and interest there for our products.

"Don't get me wrong, there are wireless integrators out there and it's competitive. But they're not actively pushing these products."

Simply Wireless has already won several contracts, including a new deal to rollout hotspot infra­structure to six Virgin Megastore sites in Dubai, as well as provide the wireless technology for a wireless conference being held in December. The company's main short-term objective is to build up a reputation in the local market.

To do this, O'Geran said he would recruit two sales and technical staff from Australia to establish the company's skillset in Dubai.

"The most important part of this business is the people," he said.

Half of its new funding would also be used to rollout four wireless LAN demonstration sites across the city, O'Geran said. The company would also utilise joint marketing funding from its partner, Cisco Systems, to boost its profile in the local market.

"We'll look to partner with other integrators there as well," he said.

Simply Wireless aims to raise $US2 million in sales in its first year, with the hope of increasing this to $US5 million in its second year of operation.

This would be achievable by targeting several vertical markets including health, education and retail, O'Geran said. Part of the company's downfall in the Australian market was due to its broad base of wireless solutions.

"We were too broad - you can't be all things to all people," he said. "It's a lesson to go for specialisation on smaller markets as opposed to trying to address several markets.

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