Eden Exchange continues its series on world-beating entrepreneurs in Australia by talking to Adam Delon, who is the CEO of MeshTelco and the soon to launch, Life Wireless.
Dealing with very poor telco services in Australia saw Adam pivot his company to become a leading provider of bundled technology, and tailored internet solutions.
Thanks for speaking with us Adam. Firstly, what brought you into the world of tech, telco and communication solutions? Can you tell us a bit about your background?
My working life began at the age of 13 years old delivering medications for a pharmacy and doing paper rounds at 4am. Throughout my early education years, I always had a passion for technology. In fact, the only enjoyment I got out of my limited years in the education system was with computers. I naturally gravitated towards tech. My younger years were spent in front of gaming consoles. From the Atari 2600 to Commodore 64 with the the old “run cat” to execute games, to the NES, SNES, N64 to the PlayStation and then the Xbox.
I dropped out of the education system at the beginning of year 12 to help my family financially. I was working two jobs. During the day I worked at an abattoir. It was a slaughter house and I worked on the “kill floor”. At night, I worked at Safeway, now known as Woolworths, as a grocery assistant stacking shelves. After a short while, I quit working at Safeway and remained at the abattoir. I spent five years of my life there, from the tender age of 17 to early adulthood at 22 years of age. Those years of my life were enriched with all facets of emotion. I will reserve those stories for another time.
Throughout my entire adult life, I always knew I would start a business and build something great, although it wasn’t so clear back then. At the time, all I wanted was to get out of the dirty world of labouring. I remember visualising wearing a suit and a tie, working in an office environment, working in a “clean” atmosphere. Without knowing it, I set my first goal. My brother at the time was working in a call centre as a team leader. I aspired to go the same direction but was in no way shape or form equipped to work in such an environment. I was far off, down, depressed and with very little self-esteem, I had no idea what to do next. I all of a sudden began to write in a journal, then shortly after, discovered self-help books. My mind was blown away with what I was reading. To me, this is where my real education started. I then became driven.
I became an apprentice chef, landed a job in a call centre selling electricity contracts and telecommunications, became a real estate agent, secured a position in another but more “high end” call centre, worked in IT Recruitment and at Senis, which was then a globally recognised digital marketing agency. I never stopped reading voraciosuly on self-development. I kept reading about new innovations in technology and always kept up by owning the latest tech.
It was at the later stages of my working career that we started our first brainstorming sessions, eventually forming our first company, Zyper.
The early stages of Zyper were within application development focusing on the iOS platform followed by developing mobile websites. We then pivoted towards Wi-Fi technology, sourcing and licensing a great platform from the UK to resell in Australia. It was here that I developed a love for the Wi-Fi technology and networking which later spawned MeshTelco…
What triggered the idea for MeshTelco? What were some of the challenges you faced to get the business to where it is today?
With my first business venture, Zyper, being a Wi-Fi specialised company, the major roadblock for us was trying to upgrade existing internet plans.
When we set out to establish a brand new internet connection for our customers we soon discovered that dealing with Telcos was an absolute pain in the ass! It was making us lose opportunities. The length of time it took to have the customer served and on-boarded was horrible. This forced us to call Internet Services Providers on behalf of our prospective customers to try and establish an upgrade or new connection.
Our “eureka moment” came at a point when we were fed up with the all-around poor service. We then set out to fix our customer’s experience, by blending the offerings together and becoming our own ISP. This created our unique selling point.
What markets does MeshTelco focus on? What are your key points of difference?
MeshTelco’s primary focus is business to business. But business owners tend to take their work home with them. We provide solutions to homes, cafes, restaurants, gyms, offices and also fit out high-rise buildings, accommodation sites, buildings and office buildings with fast fibre grade internet and bring in Mesh Wi-Fi technology.
Our key point of difference is within our core product Life Wireless. We are on a mission to eliminate poor internet connectivity using the latest wireless technology. We are able to beam fast internet speeds down to homes and businesses, without the hassles of digging up roads or infrastructure.
Our other point of difference is our technology which we bundle together with the internet. For example, a gym needs internet and so does its guests. We have a solution that we can bundle together with the internet, together with a fully managed, secure guest Wi-Fi network that even markets the business, increasing its bottom line. We have a tight process to ensure that we always stay in touch with our customers – this makes all the difference.
Where do you see MeshTelco in a year from now? What stage of development is the business in and what are its strategic priorities?
In a years’ time we see MeshTelco and its core product, Life Wireless, fully mature and servicing more than 3000 homes and businesses Australia wide.
We are currently in the process of establishing links with key points of interest starting off in Victoria to embed our wireless technology on rooftops. Our strategic priority is to solidify our channels to market, to combine our online and offline channels to gain more traction.
Who are your customers?
We have customers across all sorts of different market sectors, again from homes, restaurants, cafes, professional services, shopping centres to buildings (Wi-Fi in-building fit outs).
What industry trends do entrepreneurs in your sector need to be aware of? How do you plan to capitalise on these trends?
The traditional method of a “one shoe fits all” approach when servicing or providing solutions to customers is far outdated. I feel that you need to really know thy customer more now than ever, especially in a highly commoditized and competitive industry such as telecommunications. Micro-targeting is critical and we intend to build tailored solutions that are focused to suit specific markets not just by industry, but also geographically.
What advice would you give someone thinking of taking the plunge into a startup venture for the first time?
Really know the landscape first. What I mean is that to really look into the market and get a feel for the “pains” he or she is experiencing first hand. Don’t just build a product and throw it up on the wall, hoping something will stick. Really do some deep research into what it is that you are trying to solve.
Once you have validated the “pain”, go out there and speak to people. Ask them if they are willing to pay for your product or solution to alleviate their pain that they are experiencing. With that, the next step, in my opinion, is to build a solid process.
Processes for everything about your business. Everything should be documented. Once that has been established, build the digital marketing strategy, establish a go to market plan and perfect it.
What makes a good entrepreneur?
Grit. Just grit. Building a business is tough and the ones that get hit hard and bounce back higher are the ones that will make it.
How do you rate the Australian landscape for innovation and investment?
Australia has some of the most talented people. You hear about it everywhere. I rate the landscape for innovation and investment very high as I feel that within the Australian market, there are so many untapped opportunities, especially in traditional markets.
What’s the most interesting part of your job? What drives you to do what you do?
The most interesting parts of my job would have to be the learnings of how the telecommunications landscape operates and also the new and latest technology that is becoming available.
Innovation and the adoption of new technology in this sector have been traditionally slow. The need for a better solution is what drives me. I really just want to get out there, implement our Life Wireless solution and help drive better connectivity throughout Australia.
Thanks for your time Adam
ABOUT MESHTELCO: Increasing efficiency for businesses, Mesh provides the right internet plan combined with high-grade technology and equipment. Internet plans such as NBN, VoIP, Midband Broadband/Ethernet Internet, Fibre Internet, MeshOne – Smart Mesh Enabled WiFi, and the new Life Wirless Internet, MeshTelco’s mission is to provide the very best in customer service, ensuring that all your business and personal needs are met.
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