CEO Series: Grant Straker is taking on the tech giants from rural NZ

HOSTS Alec Renehan & Bryce Leske|28 July, 2021

Meet your hosts

  • Alec Renehan

    Alec developed an interest in investing after realising he was spending all that he was earning. Investing became his form of 'forced saving'. While his first investment, Slater and Gordon (SGH), was a resounding failure, he learnt a lot from that experience. He hopes to share those lessons amongst others through the podcast and help people realise that if he can make money investing, anyone can.
  • Bryce Leske

    Bryce has had an interest in the stock market since his parents encouraged him to save 50c a fortnight from the age of 5. Once he had saved $500 he bought his first stock - BKI - a Listed Investment Company (LIC), and since then hasn't stopped. He hopes that Equity Mates can help make investing understandable and accessible. He loves the Essendon Football Club, and lives in Sydney.

It’s no secret that New Zealand punches well above its weight with innovative, interesting companies that come across the pond and list on the ASX. In this episode, Alec and Bryce chat to Grant Straker – the co-founder and CEO of Straker Translations, an ASX-listed language translation service. Since co-founding Straker with his wife Merryn in 1999, the company has grown to $30m in revenue and a $130m market cap. Prior to Straker Translations, Grant was a paratrooper in the British Army. Straker has gone from strength to strength, with revenue growing from $10m in FY16 to $31m in FY21 (5 year CAGR, 25.6%) and guided for $50m in FY22, while the global market for language services was $43b in 2017, expected to be $67b in 2022 (5 year CAGR, 9.3%). Together they talk about how Straker will capture larger and larger market share in this growing market, their partnership with IBM, and what the future holds for Straker.

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Bryce: [00:01:35] Welcome to another episode of Equity Mates, a podcast that follows our journey of investing, whether you're an absolute beginner or approaching Warren Buffett status, our aim is to help break down your barriers from beginning to dividend. My name is Bryce and as always, I'm joined by my Equity Mates Ren. How are you going? [00:01:49][14.2]

Alec: [00:01:50] I'm very good. Bryce very excited for this episode. We are continuing our CEO series where we speak to some of the best CEOs and founders from Australia and New Zealand around the world. And for a while we've been fascinated with some of the great companies coming out of New Zealand that are listed over here in Australia. And we're going to continue that today with a New Zealand based CEO with an ASX listed company. [00:02:13][23.1]

Bryce: [00:02:14] It is our pleasure to welcome Grant Straker to Equity Mates. Grant, welcome. [00:02:17][3.1]

Grant: [00:02:18] Hi, guys. It's a pleasure to be here. [00:02:19][1.3]

Bryce: [00:02:20] So Grant is the co-founder and CEO of Strecker Translation's and ASX listed language translation service since cofounding Striker with his wife Marianne in nineteen ninety nine, the company has grown to 30 million in revenue and a one hundred and thirty dollars million market cap prior to strike, a Translation's Grant was a paratrooper in the British army. So we're going to be spending the next little while going through some of the company basics, growth and competition, then closing out with a discussion around leadership and people and culture as always. So Ren, let's kick it off. [00:02:51][31.3]

Alec: [00:02:51] Yes, a grant to start these interviews. We always like to hear the CEO or the founder describe their own company in their own words. So to kick us off today, what is Striker Translation's? [00:03:02][11.1]

Grant: [00:03:03] So we are an AI driven, productivity enhancing platform in fifty billion dollar plus language services industry. We offer language services through our platform and a global services network to commercialize our innovation. And fundamentally in this industry, AI is going to have an impact and that's going to make humans more productive. And we've built a platform that commercializes that and encapsulates a huge amount of unique technology to give us an advantage. [00:03:35][31.6]

Bryce: [00:03:36] Now, Grant, you're a Kiwi, but before founding Stroker, you were a paratrooper in the British army. So how did all that happen? And then what led you to actually founding Stroker? [00:03:45][9.5]

Grant: [00:03:46] Yes, I went to the UK as a teenager with my family. My dad got a job over there and I went there late 70s, early 80s, and along with a couple of others, we joined the army. Both my parents were actually previously in the Air Force, strangely enough. So we all joined the army. And look, it was it was it was a fantastic adventure. I feel sorry for a lot of the people in their 20s now who get locked into desks and sitting in front of computers coding when, you know, I've got to do incredibly exciting stuff from, you know, traveling the world when when when it was hard to travel the world. You know, as a young person, I know now there's cheap flights everywhere, but it was very difficult. So you got to do all these exciting things. I did some crazy stuff. I sort of part of a few of us were the first people to ever cycle across continental USA and mountain bikes, for example. I was sort of at the Berlin Wall when the wall came down. So I got to have some really fantastic experiences. And then when I came back to New Zealand, I left the army and came back in the nineties. I thought I better get serious and figure out what was going to do. So I went to study engineering and then engineering sort of took me into coding. I was working for a gas gas company, had to solve some problems with justice, gas flows and write a program that could figure stuff out. And I found out that Excel wouldn't do it. And so I looked underneath the hood and found pretty basic and taught myself that and then started to write some programs that everybody wanted to use in this company. And the I.T. guys asked me if I could enhance this. And I just thought it was a bit strange that they were the I.T. guys and I just did it myself. So I thought I'd better go on a course. I went on a course to learn to do this properly, and then the company asked me if I would come and consult with them. So I gave up my job and started this. And and then this is sort the late nineties. And I actually met my wife at sort of around about that time in a cross-dressing bar of all places. I just yeah, it was someone else's 30th birthday and. Yeah. And it was only a couple of months after that that I've got this contract thing going on and people want to be to do different things. And then she could see what was going on and we'd only known each other a couple of months. And so we actually just sort of started the company then. So so that's sort of how it started. [00:06:19][153.5]

Alec: [00:06:20] And so the company was founded in nineteen ninety nine and became a translation service company in twenty ten. So I guess the question is what. Happened in those 11 years. [00:06:32][11.4]

Grant: [00:06:32] Yeah, looks like we started off sort of doing initially doing consulting as the boom sort of took off and then built a product. We had an option with Tourism New Zealand to build a platform for them to manage all their multilingual content before the days of WordPress and commercial content management system. So we built this platform. We then turned that into a salable licensed product. So, again, if you if you look at what you had to do back then, it was a different world. You had to build a product that was installed in servers inside of buildings around the world or inside of customers premises and support all these different platforms. You couldn't just deployed on the Web and push a button and it's in the cloud. It was really quite hard. So so we built this platform and we sold it around the world and we had sort of more of a lifestyle company, but it was also a wife and I would never run a company. So it was like an apprenticeship, a 10 year apprenticeship on on how to run a company living off your cash flows and, you know, your customers where your funders. And I think that that's actually stood us and really got scared as we've gone on to be a much bigger company. [00:07:43][70.7]

Bryce: [00:07:44] You're speaking of size and just having a look at your products. Certainly there's plenty going on. So for those that may not have heard of Stroker before, are you able to explain, I guess, broadly what you do offer and what Problem-Solving and do you translate podcasts? [00:07:58][14.2]

Grant: [00:08:02] Yes, we definitely translate podcasting that we do. So what what we're fundamentally doing is, is we have in the world to communicate so that people have got to the translation. Language services industry is enormous. And it's because the cross-border trade people need to translate legal documents. If they're doing a contract, they need the marketing. If you're if you're a manufacturer of equipment, you need all the marketing stuff put in different languages. There's know cross-border deals going on with his due diligence and all those sorts of things happening. And now there's media, there's all these TV programs, et cetera, Netflix and the likes that all need subtitles so well. Voiceover So it's it's what we have done is figured out how to automate the process flow. So again, so it's not manual that's not getting shipped around and spreadsheets, etc. There's a lot of integration with APIs and connectors that streamline the flow of content. And then what we're doing on top of that is we've got this ability where we've been able to map the commercial gains that you get, all the productivity gains that you get in through AI and through technology to a commercial outcome for us and for our customers. And and that basically means speeding up the humans, but producing just as accurate translations. So, you know, the customers, when it takes less time, everybody now wants to do things really quickly. And also because of that speed gain, we're able to get a much higher margins on our site. [00:09:40][98.0]

Alec: [00:09:42] So, Grant, the the last five years have been pretty impressive growth story, Stryker's grown revenue from 10 million in FY 16 to thirty one million in FY twenty one and guiding for 50 million in FY 22. And at the same time, the global market for language services is booming, expected to be sixty seven billion in you, supported by a lot of those tailwinds that you touched on earlier, the increased volume of content, the increased volume of cross-border trade, all of that. So I guess the question is for a CEO and a founder looking at this massive opportunity set that that is there in the language translation service, how do you go about actually building a strategy and trying to capture more and more of this market share? [00:10:29][47.2]

Grant: [00:10:30] Yeah, and that is a great question in terms of the positioning where we're at. And so our strategy is very much that this industry is going through disruption and that there's really four quadrants. If you looked at a typical Gartner type chart where you've got a lot of legacy players is twenty thousand small translation companies around the world say under sort of 50 million, but the average size is probably closer to five million in revenue. And these guys don't have technology. They've relied on a geographical close relationship to get their customers. And now customers want more technology and they want a global provider, not just one on one language in each country. So that segments really under pressure, I call it personally the dynes own. I think that they're really going to struggle to survive through this technology avalanche. And you've got big legacy players. So there's probably 40 companies that sort of about 50 million in revenue or 100 million. They've got to scale to deliver for a large corporate, but they don't have the technology. So for them to to adapt, they're going to have to cannibalize their existing business models. And we've got a big leap on those guys because we've thought about our technology from a long way out. And then you've got some technology players who are and in other countries you've got technology, but they haven't quite got scale. And then you've got the scale and technology, which is not got many players. And we think we're moving into that quadrant now because we have got scale about 50 million of sort of revenue number. But we've also got the technology and and that played out in the recent sort of big win we had with IBM, where we got a global supply agreement with with IBM. And what that proves as part of that process was that companies will now pick innovation over legacy kind of scale players. So we think that now it's about how quickly large organizations and large consumers of transactions start to switch to innovation type players. And we want to have our foot down with using our global scale and our team and all the countries out there driving revenue. [00:12:47][136.9]

Bryce: [00:12:47] So, Grant, I guess the question is then, for a retail investors and everyone listening at home is how big can Stroker actually be? [00:12:55][7.9]

Grant: [00:12:57] Well, it's it's it's a huge market opportunity. And we certainly want to be one of the large Bryce the largest player in the industry is about a billion in revenue. Wow. OK, right. So you're 50 billion plus market size, right? 30, 60 billion. Still not much. So you could be a 100 million, 200, 300 million dollar revenue player and you're still not a big player in terms of market market share. So I guess we've got to take some steps on that and just see what plays out over the next year or two is we're obviously we've just raised the capital. We're really well positioned now to accelerate our next round of growth. So, yeah, again, I think that that that number or how big can we be? I would certainly like us to be in the top 10. I guess if I looked at the industry and that would mean that you're you're getting your revenues probably over three hundred million eventually. And, you know, and then really driving up. [00:14:01][64.6]

Alec: [00:14:02] So, Grant, there's a few there's a few points that you touched on that I would love to follow up there. The IBM partnership, the capital raise and competition. So if we start with the IBM partnership, I imagine that that must be pretty exciting for you and the team. ASX listed New Zealand based company striking a deal with one of the biggest tech companies in the world. Well, I don't know if that one of the biggest in the world these days, but a big technology player. What's the details on that partnership? And I guess how did you position Stryker to win that deal over, you know, all of your competitors? [00:14:37][34.9]

Grant: [00:14:38] Yeah, sure looks. I mean, I think that probably would be one of the biggest. It's certainly one of the big players and I and I think that's quite important around the steel. So traditionally IBM have had, you know, multiple suppliers around the world that, you know, I didn't have any 20 or whatever and different countries. They wanted to consolidate that. And basically what we did was we acquired a company in Barcelona and Spain in twenty eighteen. They had IBM as a customer and a regional relationship. So they were doing the Spanish for them. We were able to take that relationship and then get a relationship with the IBM head office. In terms of the people that dealt with the translation services globally, we were able to show them our technology, how it uses A.I. to get efficiencies and streamline the process, and how we could actually deliver a global service to them. And we went through a full RFP and we won that as a sort of global service provider across the whole IBM group. So it's a really significant deal. There's not many companies, as you say, in sort of ASX listed Australasia, for example, who can pull off a deal, a global supply agreement with one of these large tech players. So, you know, it's fantastic work. I think it showed that we had an enterprise sales team that could deliver those sorts of outcomes. And and it is a huge opportunity we're having to scale. I think it at the time we get to hire about 40 people on board. There's it's it's driving huge volumes through our platform. Yeah. And and we're working with IBM on some, you know, A.I. related content now that we're doing we're doing lots of integration into their platform. So it's a really, really exciting opportunity for us. [00:16:29][111.3]

Alec: [00:16:30] It's an interesting one, that Spanish acquisition. You know, I've heard of company acquisitions for their technology. I've heard of Aqua Hyers where, you know, companies get acquired for their talent. But this is the first time I think I've heard of a company being acquired for the relationships it has. That's a that's an interesting strategy, but obviously one that's paid off. [00:16:49][18.9]

Grant: [00:16:49] Yeah. And they're not the only one that's done it. And again, I think if you look at the industry, the reason is people have these really tight relationships with quality over many years with the translation provider, and they know that there's a better way to do it. They know that is that they need more technology, but they hold onto these more relationships because they're scared that there might be some sort of quality issues. And I think once you start to prove people that the technology actually delivers better quality outcomes, then people will break free from those relationships. But in the meantime, we've been out there acquiring a few companies for those types of global relationships. And yeah, it is absolutely a strategy. [00:17:29][39.8]

Bryce: [00:17:30] So great. You mentioned that you've just completed a capital raise of about 20 million dollars. What are you planning to use these funds for? [00:17:37][7.5]

Grant: [00:17:39] Yes, actually, in total, it'll be about twenty five million, I think it should be an announcement today, I think because of the retail market [00:17:47][7.8]

Alec: [00:17:48] leading news Equity Mates breaking news lot to say that [00:17:50][2.3]

Grant: [00:17:51] I think it was well flagged that there today was no, [00:17:54][2.7]

Bryce: [00:17:54] no, we'll take it out [00:17:55][0.9]

Grant: [00:17:57] of the entitlement office. So we did a 20, 20 million institution placement, institutional placement at five million as a retail entitlement offer. So we'll have twenty five million dollars. So there's a few things that we're doing. So when we we took out some debt to buy a company in January of this year, so we'll pay about eight million. We'll go back down to pay down that debt. Now, the reason that we took out debt at the time, we didn't think that the market had fully appreciated the size of the IBM deal that we announced in November, December. And we thought that they would start to appreciate it more as we started to get into our results, which I think has started to happen. So rather than doing a capital raise at that time, we took on some fairly simple debt bank type debt, and we were able to use that to make the acquisition we wanted to make and and then do an equity raise. Now, when the markets had sort of appreciated some of the other news that we have. So that's going to answer. So that'll leave us. We have we had about seven billion in the bank. So that leaves us sort of a net, sort of 19, Dollars million or something that we have now got to deploy. So we still are on the acquisition trail. We see some great opportunities, especially post covid, to accelerate our growth even further through some strategic acquisitions. And then we've got some really significant growth, organic growth strategies that we're implementing so that we'll invest into. So, yeah, I think at the moment that's the main reason. But I think, you know, having a strong balance sheet in a post covid world is a smart thing to do because there's going to be all sorts of opportunities and we're starting to see those start to arise and we want to be in a good position to take advantage of them. Not everybody is going to get through covid as well. Some have survive through some of the subsidies. There's been certain projects that have got people into certain places. And as they start to run out, we think that there will be some fantastic opportunities to really build some value. [00:20:06][128.8]

Alec: [00:20:07] So, Grant, it's all you know, there's a lot of positive, I guess, elements to this story so far. The the revenue growth, the big deals, raising money, acquisitions, like it seems everything is going well. But when you when you think about online translation services, you do think of some pretty big names. You know, Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, Some of the biggest companies in the world are building translation software and, you know, are having incredible pricing power and incredible scale. How do you think about competing with some of those, I guess, big scary tech companies at the top end of town? [00:20:45][37.8]

Grant: [00:20:46] And it's a question, obviously, as you can imagine, we get asked a fair bit and always have been asked so. So one thing is we were asked that in 2010. Right. People would surely by now, Google will own everything by you 20, 2015, you know, and obviously they do because you still need humans in the mix in humans. Any idea of an outcome needs curation from humans to keep it accurate. And if you just let a machine go off and do two or three iterations, it'll start to produce rubbish. So so you've got to have the right platform that captures the human and the machine element. A lot of the big tech companies that they don't want to be involved and all this human part of it, they don't want to be involved in the services side of what's going on and the complexities around that. Right. They just want to do a lot of times just do a consumer based product or just a sort of base for a for a B2B solution. So, for example, just looking at some initial machine translation for your B2B solution, a bit like here's a cloud storage type thing. So so we don't see them really as competing and we don't come across them in that way at all in the market. So the question is, how do you as as machines start to play a bigger part in this industry? How do you get the right commercial outcomes? And so what we do in our platform is that what we do, which is very different, everybody else is, rather than doing pricing and paying vendors on a on a content volume, which is the industry average like this is how many pages we've got. This is how many words we can do it on the time it takes to actually get that completed. So if a human goes twice as fast, but they're paid the same hourly rates that are paid a fair hourly rate for the for their skillset, but they go twice as fast. That translation's taken half as half the time and cost. Half as much so very simple piece of logic that everybody thinks, well, why doesn't everybody do that? Because it's very difficult to actually build that. And it's taken us two years of continual iteration and building up massive datasets that actually improve the speed of those humans. So that's why I think that's more important. House House is going to play out in terms of machines and humans together. [00:23:03][137.4]

Bryce: [00:23:12] So, Grant, one of the things that we often hear from many of the fund managers we talk to is the difficulty of understanding management, how they think about growing their company and particularly around people and culture. But yet it's such a an integral part to making investment decisions as retail investors. So we always like to involve a discussion around that in these interviews. So let's start at the top. Do you have a leadership philosophy as CEO? [00:23:38][25.7]

Grant: [00:23:39] I do. And again, can I encapsulate that in a couple of words? Maybe not, but but I have a philosophy that to grow as a company, we need to have a distributed model of business owners in each region, especially when you're as global as we are who are responsible for making the daily decisions that they need to make whilst operating under a shared services model for the parts of our business where we can get operating leverage. So there's a great book called Coastland of All Places I've ever heard of this book, but it's always everybody goes, what is Copeland Mandibles about Coca-Cola or is it about white line fever? Sure, but it's actually about Coke, Coke Industries, which is KOKH. And this guy is one of the world's richest men. And it is a fantastic book. I honestly I think if you're a student of business, it's a really interesting book. And I'm not saying I agree with all of his political philosophies or anything else, but one thing they did when they grew was that they they made sure that every company that they acquired, every business, they set up somebody in their own to PNL. Somebody was responsible for getting up every day and being in charge of the revenue and those decisions on the ground. And so that's what we have a structure of of business units. But on top of that, what you've got to have is a core philosophy that we have across the group, which is we work working on the same platform. So when we acquire a company, we want everybody in that company using our tools, using the same platform. And that that way it doesn't matter if somebody is in Barcelona, if somebody is in Tokyo, somebody is in Philadelphia or Auckland, wherever they are, they know what's going on with a customer's project and we could share resources. So that's a core kind of structural philosophy, I guess. [00:25:34][115.1]

Alec: [00:25:35] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So you've mentioned a couple of times that Straker is truly a global business. And, you know, if you go on your website and you're looking at where you've got offices, it really is across the world. And at the same time, you're also acquiring companies around the world. You know, you mentioned that Spanish company that you acquired in twenty eighteen and there's been a few others along the way. How do you build and maintain a culture as you expand globally and you integrate these acquired companies into the into the building? [00:26:09][33.6]

Grant: [00:26:09] Yeah, look, and it's one of the issues with Covid, right? You get this cultural drift because you're not going into the people and you're not getting that interaction with with the team. And part of it is around a Covid specific part of this, I think. And how you're maintaining it through Covid. And then what would you do? Normally, I think you've got to use the tools that you can do. So what we have done is we used we used to like a lot of what he can communicate. Obviously, we we we have a lot of engagement with the team around certain days or whatever's going on, you know, like with some Spanish today. And everybody will wear sombreros around the world and talk to people. Yeah. Whatever it is. Yeah. For me it's always communication is always the key to that cultural team. And I guess we're lucky in that we've got good team leaders, that we've had a lot of engagement over the last few years with lots of traveling. We tend to buy companies and cities that are really good to go out. And normally, [00:27:13][63.3]

Bryce: [00:27:14] could you do [00:27:14][0.3]

Grant: [00:27:17] the Barcelona, Madrid, Tokyo? We did buy one in Utah where you don't go out quite so much, but there's great skiing. So, you know, it's it's it's all a tradeoff. You've got to be some benefits to grow. And yeah. So I think, yeah, it is interesting. And we have some fantastic people across. I think the average age is maybe mid 30s. I think if I look back at we've got some dashboard's going on, sort of a really diverse, super diverse certainly, you know, 50 50 male, female, all sorts of ethnicities and sort of population, types of types of the population, everything out. So it's it's you know, it's great to have a team like that and to get everybody's viewpoints to understand, you know, what they see and work. What's important to them and different people in different geographies sort of value different things and have different structures in Europe. You've got a very socialist kind of social structure that supports people in the US, obviously, maybe not so much. And it's it's a different type of way that you work in somewhere in between in Australasia. So, yeah, it's it's really interesting. [00:28:37][80.3]

Bryce: [00:28:38] So the software industry is notorious for being difficult to retain talent, and we imagine that it would be even harder in a market like New Zealand where there aren't as many engineers as, say, Sydney or Silicon Valley. So how do you approach this challenge as CEO? [00:28:52][13.9]

Grant: [00:28:53] It's the one thing that we did in New Zealand a few years ago. We set up an office in Brisbane down on the east coast of New Zealand. So one of the problems we've got, and I'm sure you've got it in Sydney, nobody in Auckland could actually afford to buy a house. No well paid. Could not afford to buy a house. House prices, you know, just ludicrous. And so what we did is we looked around in the regions of New Zealand, down in Gisburne, a beautiful South Beach, one of the fantastic CFP, lovely place to live. You know, everybody can cycled to work and live. So so we asked the team what we should do. Should we set up an office bit further out of Auckland or, you know, change the working policy. And they said, look, we had an office in the regions. That'd be great. Really low house prices at the time down at Gisburne. So, look, we have about 20 people that moved down there that enabled a whole bunch of our developers with families and staff to move there and buy a house. And that's, I guess, you know, been well received. And there's not a lot of other tech companies down there, for example. So it's somewhere where we've built a really good culture and it's an option for the team. And that was very deliberate in terms of trying to create opportunities for our staff to get get on the housing ladder and have a bit of sort of family social structure. So, again, the other outcome is that they haven't had to go and just keep changing jobs just just to pay a mortgage, for example. So, you know, you can go and get more money. But all that's doing is paying some great bit more. You don't get anything else out of it. They've got that net balance, I would hope. And that's been successful. We haven't got an apprenticeship program, but taking on younger or people who have come out of other industries and trying to get them trained up and then accelerated them quite quickly once we know that they've got any. So. So we have. Yeah. Been been reasonably good on New Zealand's coming under pressure now I think in terms of the lack of immigration where a lot of, you know, a lot of the resources would have come in and we don't really have the the education system here that in my view, is it's put enough kids out with the right skills either. So, yes, at the moment, it's it's it's not too bad. I've had a few other stories around about the place, but we're reasonably in reasonably good shape. [00:31:18][145.0]

Alec: [00:31:19] Grant, I'm getting a, I guess, a picture of the organization that you're building. You're acquiring companies in cities that you want to go out in Tokyo, Madrid, Barcelona. You've got a company that can get you to the ski fields. In Utah, you've moved an office down to the coast. In New Zealand. You're really building a very nice life for as well as a very nice company. [00:31:44][24.8]

Grant: [00:31:45] And that's you know, that's one of the things I think they had the top 50 places to work in New Zealand, and we didn't make it top 50 companies. I don't know, somebody just some some recruitment crowd just came up with a list of fifty. Right. And I'm like, well, we're not today. We're literally we're right on a bloody beach. Or you could be going outside, you know, look. And that's, you know, and that's all or part of it. I mean, often when you're buying a company, you don't generally get to make too much or it might be if it's the right way. But we have been lucky in some of the some of the locations that that we've ended up with, with companies in that trade. You know, we had our Japanese guys were fantastic, was up there on a sort of rugby tour with a couple of mates. And, you know, it does pay off sometimes [00:32:36][50.9]

Alec: [00:32:36] you can imagine no grant at the start of the start of this. You mentioned how Marine, your wife and you co-founded the business in nineteen ninety nine. What are we talking? Twenty two years later, you guys continue running it today as CEO and CEO respectively, which is, you know, as close to co-founder relationship as you can have. You know, Bryce and I are co-founders. We haven't quite put 22 years into it yet. So I guess we want to get your advice at this point. You know, how do you how do you manage the. Kinship between co-founders when you've also got such a close personal relationship. [00:33:14][37.4]

Grant: [00:33:15] Yeah, I mean, I guess it's actually about having different skills and a very talented woman. And I think, you know, she brought a lot of those when I bought all the development skills early on and maybe some of the social skills, she was very much into that business side. She's got a degree in business. And so she she she drives a lot of that. And I do a lot of the business stuff. So early on, obviously, we were both able to concentrate on different things but be very aligned. And that certainly before we had kids, we didn't have any kids till 2005. You know, it was great fun because we could go around the world and and travel together and work together and sort of have, you know, really enjoy that sort of freedom for letting kids come along and and lock you down a bit. So, yes. So we have gone through that and it is hard and sometimes it's very hard when you're both sort of really working. Even now, we will both work nights and you've got to manage that with your family. And I think we've we've had a reasonable balance of of doing that. I mean, I think it would be make sure that you both have complementary skills that end up with a better outcome if you're both exactly the same. Probably much harder. [00:34:36][80.9]

Bryce: [00:34:36] Has been a pleasure talking to you today. You know, we really enjoy unpacking companies that we haven't come across before and are providing, you know, great value to society out there. So thank you for your time. We do finish with three final questions that we ask all of our CEOs. So that is around future plans. What is the next 12 months hold for Stryker and what is the product pipeline? [00:35:01][25.0]

Grant: [00:35:02] Yep. So if you look at sort of what we seed around our full year results, you know, obviously giving guidance 50 million and getting IBM on board and, you know, working through that process quite significant. We're also integrating Lingoa Check, which is a service based company that we acquired in January. So they have a strong underlying SAS model and we're looking to grow some of that revenue again. We are not going to be 100 per cent SAS company, but we we see it as a great way to have sort of a solid base in the business focusing on that, hopefully Covid. It's already starting to be a little bit less of an issue in other parts of the world. I think down here at the moment, it's obviously causing a few issues. But, you know, the US seems to be opening up so we can start to go to conferences and we can start to drive marketing campaigns again in terms of marketing campaigns. So in sales activity in Europe. So so that's that's going to be, I think, our big drivers over the next 12 months. [00:36:02][60.0]

Alec: [00:36:03] And, Grant, if you if you think about, you know, the risks to your business, you know, your your global business, you're a growing business. But but there's always things that can make it come unstuck. So looking at your business now, what would be the biggest risk at the moment? [00:36:20][17.2]

Grant: [00:36:21] Yeah, I guess you just got to put risks into different buckets. There's all sorts of sort of technology risks going around, I think, for a lot of businesses. And I think we're mitigating a lot of those. So I'm not so worried, I think in terms of making sure we have all the right resources, I think resourcing is going to be an issue over the next 12 months for a lot of companies. So especially growth focus companies, you know, onboarding staff fast enough to keep up with the growth. I think is is is an area they're probably the two that I would think about at the moment as being the sort of majoras [00:36:58][37.5]

Bryce: [00:36:59] and then to close out. Grant, if you were to think about where Australia will be in the next 10 years, what does success look like for you? [00:37:07][7.6]

Grant: [00:37:07] Yes, I've said earlier would be great to be in the top team and to really be right up there for us. Well, I've always tried to do and and one of the things that's guided us through, I think when you talk about I earlier always wanted to build a big. Technology driven company out of Australia and New Zealand and Australia just we've always wanted to do that because we think that that's what New Zealand and Australia need. We need tech companies that are punching out around the world, not just New Zealand and Australia, just consumers of other big tech products out there. So I would hope that we've got a global leader in this sort of language, communication space that's based out here. And that's part of what we're listed company as well. We want to have that framework, right. That's what you know. And if we're doing that and we're employing people in the region and we're selling that around the world, I think that's you know, that's what we want our companies to be doing. And that's the reason ultimately that you want to start a company, you just want to start a company just to just to make money. You probably import it would be a lot easier. And you could sell it. Right. But it's much harder to export. It's much harder to export to technology. But once you get there, it's it's way more valuable to society. [00:38:30][82.6]

Bryce: [00:38:32] Well, as I said, it's been a pleasure. And we thank you for coming on Equity Mates and sharing the journey of Striker with us. As I said, we're always interested in new companies. There's plenty on the ASX to work through. And and we appreciate you sharing your thoughts on leadership and culture as well as we know that that's an important part of understanding a company as a retail investor. So, as I said, absolute pleasure and thank you very much. [00:38:56][24.4]

Grant: [00:38:57] My pleasure to be here, guys, and thanks for having me over [00:38:57][0.0]


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