HELPING BUSINESSES ENGAGE CONSUMERS

Anna Gong

CEO

PERX TECHNOLOGIES PTE LTD

(Pulsar Category Winner 2017)

"Perx Technologies’ mobile customer engagement cloud solution enables conventional businesses to interact with their customers in ways that were previously unaffordable"

Perx was once a mobile loyalty app that rewarded customers through points. However, Perx reinvented itself when Gong took over the reins in November 2014. “Perx has a legacy dating from 2011. The company was founded by two Americans positioning Perx as a lifestyle loyalty app. I found that the business model was not sustainable and required significant work,” Gong relates.

“During my tenure, I led the company in a different direction. I focused on our ground-up efforts and invested money in research and development to create new offerings directly impacting our customers,” Gong shares.

Today, Perx Technologies is better known as a cloud platform with a software service subscription model. The company’s clientele includes large enterprises in the financial services, insurance, telco, travel, transportation and hospitality industries, typically with customers numbering in the millions.

Perx has added EZ-Link and Asia’s top banks to its burgeoning list of client portfolio by assisting in the collection of data points, then translating these insights into a tangible customer rewards strategy.

“With Perx’s technologies, EZ-Link is able to monitor data and power its mobile strategy to engage and appeal to its consumers,” Gong explains. “Perx creates novel rewards and customer engagement approaches for customers with the help of our proprietary tools. With the customer data distilled and translated, the creative team designs a strategy that aims to increase customer spend and activity.”

Conventional Advertising Technology (AdTech) companies provide services focusing on click-throughs, page views, likes and downloads. Perx takes a different route by offering a comprehensive and integrated marketing technology (MarTech) platform which leverages on insights and marketing automation. A brand can improve its customer engagement through user experience, customer data and analytics.

“The data and transactional records within Perx systems empowers Perx to analyse, learn and predict consumer behaviour effectively. Brands are then assured that the customer’s next interaction is engaged and personalised,” Gong shares.

Perx’s business model and solutions are disrupting the traditional methods of customer engagement. Gong asserts that this service is born out of necessity.

Entrepreneurs come up with ideas because there are no other solutions available for the problems in their lifestyle. For example, Airbnb was founded because the owners were couch-surfing. Uber was a solution for more convenient transport options,” she points out.

“My journey began when I was speaking with businesses and questioning which brand engages consumers in meaningful and proactive ways. The whole communication model is broken. Many brands have millions of consumers, yet these businesses hardly appreciate the current pool of customers and do not delve into monetising what they already have. Instead, price wars become the norm, resulting in heavy marketing investments for new customer acquisition. Do you know that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to engage and retain an existing one?”

As the CEO and prime mover at Perx, Gong is fully convinced of Perx’s potential to be the global leader in mobile customer engagement. In the process, Perx will be able to help organisations of all sizes acquire, engage and reward customers anytime, anywhere, with intelligent data analytics.

Gong moved to Singapore from San Francisco in 2009 and is now a Singapore permanent resident. Having spent 20 years in the industry, she is a veteran in the tech field.

“I enjoy working in technology that makes an impact on people, business and community,” she says. “I love being at the forefront with a start-up culture. You feel like a maverick in front of all these big corporates.”

Gong runs a tight ship and has completely turned the company around by restructuring the resources and instilling the company with an entirely new culture and DNA. Gong is also not afraid of rolling up her sleeves and working the ground. To increase eyeballs on Perx, she is a familiar face in the media and at events and conferences where she speaks on various topics from FinTech to predictive analytics mobile marketing and loyalty.

Gong is also a hands-on leader. She works with the tech team on product development and management, sales, marketing and strategy to ensure that the company’s services are innovative and in line with changing business trends. At the moment, her primary focus is on sales, talent acquisition and fundraising. Perx is backed by Golden Gate Ventures and Eduardo Saverin, a co-founder of Facebook. In November 2015, the company also completed a single-digit million dollar Series A funding round.

“We are at an inflection point where we are growing at 200 to 300 per cent every year,” Gong shares. “With our innovative business model, over the next two to three years, we expect to solidify our position as the MarTech leader in South-east Asia. In addition, we are also enjoying the first mover’s advantage. Unlike India or China which are more homogenous, South-east Asia has proven to be quite fragmented for many businesses. With our strategic partners and resources by our side, we hope to move faster to conquer the industry.”

With its cloud platform, Perx is able to offer its services readily in the region and even globally. The company has operations in Malaysia and the Philippines, with plans for expansion in Thailand and potentially Hong Kong, Indonesia, as well as India.

On the recruitment front, Gong looks out for talents who are self-starters and self-driven; people who do not need to be told to create a solution to a problem. “We want employees who are creative and driven to go above and beyond to deliver something amazing. My personal motto is to ask for forgiveness later. When there is a problem, focus on building a solution by adopting a creative and out-of-the-box approach. As long as the idea is legal and ethical, it is always welcome. While the Asian culture is based on high trust and respect, I hope to drive a more San Francisco culture, highlighting innovation, passion and purpose that is also fun and enjoyable.”

This is the drive that has propelled Perx to what it is today. “If you are excited and proud of what you do, you wake up and go to work with a sense of purpose,” says Gong. “For me, my passion comes alive when I stand in front of a board of executives to present what Perx has to offer. I get immense satisfaction from what I do and how my ideas help companies redefine their future.”

AWARD JUDGE

BG (NS) Chan Wing Kai

Director

Seed Global Investment

BG (NS) Chan Wing Kai spent 29 years in the Singapore Armed Forces as a military officer. He rose up to the Army’s top leadership and held numerous key appointments.

The years in the Armed Forces provided him a strong foundation in leadership, human capital management, operational planning, training development and critical diplomatic skills.

He retired from active military service in 2016 and is currently a Director with SEED Global Investment, a real estate investment firm. He oversees the company’s portfolio and business development in the US and UK. He holds a MSc in Applied Finance from the Singapore Management University, and is no stranger to corporate finance, portfolio management, equities, bonds and derivatives.

AWARD JUDGE

TIN PEI LING

Member of Parliament
CEO

Business China

Ms Tin Pei Ling is the Chief Executive Officer of Business China, a non-profit organisation that harnesses the support of the public sector & private enterprises to strengthen the ties between Singapore and China. Prior to joining Business China, Pei Ling was the Group Director of Corporate Strategy for Jing King Group.

Pei Ling is an elected Member of Parliament in Singapore since 2011 and currently serves on the Public Accounts Committee. She also serves on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Communications & Information (from 2018, Dy Chairperson) and Health (2011 – present) and previously for Law/Home Affairs (2011-2015) and Social & Family Development (2015 – 2018, Dy Chairperson).

AWARD JUDGE

RYAN CHIOH

Managing Director

Faseastflora.com

Mr Ryan Chioh joined FEF.com in 1998 as Executive Director of Far East Flora Holdings Pte Ltd.

Always a firm advocator for technology, Ryan identified the direction for e-commerce development and saw a business opportunity to offer FEF.com’s extensive range of flowers and gifts online in 2001. Ryan blended his IT savviness and prudent business sense to steer the company’s website to become the leading portal for flowers and gifts. Ryan also brought the company to another level by spearheading the development of a CRM and ERP business solution, integrating the front-end and back-end operations so that there would be easier identification of customer base.

AWARD JUDGE

NEO SING HWEE

Asia Pacific, Asean and Singapore Internal Audit Leader, Risk Advisory Services

Ernst & Young

Mr Neo Sing Hwee sits in the EY Asean Partner Governance Council and leads the Advisory (Risk) Internal Audit Practice in Ernst & Young Asia Pacific, Asean and Singapore.

He has more than 20 years of experience in providing risk management, performance improvement, internal controls and business advisory services to clients in various industries, including organisations in the government and public sector such as ministries and statutory boards. He provides advice to Boards and Management on leading practices, insights as well as issues relating to corporate governance, risk management and internal controls.

AWARD JUDGE

DR LIM WEE KIAK, PBM

Member of Parliament
CEO

Eagle Eye Centre

Dr Lim Wee Kiak, is an elected Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC since 2015 and serves as chairman of Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth. An Ophthalmologist, Dr Lim is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Eagle Eye Centre.

Dr Lim joined the Singapore Armed Forces as a medical officer in 1994 and completed subspecialty training in Ophthalmology in 1998, with a Master’s degree in Medicine and two post-graduate specialist qualifications in Ophthalmology. During his service in SAF, he led numerous humanitarian missions to neighbouring countries. He joined Singapore National Eye Centre and was awarded the MOH HMDP fellowship in 2003, doing one year of clinical and research Fellowship at the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.

Dr Lim had been an active grassroots leader since 1998 before joining politics in 2006. For his active community involvement, he was awarded the Young Executive of the Year in 2000 and Public Service Medal (PBM) in 2003.

AWARD JUDGE

Chew Mok Lee

Assistant Chief Executive
ICM & Digitalisation
Enterprise Services & New Industries

Enterprise Singapore

Ms Chew Mok Lee is the Assistant Chief Executive in charge of ICM & Digitalisation, Enterprise Services & New Industries in Enterprise Singapore, a government agency spearheading enterprise and industry development, reporting to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore. Enterprise Singapore is also the national Standards body in Singapore.

Prior to Enterprise Singapore, Mok Lee was with National Productivity Board (NPB), PSB and SPRING Singapore. She graduated from National University of Singapore, majoring in Economics and Statistics. She has a double Masters and is well versed in the area of enterprise promotion, industry development and partnership building, having been involved in various aspects of capability development, support for local enterprises, enabling a viable enterprise eco-system and entrepreneurship for 29 years. She also served as Secretariat to the Action Community for Entrepreneurship and was responsible for working with the Minister in Charge of Entrepreneurship and private sector members to foster entrepreneurship and support start-ups in Singapore.

AWARD JUDGE

CHIA KIM HUAT

Regional Head
Corporate and Transactional Practice

Rajah & Tann Singapore

Mr Chia Kim Huat has extensive experience in capital market, public and private mergers and acquisitions, cross-border joint ventures and private equity investments, both in Singapore and the region. He travels regularly in the Asia-Pacific region advising clients on a wide range of matters, including direct investments and infrastructure projects in China, major acquisitions in Korea, joint ventures in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan and cross-border mergers and acquisitions transactions. Kim Huat also advises foreign investors on their investments in Singapore, including listings on the Singapore Exchange, privatisations, secondary and dual listings.

He has been recognised as a leading lawyer in his field by International Financial Law Review 1000, Chambers Global “Leaders in their Field”, Asia Pacific Legal 500, “Eminent Practitioner” in Chambers Asia Pacific, Who’s Who Legal: Corporate – Merger & Acquisition/Capital Markets – Debt and Equity and Merger & Acquisition, ‘Leading Lawyer’ in Asialaw Profiles and Best Lawyers, 2017 Edition.

AWARD JUDGE

TAN WEE BENG

Deputy Chief Executive (Operations)
SkillsFuture Singapore

Wee Beng is the Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) of SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). He leads the Business Technology Group (Operations Planning Division, Capability Development Division, Operations & Support Division, Security & Infrastructure Division), the Training, Manpower & Infrastructure Group (Manpower & Infrastructure Planning Division, Office of Lifelong Learning, and Institute of Adult Learning which comprises Learning and Professional Development Division, Research and Innovation Division, Learning Services and Support Division ) as well as the Business Services Group (Shared Services Management, Integrated Business Services Division &, Corporate Services Division).

Prior to joining SSG, Wee Beng was an officer with the Singapore Armed Forces, leading both large and small teams. His last appointment was Chief-of-Staff, Republic of Singapore Navy, overseeing a range of staff departments and ground commands. Other key appointments held were Head Naval Operations, Commander of Maritime Security Task Force and Commander, Naval Diving Unit. Wee Beng holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Physics from Oxford University, UK, and a Master of Science in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.