Striata targets tough US market for further growth

“But right now is heads down, run a good business.”

By Gugu Lourie

A South African business – which provides secure electronic communications such as paperless bank statements – is targeting more global growth after venturing into the tough US market.

Striata operates in London, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Sydney, and via partners in North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

The company provides paperless solutions: document delivery, electronic messaging and marketing communications.

Striata recently announced that it has bought Mass Transmit – a New York based provider of email marketing tools and services – for an undisclosed amount.

The US buy exposes Striata to a bigger market that offers growth opportunities.

CEO and founder Michael Wright said in South Africa Striata counts big corporates, including the banks, among its clients.

“We get to America then we find 50 companies that are bigger than the bigger customers we got in South Africa,” said Wright. “The market we are seeing globally is enormous. Every insurance company, every bank, every telco can use what we do.

Striata CEO and founder Michael Wright
Striata CEO and founder Michael Wright

Wright is banking on the big clients being brought by Mass Transmit into Striata such as AOL, American Airlines, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Heineken, T-Mobile and Virgin Atlantic.

Interactive electronic documents and transactional messages offer more opportunities for Striata’s growth as they enhance accuracy and improve record-keeping for corporates, small companies and individuals.

Furthermore, the ebilling and invoicing market is getting more competitive.  There are more than 500 billion bills/invoices exchanged globally each year, according to a latest report from Billentis.

Google is entering the market and likely to be a big rival to Striata, IBM and Switzerland’s GMC Software Technology, among others. Google Pony Express, which is currently under development, will apparently allow users to pay bills from their Gmail accounts.

However, Wright is excited about the entry of Google into ebilling industry. “We think they, actually going to help us, because they are going to raise the awareness of secure document delivery by email.”

Another hurdle is that the enormous potential for growth comes with a need for deep pockets.

Asked how the company would overcome this hurdle, Wright said Striata did not need to raise capital to expand its products and services.  “We use the profits in the business to reinvest and grow the company.”

For now it seems the company is generating fat profits.

Asked if there are any plans to float the business on stock exchange in the future, Wright said: “No plans to list, but you should say never, no plans set now for an initial public offering (IPO). We will run a good business and have to keep growing and increase our products and customers.”

He added that somewhere in the future the company would decide on what the future holds. It might even consider being part of a bigger group or do an IPO.

“But right now is heads down, run a good business.”

Striata services
Striata services

Striata is also excited about a huge move into mobile space by its customers. The South African-based firm is developing a lot of products in mobile and the cloud.

Striata wants to create better ways for its customers to access their paperless documents on their smartphones, tablets and personal computers out of the cloud.

“The first product is going to be released in the next six weeks. So, we are getting excited people are getting rid of paper. They are going digital. We’ve got website, email, mobile and cloud. All of this will come together and we provide a solution into that space,” says Wright.

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