4 August 2020
How was Moovaz able to acquire a company after just 3 years | 4 Growth tips
In this exclusive interview with the co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Moovaz Jerry Chua, he shares their growth strategy and how Moovaz managed to acquire another company after just operating for three years.
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Moovaz is a LogTech relocation platform that helps people relocate to another country fuss-free. Its mission? To bring the world closer by helping people move well and live well.
Despite having been founded only in late 2017, Moovaz’s co-founders go way back.
Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer Jerry Chua actually met his fellow Co-Founders Vishnu Vasudeven (concurrent Chief Development Officer) and Junxian Lee (concurrent CEO) in the early 2000s. In fact, they were classmates at the National University of Singapore Business School.
After graduating, Vasudeven was actually the only one out of them to enter the relocation industry. He was particularly zealous about this as he identified the potential technology has in that space.
However, as all founding members had full-time jobs back then, they registered the name ‘Moovaz’ first.
The company officially kicked off in January 2018 right after Lee was brought in to lead the tech aspect of the startup.
In an interview with Chua, our CEO and co-founder JJ Huang sat him down to talk about Moovaz’s growth strategy and how it managed to grow and even acquire another company after just operating for three years.
Growth Tip 1: Be focused
According to Chua, it is essential that all companies that have just started out be very focused.
Relocation isn’t just about finding accommodation. It’s about starting a brand new life in another country. It entails a new job, learning a new culture and language, or even finding a new school if you have children.
They wanted to make sure that they got one part right.
If they had attempted to address multiple needs that come with relocating all at once, they might not have been able to tell people what their unique selling point was at that point in time.
“How could we have been able to help our users?” said Chan on the importance of having a clear direction to take.
In fact, the business started off only serving those relocating from Singapore to Melbourne, Australia.
Once they found the right formula, they were able to replicate it and scale the business.
Growth Tip 2: Quickly form your network
Like many tech startups, they attended several industry-related conferences as an early customer acquisition strategy.
It was important for a young company to get acquainted with more reputable international players. This also helped them build credibility within the industry.
SEO and SEM strategies did play a role in the early phase.
While these may be decent strategies, Chua mentioned that the most effective one in Moovaz’s growth was actually to build partnerships. They are very helpful in helping to direct leads and customers to your business.
Furthermore, partners can also co-create content to promote each others’ businesses and drive leads to each other.
In a sense, forming partnerships has a ‘network effect’ in which businesses refer their customers to their partners who can add value to their clients in other ways.
Growth Tip 3: Be strategic in looking for the right partners
That being said it is essential that businesses find the right partners.
For Chua and his team, this means businesses that provide products and services that are complementary to their own or add value to Moovaz’s services.
They asked themselves, “which other types of services can complement a relocation business that helps people move their belongings overseas?”
One industry that is closely related to theirs is the real estate industry. They even have a partnership page set up on their website just for real estate agents.
The reason was simple.
Moovaz and real estate agents provide complementary services.
It helps people relocate to another country by focusing on the logistical aspects of their move. Meanwhile, real estate agents help relocators find a new home before they arrive in the new country.
Furthermore, both Moovaz and the real estate agents already had an existing community of leads and customers. They can recommend customers to each other to provide the relocators with a complete suite of services.
It’s a win-win situation for both.
Sometimes, the services provided by partners can be so complementary that one partner ends up acquiring another. This adds another service to the acquiring company’s suite of existing services.
And this was exactly what happened with Moovaz when Chua and his team recently acquired The Finder.
Growth Tip 4: Acquisition as a growth strategy
The Finder is a Singaporean lifestyle publication. It provides expats in Singapore with “Live Well in Singapore” content. This includes content about health and wellness, the best eating and drinking spots, grooming, kids stuff, travel, and culture.
Today, it is published bi-monthly on both online and offline platforms and has about 300k unique monthly visitors.
This makes The Finder the ideal publication to acquire since its core business reaches out to the same group of people Moovaz serves (international relocators aka global-locals).
The acquisition provides Moovaz with a newer and larger number of potential customers (The Finder’s large pool of readers), as well as The Finder’s existing partners and professional network.
As with Moovaz’s partnership with real estate agents, this acquisition was a strategic one. Both businesses served the same target group and provided complementary services. This was done to create an “ecosystem of end-to-end logistics and lifestyle services”.
Moovaz essentially took a step-by-step approach to create a network effect.
They started off with partnerships as their main growth driver, then co-creation and co-marketing with partners, and they now just acquired one of their partners.
What’s the future of the relocation industry like?
As we’ve already seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, many industries have had to adapt to new circumstances. These come in the form of government regulations or changing consumer behavior.
“The industry will definitely evolve,” Chua said.
He observed that there are 2 distinct groups of relocators forming.
The first group of people are those who relocate from more developed parts of their countries to the less developed parts.
With remote work becoming increasingly common, more and more people are flocking to rural areas to escape the hectic city life. While more in-depth research is needed to ascertain if this is a trend that will continue to grow or just a transient fad, Moovaz is definitely keeping a close watch on its development.
Chua also said that there’s also a growing trend of people working from anywhere in the world regardless of their nationalities.
This isn’t your typical group of expats who were sent overseas by the companies in their home countries. These are people who deliberately chose to work remote jobs.
Someone can work for a Singapore company in Bali, while another can work for a New York company in Phuket.
Despite the economic impact the pandemic has had on the world, “the relocation space is very much alive,” Chua said.
What’s next for Moovaz?
Following the acquisition of The Finder, Moovaz is currently working on a new all-encompassing product to better serve this unique clientele they have.
When someone moves to a new country, it isn’t just a logistical move. As Chua puts it, it is a “soft reset”.
One needs to find a new home, find new places to rent a car, and learn more about a new culture. If the relocator has children, you can add finding a new school to the already long list of things that must be done.
Moovaz wants to ultimately build a product that helps people make a smooth transition into their new lives. Chua and his team want to help people “move well, live well”.
There are several key takeaways from Moovaz’s journey from a young startup to one that was able to acquire a company after just 3 years of operating.
Firstly, they were focused and did not try too many things. They figured out which strategies worked and proceeded to replicate and scale them. Later, they also realized the importance of a strong professional network early on and quickly moved to find partners. This created a ‘network effect’ in which partners helped one another.
That being said, they were very strategic. They only looked for businesses that provided complementary services to theirs. This rule was later applied to their acquisition strategy. All this was done just to allow Moovaz to create a suite of related products and services to better serve their clients.
While the idea of forming partnerships and acquiring companies for the sake of gaining access to more resources and potential clients sounds great, things don’t always work out.
What businesses should take away from their story is that decision-makers should never make decisions solely based on the desired outcome. If Moovaz had not prioritized building a suite of services to better serve their clients, they might not be where they are today.
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