SEA of Startups
SEA of Startups
Sep 12, 2022
Effon Khoo -
Play • 40 min

This week we are joined by Effon Khoo of, which is an online HR Software for Malaysian businesses that helps handle payroll, claims, benefits, leave and more.

During the conversation we move from the 10 years’ experience in Microsoft through to raising multiple rounds of capital (crowdfunding, CVC, and VC).  We discuss details around scaling a highly localized product and how they are defining and measuring success.  A key standout is his mention that it is their social responsibility to be sustainable and reliable for their clients.

I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Effon Khoo. If you’d like to be considered as a guest or have someone that you’d like to hear me speak to, drop me a message.

Where to find Effon Khoo and

• LinkedIn:


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In this episode, we cover:

[01:52] From 10 years in Microsoft working in China, they brought an enterprise engineering pedigree to an HR startup

[6:55] The differences between rounds of investors from crowdfunding to CVC to VC

[8:26] Being sustainable and reliable is their social responsibility

[12:36] Managing a business model focused on SMEs, which are a difficult segment to target  

[18:06] The unit economics evolve over time, including the customer acquisition cost (CAC)

[20:29] A competitive industry and managing the war for talent, specifically in an industry that is less “sexy”

[24:36] Positioning the company in a product that requires high levels of localization

[30:06] It is easy to copy a product, but it is difficult to copy an organization

[32:03] Defining success for the organization

[34:19] What are the metrics that guide if they are on track

[36:40] Closing questions

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