First appeared on: Business Times SME
LEON Yeo and Edmund Ng first got to know each other 5 years ago when they served at the same church ministry.
Today, they are co-founders of business-to-business fintech startup Doxa Connex and have broken new ground to revolutionise connectivity between buyers and suppliers in supply chain transactions.
In a nutshell, Doxa Connex is a collaborative trade platform that focuses on 2 main aspects - procurement and payment.
The startup aims to enhance business processes and lift efficiency and productivity by minimising key challenges affecting a company's procure-to-pay workflow.
Having worked at a finance company previously, Ng noticed that both large and small enterprises experienced certain pain points when it came to procurement and financing, which sparked the idea for the business.
"After spending 2 to 3 years in my previous job researching on the market, I realised there was something I could do to connect and transform procurement processes," he said.
He then approached Yeo with his business idea, and the duo worked together to launch the business in 2019.
The co-founders came up with a vision to create a platform that could cater to many different industries and fit the specific demands of each industry's workflow.
The end result was an advanced platform that was able to link procurement, payment and financing processes.
"We spent the entire year building the product. It's an enterprise software that is very sophisticated," said Yeo.
The firm only started commercialising its offering in 2020, and its first breakthrough was in the construction industry, when Tiong Seng signed on as a pioneer adopter of the firm's technology in August last year.
Although there were numerous competitors within the different areas covered by the platform, such as in the procurement sector and in the finance sector, Yeo said Doxa was one of the few local companies that was able to link all these processes together in a single platform, and the first in the construction sector to do so.
That was only the beginning for Doxa, and with the support of local banks including DBS and OCBC, the firm moved on to penetrate different companies and industries, including addition and alteration, direct selling and automotive sectors.
"The supply chain is never ending on the supply side. Our business model leverages on connectivity to grow," Ng said, adding that the firm has patented the process which it termed the "many-to-many connectivity".
Despite having made headway in different industries, Ng said that the construction industry is currently their biggest market, and the sector they are most likely to focus more on in the short term.
With the built environment sector anticipating greater digitalisation and collaboration, he said that the firm intends to continue stepping up to help integrate and digitalise processes in this sector.
Both Ng and Yeo also foresee a steady demand for what they are offering, especially among construction players.
"Construction is a huge industry that is still very reliant on manual processes," Yeo said. "If we are able to help fill that gap, the opportunities are endless."
Given the sector's complex nature, Ng said that the team spent a lot of time ensuring that the platform was able to cater to the specific needs of the industry and work seamlessly in digitalising and automating processes.
Although the pandemic has affected many industries - including in construction which has resulted in a slower adoption of Doxa's technology - Yeo said that demand is likely to go up once more construction companies start to ramp up their production.
While Doxa has found its footing in the market, Yeo said the company's success so far is due to the partners and clients that supported them in the early stages, as well as their investors who believed in their vision and reached into their pockets to support the business.
Moving forward, the company aims to strengthen its position in the construction industry and continue expanding to other sectors, according to Yeo.
Ultimately, the pair is hoping to not only grow their presence and brand name in Singapore, but to also bring their technology overseas.
"We believe that the platform is going to help a lot of companies, and is even capable of uplifting the entire ecosystem in terms of productivity and efficiency," said Ng. "At the end of the day, we want to create an environment where every business is able to benefit from one another."