SINGAPORE-BASED payment transaction firm Numoni is modelled like a "mini-multinational company" (MNC). More than half of its team are foreigners; the company has its pulse in Malaysia and Indonesia - and is looking to expand into the Philippines in the near term. It is also keeping an active eye on countries such as Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.
Numoni is just over two years old.
"We never meant for the company to stay in Singapore," says chief executive Norma Sit matter-of-factly, although the firm's headquarters, where most of the research and development and test-bedding is conducted, is in Singapore.
That Numoni's gaze is firmly fixed on the world stage is significantly shaped by its product.
Essentially, the machines Numoni roll out - there are more than 70 Nugens strategically located around Singapore - allow people without bank accounts to carry out lifestyle transactions. This include topping up of e-wallets (which allows users to do a range of activities including buying game credits or ringtones), to topping up of prepaid mobile airtime. In certain countries, these machines are being primed to offer remittance services.
In Singapore, the services provided by these machines are aimed especially at foreign workers. "You can buy a top-up card from a convenience store, but for foreign workers in Singapore who may be living in the dormitories, they may not be able to come out in the middle of the night. So we are located in quite a few of the dorms so that they can top up their prepaid mobile airtime, or the prepaid mobile airtime of their families back home."
Inclusive of the local telcos, Numoni is linked either directly or indirectly to over 90 telcos from around the region including Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Having a multinational team of staff provides a sounding board for the team to bounce ideas off one another. "For me, I felt that the company must have this diversification of talents," says Ms Sit, whose staff strength stands at 43 currently. "Because in the context of what we're trying to achieve in the world, you cannot just base (the company's make-up) on Singapore's culture and think the rest of the world is like Singapore - I think one of the strengths of the company is the fact that we have all these people."
Fresh from a round of fund-raising that ended in November last year, this year is a pivotal one for the company. "2014 is a very strategic point by way of investments out, the distributors that will be appointed, and also in that we may begin to locate a second office to tap manpower resources," says Ms Sit.
This follows two years of laying the groundwork in both Indonesia and Malaysia. In Indonesia, the Nugens have undergone two rounds of pilot tests while in Malaysia, Numoni is in close talks with a potential partner.
Partnerships in both these countries should be up and running by this year, says Ms Sit, adding that the firm expects to roll out more than 1,000 kiosks by the middle of this year. It is also looking to run its first pilot test in the Philippines this year. It is also looking to run its first pilot test in the Philippines this year.