The HD Group is a successful Kiwi startup that has grown exponentially in the last decade.
Specialising in business telecommunication, data centre services and cloud, the company has emerged as one of the leading players in the Australasian market.
Their innovative products, cutting-edge technology and clever marketing have made them stand out in a competitive market.
CEO Ben Simpson, who built the HD Group 11 years ago, says that the company has exciting plans to expand into mobile and power sectors.
Ben has also set his sights on cryptocurrencies and will be launching the company's first initial coin offering (ICO), HDCoin soon.
Techday sat down and spoke to Ben about his vision and future plans for the HD Group.
You've been known to be a disruptive innovator. Tell us what motivates you.
My self-belief, energy and passion. I've been self-employed since I was 15 and I've always pushed the boundaries. I'm entirely self-taught and in the cutthroat world of tech business, I’ve broken all the norms.
In 2006, when I came up with the idea of a company providing free server hosting services, nobody had thought of it.
A year later, Daniel Tanner joined me and we were able to launch a company. Since then, we've put a lot of time and money into this venture and it has paid off. I’m a proud Kiwi and I like to keep my talent, products and services local.
How has the HD Group grown in the last decade?
In the last eleven years, we’ve been able to win the confidence of our clients. Our brands, Unlimited Internet, HD Net and Hardware Hub have done well.
The key to our success has been our ability to provide future-focused, flexible and customised services.
In fact, we’re always on the lookout for ways to capitalise on new technologies to benefit our clients.
We’ve invested millions of dollars into our infrastructure so our clients can on sell our service or build a stable business around our business ecosystem.
We’re improving and upgrading our services continuously. Technology never stands still and we’re committed to ensuring that the HD Group is always one step ahead of that curve.
How does Unlimited Internet differentiate itself in the competitive Internet services market?
Believe it or not, our internet services are growing by the day. Customers want a service they can rely on and we’ve ensured we meet their needs.
There’s not much profit to be made if you have under 10,000 customers, but it’s a volume game and we are in it for the long haul.
Unlimited Internet is focused on providing cheap unlimited quality broadband to the residential and small business market.
The success of our services lies in the fact that there are no hidden costs, no contracts or termination fees.
We also have a New Zealand-based support centre and are able to address complaints immediately.
Coupled with this is our marketing strategy with T. Bird, a stand-up comedian, as our brand ambassador.
We’ve produced Episode 1 of his gig and are currently working on episode 2 that delivers a bit of humour in a non-humour market.
In 2018, we will be expanding our business further and will try to acquire more subscribers from smaller ISPs looking to exit this price-driven market.
Data centres are another competitive industry HD Group is in – what sets your data centre service apart?
Data centres provide a framework for the rapidly expanding digital world.
The New Zealand data centre services market is expected to reach $272 million by 2020 and according to analysts, the country has the potential to be a safe haven for data storage in the Asia-Pacific region.
There are over 29 large data centres in New Zealand and this business is growing.
We understand the importance of continuous computing and we've been successful in providing the 'always on’ capability.
With multiple redundant systems for electricity, connectivity and cooling, our datacenter continues to thrive. Besides, we monitor and address faults 24/7/365.
How have you positioned your cloud business?
Companies can outsource the costs of their internal IT infrastructure to us.
That saves them a ton of money and technical internal resource. Besides, we offer the lowest prices in terms of cloud resources per unit and we’ve ensured that our cloud is a ‘Real’ cloud, using OpenStack platform that has taken over a year to deploy.
We’re not overselling our capacity either because we want to retain this pure failover capacity.
In 2018, we will be launching our cloud service publically via our website using our OpenStack portal that will be similar to Amazon AWS.
This will be a true New Zealand - Australian hosted version that offers compute, storage and networking.
You mentioned your upcoming ICO, HD Coin, earlier. Can you tell us more about it?
Our ICO has been in discussion since December 2016 and we hope to launch in early 2018.
The funds raised from our ICO will be used in our current group of company projects and potential acquisitions throughout next year.
We are also building our own ICO Exchange where ICO cryptocurrencies can be traded.
We’ll also be offering services to New Zealand companies wanting to launch their ICOs within the New Zealand legal system.
What’s in store for HD Group’s future?
We have plans to develop the HD Group into a 150-million US dollar company in the next three to five years.
We will be expanding our existing services. We’re currently restocking Hardware Hub, one of our growing businesses, where we source hardware from the US and supply it to our clients.
We also have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline.
In 2019, we will be launching Robotic Accounting software, a cloud-based accounting solution.
By 2021 we will expand into the mobile services market and eventually foray into the power sector.
Soon, the HD Group will offer customers a combination of services over fibre including phone, mobile, WiFi, power and maybe even TV - all on one invoice.
What is your advice to startups?
Three things: Behind every successful business there are unsuccessful efforts.
Just because you're struggling, doesn't mean you're failing.
You will need a good team and reliable partners around you.