Genea CEO, Michael Wong, was recently featured on the UpTech Report. In part one he discussed CRE technology and how to build trust in an industry so heavily based on existing relationships.
In part two of his interview, he discusses his career path and how he arrived at Genea. “If you were to ask me what I want to do with my career the day I graduated college, I would have told you I want to be a CEO of a company. But as a newly minted undergrad, I was not being given CEO opportunities at the time.”
From there, Wong went to Wall Street and spent most of his career as a private equity investor with some premier firms. After understanding different businesses and how companies are valued, Genea came across his desk. At the time, it was more of a technology than a company and too small for his firm. He believed the technology could be morphed into a great company and decided to invest in it personally.
Fast forward to the summer of 2011, the company was struggling after the financial crisis and the board essentially asked if he would make an investment in the company and take on the role of Genea CEO. Despite feeling crazy to jump into such a role with no experience running a company, Wong did some soul searching, had some long conversations with his wife, and decided to go for it.
One of the characteristics that drew Wong to the Genea CEO position was that the service provided a recurring revenue stream each month, offering a level of predictability in terms of a revenue base. “When you continue to pair that with 99% customer retention, we do not have much of a revenue leak. In fact, in the history of Genea, we have never had a non-record-breaking month.”
Genea has differentiated itself from many other technology companies, due to Wong’s history as a private equity investor where cash flow is king. “Genea has always had to earn the right to make that next investment so we’ve always grown the business. Once we got to a certain level, we continued to make the next incremental investment. We are very efficient in making sure we have a return on our growth investments.”
Wong states, “I am a big believer that companies are built the old-fashioned way — that you have to earn your reputation or earn your right to do business. That is why we have been so successful — because we have built that credibility and earned the trust. So when we introduce a new product, building teams trust they can do business with us and we will be there to help solve their problems.”
One of the biggest strategies Genea has done in building that trust is creating one of the best customer service organizations with a white glove approach. In other words, creating an emotional connection with customers. Similar to the hospitality industry where the difference between a one-star and a five-star hotel could be the amenities, however it is typically also relative to the service level, emotional connection and personalized experience they provide.
“Our customer success team has that mindset and makes sure to make our customers feel special, which is something that is missing at a lot of technology companies. Technology is only valuable if it’s simple – we’re not just here to sell you technology and leave you to go figure it out. We are selling a solution and are here to support our customers with that solution.”
Wong further states, “I think what I’m probably most proud of is the team we’ve built. We have an incredible culture and even during the middle of a pandemic, as soon as we went into lock down, everybody has worked from home and we’ve still been incredibly successful because there’s already that inherent culture and chemistry built in. We can be working online and still not miss a beat- we don’t have to be physically together.”
When asked what hurdles he sees as moving forward, in the wake of COVID, Wong responded, “We’ve signed close to 200 new contracts since the week of March 16, 2020, when we first went into lockdown. “The opportunities are very promising going forward, but it’s all about execution. I’m spending a lot of my time now executing to have high net promoter scores and high customer retention,” said the Genea CEO. “To become that 800 pound gorilla we want to make sure to develop the processes and systems and have the talent so we can replicate that at scale.”
The technology Wong thinks we will see in the near and long-term will more or less depend on what the building owners need. “With Genea’s current offerings were able to tap into the building at multiple levels and collect a lot of information, so we can use that information to drive value and see what the buildings needs are.”
You can find the original article here and if you missed part one, you can read it here.
If you are interested in learning more about Genea’s cloud-based software solutions and how they can help streamline day-to-day building operations for property teams and tenants, schedule a demo below.