Aussie startup sees gold in Middle East

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Aussie startup sees gold in Middle East
Stephane Ibos

Sydney-based software-as-a-service aggregator Maestrano is barely a year old, but it has opened a Dubai office to exploit a gap its founder believes he has found in the market.

While the firm's home base was a studio apartment a little more than a year ago, Maestrano opened an office in Dubai last month and also has a US sales office, which opened last year.

Founder Stephane Ibos says he is now experiencing “huge demand” from the Middle East, with plans to add to the Dubai team.

“It’s quite a blue sky area at the moment,” Ibos told CRN, speaking about the Middle East region. “There’s a huge demand, it’s just not addressed.”

“Everyone knows the Middle East for the large, massive contacts with defence, petrol and things like that. There are few players meeting the needs of the small businesses. Most of them are very large companies that try to offer a subset of features.”

The firm made the leap after “testing the waters” late last year, piloting services with a local chain of restaurants in the area.

An agency in the Middle East that provides outsourced payroll and training to SMEs in the area will resell Maestrano’s offering.

The fledgling business has also found a reseller in Singapore that will take the Maestrano platform to Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. By the next half of 2015, Ibos wants to expand to northern West Africa.

Maestrano sells subscription access to a bundle of SaaS tools including Xero, Quickbooks, MYOB, Moodle and SugarCRM, accessible through a single dashboard. The company sells direct, as well as white labelling its offering for resellers.

Ibos said about 40 percent of sales were coming from the US, 40 percent from Australia and the rest from various other locations.

Among the investors in Maestrano is former Microsoft ANZ managing director Gary Jackson.

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