Recombo vs. Ingenia…

Not being a “business person” per se, this has been pretty interesting – lots of new terms.  Since I really like watching “Dragon’s Den” and “Shark Tank” this has been kind of fun/cool.  I have emulated Ed’s idea and included a table with my thoughts on two companies, Recombo 2005 and Ingenia.

What to “watch for”



CEO Credibility

Brad seems very motivated, intense, knowledgeable and committed to a goal/goals of company and customer. Been with company for a number of years as well. Don’t know his education background or actual degrees/credentials.

Ramona also is very committed, knowledgeable, been there since 1998, but not as intense/goal oriented perhaps. Her academic credentials and experience are impressive.

Management Team

Brad does not really describe his management team.

Ramona mentions all consultants are Masters/PhD’s. Beyond that, not much.

Business Model

Given that the interviewer has tracked the company for a number of years, presumably the model has worked well. The idea of incentives for the lighthouse customer in order to access their client list seems solid; he endorses “win-win” strategies. IBM is interested which seems to reinforce their business model.

It would appear they have done due diligence in terms of researching the demographics of Vietnam, what the government is pushing(private sector), who is investing(Asian Dev. Bank), other major players that might access their services, the amount of competition(little) and the overall need.

Competitive Products

Prices/fees are not given; went to website and would have to phone to get info. Digital signatures seem to be a main service, i.e. contracts over the internet that are legal. Don’t know what this service should be worth.

Again, no fees/prices given; contact them to get quotes. Lots of testimonials on webpage. Not really sure what consultants earn for this type of work. Visited three other sites – no fee structure given; phone to get a quote.

Market Readiness

They have been going for four years at interview time, just almost doubled employees, major lighthouse customer, depending on whether they get the 700 company name list they might be a 100 million dollar company maybe.

According to their info, conditions are very good for this company to succeed. Their “skills/niche services” are predicted to be needed and the country seems to have a lot to offer for what Ingenia does.

Technical Innovation

They do seem to have an edge; the connector/adapter seems able to talk btw any system and interpret data and change data in real time. Seems like they have a product that others do not have or would want.

I’m not sure they have a technical edge/innovative product/service; rather what they do is going to be in demand in the market they have targeted. They talked about limited dollars for development so I don’t know that they will be “leading edge”.

Exit Strategy

Brad seems very clear on this. For the right price, they would sell to a VC interest. But at what point this happens…hard to tell.

I get the sense that they do have goals/direction and have done their homework but they don’t spell out what their long term goals are.

Overall Investment Status

I would invest with Brad and company. Seem to be growing, have a product that is desired, IBM interested, like their philosophy on customers/employees. Don’t think they are looking for investors – maybe a “big buyer”; mentioned IPO as a possible route.

Again, like what I heard. Seems like they are qualified, have a market worth exploring, conditions are good. Don’t like lack of dollars they have (presumably that’s why they need my dough). Didn’t address how long to get 25% return and is lower compared to other companies.

1 comment

1 davidp { 09.17.09 at 3:13 pm }

Both companies are still in business – one in the product business, the other in the service business. Each has adapted to market demands. And you’re right, neither makes a heavy pitch for investors.

In the case of Recombo, it used its “connector” expertise to find a more business-driven niche in the corporate governance and compliance market space.

If you take a look at Ingenia’s current web site (, you’ll find a more diverse set of clients than those that were the focus of its initial pitch.

Many small companies need to adapt and change their product or service focus to find the sweet spot in the market that will sustain and grow the business.

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