September 28, 2012
Message from the Founder - Q3 2012

August 30th, 2012, was a historic day for the Apex Group. It marked our 6th year as an Outsourced Salesforce delivering customer-centric solutions to the emerging markets in EMEA. Six years is nearly a generation in the ICT industry. In fact, when I founded the Apex Group, the UAE's second mobile operator (Du) was just 4-months-old, Facebook was only available for US college and high school students, the Middle East's number one mobile device was Nokia, and nearly all mobile data connectivity in the Middle East used GPRS (2.5G) technology for transfer rates at a whopping 80-100 kbps!

Normally, our quarterly Founder's Newsletter has a forward-looking perspective, but this time I'd like to take a look back and share with you how the Apex Group got its start and how we continue to evolve.

Why we started

While at university nearly 15 years ago, I read an article in what was then an exciting new magazine, Fast Company. In Dan Pink's seminal piece titled Free Agent Nation, the author described what seemed to many at the time to be a very futuristic view of our professional life. I remember feeling extremely inspired that businesses would naturally seek out talented specialists to outsource some of their most critical business practices. Beyond the traditional big business outsourcing to other big businesses, Pink described smaller teams with razor-sharp focus that would be relied on to build the future economies of the world. This article is definitely the first seed that spawned the idea of the Apex Group.

Just a few years later, I found myself taking the "futuristic" concept of an independent professional agency into the emerging markets of EMEA. I am honored that some of the largest global technology companies in EMEA — including Saudi Telecom, Etisalat, Telkom South Africa, Telecom Egypt, Al Jazeera, Glo, SFR, and Level 3 — relied on our professional sales and consulting services to help them grow their businesses.

How we've made it this far

The biggest reason why customers and suppliers continue to lend their trust to the Apex Group is because we offer high-quality cloud-based services without any additional mark-up or inefficiencies. Our Middle East customers contract directly with our suppliers, interact directly with their technical support, receive pricing directly from the supplier, and benefit from on-the-ground, knowledgeable, and accountable sales people. At the same time, our suppliers reduce their SG&A cost, time, and risk in developing important regions while providing their customers with the much-needed local account support. It's an innovative model that our customers and suppliers have adopted quickly, and for that we are grateful for their forward-thinking mentality.

Why are we still investing?

Despite economic downturns in Europe and other global markets, the future in the emerging markets of EMEA is still very bright. According to IDC, ICT spending from 2012 to 2015 will increase in MEA by an additional $20B at a CAGR of 8.2%.

From a more global perspective, the increased demand for online video services is a tremendous driver for the IP, CDN and Internet Broadcasting services we offer. Cisco predicts that in 2016, online video will account for 55% of consumer internet traffic1. comScore reports that in the US alone, video viewers spend a staggering 22 hours watching an average of 200 videos each month2. News like this confirms the need for us to provide better IP connectivity and content delivery services in the Middle East.

Moreover, our customers continue to adopt more of our services for some of their most critical business requirements. Al Jazeera Sports used our fiber-based video delivery services instead of satellite transmission of the Euro 2012, and OSN used 10 live streaming feeds for delivering the 2012 Olympics to OSN Play Subscribers. And we continue to expand our reach by serving new markets like Oman and Iraq for the first time this year.

Our commitment to serve the Middle East region is steadfast, and in our Founder's Newsletter next quarter we'll be announcing a number of exciting investments that we'll be making in the region.

Thank you

Over the past 6 years, we've had many achievements to be proud of, including most recently being featured on the BBC. I want to thank our customers for supporting the Apex Group, our suppliers — Level 3, Rackspace and Brightcove — for providing us with the exceptional services on which we have built our reputation, and finally I thank the Apex Group employees and consultants that have turned a seedling of an idea into a respected and innovative company.

My deepest gratitude to you all.

Sincerely,

Alex Giannikoulis
Founder & CEO
The Apex Group
Office: +1 773 782 6581

 
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