Our Journey with Willowmore
CK Tan, Managing Partner of the Oriza Greenwillow Technology Fund was first introduced to Willowmore in 2019, where the company founded by Basil Byrne and Joseph Tey had just begun to pivot their company from providing Telecom-related consulting and advisory services towards an Enterprise Grade access control solutions company, specialising in the critical infrastructure segment. Willowmore’s keyless, IoT-enabled smart lock solution was born out of the various challenges that telecom owners and operators faced in accessibility and security of telecom sites, prompting the Founders to design a suite of robust heavy duty smart locks coupled with an enterprise software solution to ensure greater security and traceability with a centralized access control system.
At that point, Willowmore’s product had gained some early breakthroughs, securing its first contract from Indonesia’s leading telecommunication tower owner and operator, Protelindo to use their newly-developed proprietary smart locks and access management control system to allow the operator to issue virtual keys quickly to the smartphones of authorised staff and contractors, removing the need for physical keys, and simultaneously ensuring their distributed assets were secured with every entry tracked and audited. The company was however still in its early stages of technology validation and product development, and CK maintained a watching brief on Willowmore.
Early Breakthroughs in Indonesia and Singapore Markets
Fast-forward to August 2021, Willowmore had made significant strides forward as their vision to become the industry leader for Enterprise-Grade access control systems. Their milestones included:
- Establish Indonesia market leadership by securing additional contracts from multiple leading Telecommunications Companies in the country.
- Made early breakthroughs in Singapore market by securing public contracts / trials with Singapore Town Councils operator EMServices, selected government schools, and PUB for waste water management.
- Expand its product range by introducing new heavy duty (IP66 / IP68) padlocks for added robustness, security and longer battery life as well as cabinet door locks.
- Developed a new prototype for its patented NB-IoT enabled Gateway to enable multiple smart keyless locks, sensors and devices to communicate seamlessly with Network Operation Centres.
This spurred us to renew talks with Joseph and Basil, as Willowmore’s technology and value proposition served as a great fit into the Smart Cities focus for the newly launched Venture Capital fund under Greenwillow’s management. In the following 3 – 4 months, we delved deep into performing thorough due diligence on the company, interacting personally with the Willowmore management team and employees, learning more about its technology differentiation, business operations, and strategic plans for Willowmore.
Building a Business Relationship with the Founders
In the process, we became valued partners of Joseph and Basil, and was also happy to extend our feedback and strategic guidance to the team as Willowmore worked towards instituting thoughtful business plans, and proper processes into the company’s operations. This included multiple hours-long office visits, nailing down the products supply chain and manufacturing process, working out Willowmore’s business models and pricing plans across different buyer profiles, determining their Go-to-Market Strategy across different Southeast Asia markets, and scrubbing through their contracts pipeline and financial projections.
“Quote from Joseph and Basil”
Thanks to the cooperation and trust from the founders and the Willowmore team, Greenwillow successfully lead the Series A Fundraising in January 2022, as Willowmore’s first institutional investor. “Our fund is privileged to be the lead investor for Willowmore’s Series A funding and to support its next phase of growth as the digital leader for access control solutions. We have been deeply impressed by Willowmore’s holistic and robust enterprise grade solution and believe the technology will provide extensive transformation to the facilities and asset management space across multiple sectors that requires high levels of security and real time monitoring.” said Mr CK Tan, Managing Partner of Oriza Greenwillow Technology Fund.
The Steps Ahead for Willowmore
We are thrilled to now be a part of Willowmore’s growth journey, and to support the company’s market expansion as the leader in smart IoT-enable access control solutions. As a first step, Greenwillow’s Managing Partners have already begun to leverage on their extensive networks in Singapore’s business ecosystems to introduce Willowmore’s enterprise-grade solution to open the marketing channels with multiple strategic customers across Singapore’s public and private sectors. Beyond Singapore, we are currently working with Willowmore to conceptualize their strategic 5 year business plan to expand into various markets across Asia, build their management team, and accelerate the commercialization process of their extensive product portfolio in the pipeline.
Do continue to look forward to Willowmore’s growth story!