The Evolution of an Entrepreneur

A seasoned entrepreneur recently shared his 22-year entrepreneurial journey, highlighting the highs and lows of his business.

Goon Koon Yin, the chief executive officer of TT Vision Holdings Bhd, was delivering an online talk on “Building a Sustainable Business” organised by WOU’s School of Business and Administration and School of Technology and Engineering Science (STE) on 25 June 2023.

Despite careful planning, one cannot foresee external events, and hence his advice for launching a business, besides the right timing, is that “what is more important is to have the heart and belief. Proceed and test your capabilities in the market in a chosen field.”

Sharing the struggles and triumphs of his journey.

Goon founded TT Vision, a private limited company, in 2001, a week after leaving his seven-year job as an engineer. This unfortunately coincided with the 9/11 terror attacks, but he went ahead, starting with a small team and a few customers to sustain his business.

“If you have the aspiration and motivation, and you know your abilities, that is the most appropriate time, despite the challenges, because then you are most fired up and ready to go,” he added.

TT Vision is a vision inspection equipment company, which first served MNC clients particularly from the electrical and electronics (E&E) industry in Penang, before expanding in the state and Malaysia. Within three years, he was exporting to customers overseas, and now serves clients in Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, China, Japan and South Korea.

Core business of the company.

“We leveraged all the major MNCs in Penang which had set up factories here. Through referrals, we talked to MNCs which have sites in Malaysia, and, from there, to their other sites outside Malaysia,” Goon elaborated.

The company recorded RM 600,000 in revenue in 2001, rising to over RM12 million in 2009 and RM30 million in 2010. Around 2005, he lost over half of his employees to customers who wanted to produce the same products. Despite this setback, the company grew, and in 2009, started sourcing for external funding, including venture capital and government grants. It raised nearly RM9 million for R&D to produce high-value products.

Goon also founded TT Innovation Centre Sdn Bhd.

The company suffered losses from 2010-2014 as it transitioned from customising solutions, serving less than 10 customers, to making standard products for the mass market. With the raised capital, they hired staff and developed their facilities. It would take several years for the new products to get tested and validated in the market, and in the interim, they sold their old products.

During this period, the company also invested funds and resources to protect their intellectual properties, e.g. cyber security, filing patents in Malaysia and other key markets. Goon stressed, “When starting a company, two key things are to develop your product, and secondly, to protect your product, including talents.”

Corporate milestone leading to ACE Market IPO (initial public offering).

The company upped its profits with the sale of its new products from 2015.  In 2019, the company was listed on the LEAP Market of Bursa Malaysia so as to raise capital for a bigger facility to handle bigger projects. Further upgrading followed from 2020-2022, and the company was listed on the ACE Market in January 2023, having earned RM50 million the previous year.

Goon’s aspiration is to expand into Europe and US markets, reap RM100 million this year and a few hundred millions in the near future, and get listed on the MAIN Market.

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