​Vietnamese men design smart call center out of burning startup dream

​Vietnamese men design smart call center out of burning startup dream

Pham Tan Phuc (L) and Nguyen Xuan Bang stand by their Gcalls poster. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Two enterprising Vietnamese men under thirty years old have established a company offering convenient smart call centers to firms after determined efforts of becoming successful based on business ideas.

Pham Tan Phuc and Nguyen Xuan Bang were able to roll out Gcalls, a product which they described as constantly at the forefront of their mind.

A visitor to a company’s website incorporated with Gcalls can click on the Gcalls icon and call a customer care employee free of charge.

Gcalls also allows calls between smartphone apps, or from an app to a website, and is equipped with various features like forwarding a call and synchronizing the telephone number list.

The question “Do you want to make money with a multimillion-dollar idea?” has bound them together since their student time at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, a prestigious higher education institution in Vietnam, where Phuc followed an applied science program and Bang an industrial management one.

As students they used their tuition money to embark on the first monkey-making project combining games and online advertising, but they failed.

Undeterred, they pursued many other projects and met with failure again.

Phuc continued to invest a great deal of his time and effort in the self-employment direction, so much so that his father forced him to leave the house since he was loath to find a job.

He lodged with Bang and the two men faced repeated unsuccessful startup attempts.

Bang arrived in Germany to study and had a stable part-time job for half a year but decided to return to Vietnam to join Phuc in a new startup venture with Gcalls.

In 2015 they founded the Singapore-based Gcalls Joint Stock Company, which initially received an investment of US$31,000 from an Australian telecommunications corporation, $8,000 from BFBZ Investments Pte. Ltd., and $19,000 from another organization.

The investments tided them over in early stages since the inception when their product, the call center, was bought by only two corporate customers.

The enterprise now has 28 users, with 67 potential customers awaiting the perfection of Gcalls features.

The largest investment Bang and Phuc have obtained, $1 billion, came last year from VinaCapital – a major investment and real estate development company in Vietnam.

The founders are prepared to expand their business by forming another branch in their homeland, targeting small and medium-sized firms in the first steps.

“Phuc and Bang possess an inquiring mind and enthusiasm, and are particularly persevering. They’ve exhibited a sense of responsibility, the bravery to challenge themselves and willingness to make changes and take action,” said Pham Duy Hieu, director of the Startup Vietnam Foundation.

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