Fledgling online electronics business OHKI has appointed high-profile entrepreneur Siimon Reynolds as its chairman, just seven months after its launch.
Reynolds, who co-founded multinational marketing agency network the Photon Group and has been actively involved in numerous start-ups, will work for around a day a week in his new role after taking a minority stake in the retailer.
However, OHKI co-founder Lucas McEntee tells StartupSmart that he hopes Reynolds will become full-time in the role as the business expands.
“We hope that by early next year that we will be going well enough for him to be full-time – that’s the ultimate goal,” he says. “We’ve got to get the foundations of the business right, but if we tick all the boxes, we’ll hopefully get more of his time.”
McEntee says that Reynolds has taken a “significant” stake in the business but that it was less than 10%. McEntee and fellow co-founder Jason Littlewood retain the majority of the business’ equity.
The duo, who worked in corporate advisory and investment banking respectively, launched OHKI in December last year.
The business sells electronic items such as TV, audio and photography equipment, stocking its own brand as well as other brands, such as Sony and Apple.
McEntee says that the business was put in touch with Reynolds after approaching The Australian Small Scale Offerings Board for funding.
“We have a number of ideas around data marketing which struck a chord with him and his background,” he says. “I think he was impressed by the team we have here and the fact that the online retail market, especially in electronics, still has a big opportunity to grow.”
“He will run the board, which is a job in itself, but will also add value by driving traffic and getting our brand out there. He has a proven track record in getting exposure for companies and we will get the benefit of his knowledge of marketing, as well as his extensive contacts list.”
Reynolds says: “OHKI is at the forefront of a maturing Australian online retail market and is one of the more promising business stories I come across for some time.”
“Given its already exponential growth and strategic focus on becoming Australia’s number one online retailer, I am looking forward to a bright future with OHKI.”
McEntee says that OHKI is aiming for revenue of between $8 million and $10 million this financial year, taking on traditional retailers as well as online competitors such as Kogan.
“Unlike Kogan, we sell branded products and I don’t believe Kogan will do that, going by what he’s been saying in the press,” he says. “The OHKI-branded products will be a lot cheaper than what you find elsewhere, but we’ll also focus on our customer service. A lot of online retailers bury their telephone number, but ours is everywhere on the site.”
McEntee says that any start-up hoping to lure a big-name entrepreneur to its board needs to have a clear strategy.
“You need to be clear where you are heading, what problems you face and how you will solve them,” he says.
“You need to know your business back to front too, or you won’t get someone on board like this. It’s very hard to get capital at the moment, unless you’re a mining company, so it also helps to be operating in the right space. We are fortunate that we are in the right space at the right time at the moment.”