You may not know this, but Toku’s story started quite inauspiciously.
When I founded the company in 2018, it was almost by accident. Three years and a lot of hard work by the whole team later, it fills me with an immense pride to announce that we’ve raised a $5 million Series A, led by DX Ventures and previous investors including Tembusu Partners and Neptune Invest Asia!
We can now take the next step in our evolution: growing the team and building new communications products to help businesses across Asia Pacific overcome the specific regional complexities of digital transformation (DX) and improving customer engagement.
Perhaps I’ll write more on our beginnings another time. Suffice to say we started as underdogs, with little more than a good idea and some promising tech to our name. But we understood that there was a market opportunity for new communications use cases in APAC that neither local telcos nor cloud comms players could adequately meet.
By combining regional expertise and connectivity with knowledge of digital provisioning, we’ve built a unique offering that stands alone in helping businesses overcome local market fragmentation to build modern communications solutions for customer experience and hybrid working.
That dual expertise, together with a ‘never say die’ attitude born from our status as underdogs, has seen Toku grow more quickly than anyone could have imagined. Today, we’re able to help companies in the region move from a reliance on the PSTN to modern digital provisioning in 13 countries. We’ve won business that probably should have been out of our reach, precisely because we were able to accelerate DX projects quicker than any legacy or non-regional player.
Why We Raised Now
The pandemic has only accelerated the need for DX across APAC. It was already on the agenda, but now it’s actively prioritised in the public and private sectors. We’ve gained a lot of market traction in both of these areas this year, enjoying growth in excess of 200% over the past 12 months.
We want to continue punching above our weight and helping businesses across the region bridge the divide between legacy and digital communications, empowering their customers and employees to communicate anywhere on any device.
So we decided it was time to raise funds and reach the next stage of our growth, expanding further across APAC and strengthening our competitive advantage in a region where other digital-native providers are much less present. We also intend to enhance our core product offering, with a strategic focus for the next 18 months on making additional enhancements to our hosted contact center (CCaaS) solution.
Say Hello to Our New Partner
When it came to selecting a backer, we were lucky to have many to choose from. DX Ventures stood out because they really understand the value that we bring to the market. It was hugely reassuring to me and the rest of the board that they could see the immense benefit in a single cloud communications provider owning both the connectivity and the platform.
Due to local regulatory frameworks in countries across the Asia Pacific region, connectivity is a major barrier to entry for providers based in Europe or North America. Having that infrastructure in place gives us an edge in the region that the team at DX Ventures instantly recognised. They brought to the table just the right mix of experience, pragmatism and ambition that we need for this next hyper-growth phase in Toku’s story.
We’re immensely grateful to DX Ventures and our other investors, especially Tembusu Partners and Neptune Invest Asia, who have backed Toku’s vision from very early on in our journey.
What’s Next for Toku?
Our ambitions have certainly grown with the company and, as we start this next phase, there’s more to do than ever! Toku’s long-term vision is to go beyond a narrow definition of communications and provide smart customer engagement as a service.
That means serving as an agnostic connector between whichever platforms, data sources and third-party technologies that businesses choose to use – providing holistic insights that would not be apparent by looking at a single piece of the puzzle.
Getting there won’t be easy. We’re currently in the process of rolling out our hosted contact center offering to more customers. This rollout leads into our wider vision of creating a one-stop shop for CCaaS, CPaaS and UCaaS that can be connected to any third-party solution or data source – through partnerships, integrations and smart APIs – to drive greater engagement.
Building a Next-Level Workforce
We’ve doubled the size of our workforce to nearly 50 over the past 12 months, in response to rising demand for our services. We plan to do the same again in the next six to 12 months, strengthening our domestic presence in Singapore and across the rest of APAC with several new offices planned.
One thing that’s really important to me is that we don’t lose the spirit of what makes Toku special as we grow. As I’ve already said, we’re born underdogs and we’re not afraid to go places others won’t. It’s in our DNA.
I think it has to do with the culture we’ve encouraged from the beginning. One where mistakes are not only permitted but encouraged. Because if you’re taking risks and pushing boundaries, you’ll make mistakes. But if you’re smart and learn quickly, you’ll also help the company grow faster. When people know they can make mistakes, they show more initiative because they’re no longer afraid to fail.
Of course, for this to work you need a culture that’s also very transparent, where everyone is accountable. I’m incredibly grateful that we’ve had this at Toku since the day we started with just seven people. And I really hope we can hang onto it as we continue to grow. I’m so proud of the team we’ve got and can’t wait to see where they go from here.
If you like the sound of working at Toku, check out our open roles here!
Bringing More Value to Our Customers
Since 2018, our hybrid expertise is something enterprise customers have really valued because it has helped them overcome the technical complexity of their legacy systems and rapidly scale during an incredibly challenging period with the global pandemic.
One customer that quickly recognised this value is Decathlon Philippines. In the kind words of Omnichannel CX Voice Team Leader Randolph Magada: “Toku has been a great asset for us here at Decathlon, it greatly improved our customer experience especially in this time of the pandemic. Having Toku in our arsenal helped us connect to our sports users in a manner that is fast, friendly, and efficient.”
What we’re doing and the team we’ve built deserve special mention, but so do our fantastic customers. From major players like Decathlon, Gojek, JCDecaux, Public Utilities Board Singapore and foodpanda that trusted us even before we had a major market presence. To exciting startups like Waitr that we’ve grown alongside.
Each of them has helped us reach this pivotal stage in our journey. For our part, we’re as committed as ever to helping them achieve new heights in customer engagement. This funding round is great news not just for Toku as a company, but for every one of our employees, customers and partners – including all of those we work with in the future.
Join us and make it even easier for our customers to move to the cloud