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Yatango is set to debut on the ASX with a unique business model inspired by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin

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Sydney based consumer technology company Yatango is set to debut on the ASX in June via a reverse takeover of Latitude Consolidated Limited (ASX:LCD), planning to raise a minimum of $6 million which will fund further growth in Australia and international expansion.

Fosters Stockbroking and Azure Capital are behind the deal and the company has already attracted high profile investors such as Larry Kestelman, the founder and CEO of Dodo (recently sold to M2).

Founder and CEO Andy Taylor (pictured) says he chose this route for access to capital and the ability to scale aggressively, highlighting that investing in growth is key to their long-term business plan that is focused on building an ecosystem of tightly integrated consumer services around the world.

Could Yatango be Virgin 2.0?

Yatango is on a mission to empower consumers to take control of their everyday consumption across a range of services through a disruptive integrated SaaS platform that harnesses the power of loyalty rewards, community, big data and machine learning.

“It’s not unlike what Richard Branson set out to do with the Virgin brand all those years ago,” Taylor, who revealed that Branson is one of his biggest inspirations, told Anthill.

He pointed out that the difference is that whereas Virgin is based on licensing and brands setting up different businesses with different shareholders and different funding, Yatango is more than just a brand – it is one business with one set of shareholders, one platform, one customer profile, all underpinned by one rewards program.

“We partner with wholesale suppliers and bring our brand, technology and community to the table,” he explained.

“Virgin didn’t have all of the technologies that we have now 30 years ago,” Taylor went on to say. “When I look at the Virgin of the old world, it was about the brand, and building a service business around the brand. It’s tough.”

“Now we have all the tools at our disposal (Internet, big data, mobile devices) to make it even better, but unfortunately, Virgin is a behemoth now, and is bogged down by legacy as well – they can’t transition to this model.”

Why this particular business model?

“The business model kind of found me, I think,” Taylor told us. “I’m a great believer that every consumer industry at the moment is going through radical consolidation, and it’s really become about a price point to the detriment of the customer experience.”

“I don’t think there has been a single company in the world yet that allows you to take your credentials across to different services in a consistent and integrated way,” he stated.

Taylor believes that right there is the gap, and that Yatango will fill it by building an ecosystem that allows people to earn and redeem rewards across multiple services instead of having to keep signing up for new providers hence having to keep up with a bunch of different logins.

What is the story behind Yatango?

Taylor, who was born in the UK and went to uni at the University of New Zealand, says his family always thought he was going to end up in a corporate job, and that while he started out doing that, it never appealed to him as something he’d want to do forever.

“I just don’t like working for anyone,” he said. “I’ve always had big ideas, and it’s hard to follow through on those when you’re working for someone else.”

“From working with corporates in my earlier years, and seeing how much they under-served customers deliberately, I wanted to take a fresh approach.”

Taylor says he wanted to really focus on the customer experience as opposed to getting bogged down by all the infrastructure that needs to go behind it. “I wanted to build a brand that actually does that properly and does what it says on the tin.”

This self-described “hater of the status quo” co-founded Australia’s first peer-to-peer lending platform SocietyOne and used the lessons he learnt there to start Yatango in 2012 after research found that most telco customers were paying more than they needed.

“Yatango for me is built purely for the everyday consumer,” he says. “We’re challenging industry titans who thrive off a lack of transparency, personalisation and efficiency to the detriment of the consumer. We’re here to shake things up.”

What has Yatango achieved so far?

Since launching in March 2013, the company has expanded rapidly, launching two disruptive product verticals in mobile and shopping and now has 175,000 registered users across the two products and rakes in revenue of more than a million dollars a month.

While major telcos do everything to lock in the customer, Yatango Mobile (which runs on the Optus 4G network) is the only provider that lets you customize everything in your plan on a no-contract basis, ensuring you only pay for what you need.

Yatango Shopping is an e-commerce marketplace that offers a wide range of categories such as electronics, cosmetics, fragrances, sunglasses and apparel, undercutting the prices of local retailers by sourcing the best prices from overseas suppliers.

Both of these came via acquisitions: the first through Savvytel and the second through Mobicity.

The company intends to build on its initial success by scaling up its marketing effort in Australia, expanding its product range into other key verticals and soft launching in the US and UK.

Later this year, they plan to launch Yatango Money, which Taylor says he expects to be the company’s most disruptive product yet.

This debit card and line-of‐credit financial product will be focused on revolutionising the everyday banking relationship, providing customers with tools to spend, manage, budget and save their money more effectively.

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