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1Mby1M Deal Radar: Global Sky, Las Vegas, Nevada

Posted on Wednesday, Jan 5th 2011

Global Sky is a Philippines-based call center that handles inbound, outbound, and back-office support functions. It aims to be a “branch office” for entrepreneurs, a place where they can outsource all non-core functions.

The company was founded in 2004 by CEO James Stinson. He began his career in Web development and went to India to set up an outsourcing center. He began with a “build it and they will come” mentality, which he realized it was a mistake. It was an expensive lesson, and with Global Sky, his next venture, Stinson’s approach was to start small and grow as needed. He chose the Philippines because he felt that the population’s English-language proficiency, often regarded as greater than in other Southeast Asian countries, high literacy rate, and ability to adapt to a variety of Western accents were important advantages.

Global Sky handles a variety of functions: inbound and outbound call centers, back-office functions, e-mail handling, sales information, customer management, and copywriting. Pricing is about $9 to $10 an hour. Most of the agents are based in Manila, but the company has the ability to use at-home agents anywhere in the world – a trend Tony Scott and I have covered through various posts and interviews with outsourcing companies. Of particular interest is Tony’s interview with Matt Driscoll of West Corporation; Tony and Matt discuss at length call centers in the Philippines and India.

Traffic comes in from the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Global Sky has about 20 customers in retail, produce distribution, and software development, including Sundia and Cornish Property Services. The company’s staff of around 120 people handles about 300,000 minutes worth of call traffic a month.

The competition wasn’t as strong as it is now when Stinson founded the company; there were 60 major call center companies in the Philippines at that time. One was Amber Gris solutions, which was eventually purchased by IBM. Etelecare and People Support are two other big players. Global Sky partnered with a call center called Iworx before they were bought out by The Resource Group. Today, the Philippines has more than 600 call centers. Other similar-sized competitors are Acquisix, Havenlink Solutions, Infinity CRM Solutions, and NorthStar Solutions.

Recent estimates by the Everest Group say that in 2010, the Philippines will take in $5.7 billion in call center revenues from the United States, Europe, and Australia, followed by India with $5.5 billion. The total addressable market for Global Sky in the Philippines is about $2 billion. Global Sky’s business model is to sell to entrepreneurs, its primary target segment, and executives and work hand in hand with them to set up their outsourcing campaigns.

Stinson started the company with minimal capital, partnering with another call center until Global Sky could build up funds and bring on an investor of an initial $100,000 to get the office developed. He gave up 50% of the company at first, buying back 25% when he repaid the initial $100,000 capital and eventually buying back another 20% when he paid another $50,000 given. Total investor holdings now is 5%, and Stinson owns the remaining 95%. Global Sky is in the process of raising more funds. Revenues are just over $1 million, down from about $2 million in 2008, but Stinson says that he expects sales to pick up this year as the economy continues to recover.

For 2011, the company’s goal is to build the sales force on the ground while increasing Global Sky’s online visibility and partnering with organizations that already serve its target market. For the long term, Stinson wants to create a “work resort” on the beach, where everyone lives and works on-site with a gourmet chef, masseuses, surfing, schools, hospitals, lecture series, and other amenities.

In the 1M/1M Deal Radar series, we celebrate entrepreneurs who have reached at least $1 million in annual revenue. It is part of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) global initiative.

Recommended Reading
Top 10 Outsourcing Trends For The Decade
Deal Radar 2010: Rural America OnShore Sourcing
1M/1M: Rural America’s Outsourcing Potential

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Deal Radar

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