All systems Goh on new mobile messaging plan

PERTH businessman Steven Goh is working on an SMS-based business venture industry sources say is close to being taken to the market.

While Mr Goh remains tight-lipped on the details, he confirmed the venture involved mobile technology.

WA Business News understands the venture involves a java-based instant messenger application that can be installed on java-enabled mobile phones.

The java application will allow users to send SMS messages using the instant messenger for a fraction of the cost of sending an SMS, making it a cost effective business and communications tool.

Mr Goh confirmed that the SMS venture has “about a dozen” investors located in WA and on the east coast, and that $500,000 seed capital had been raised for the purpose of developing, and now commercialising, the technology.

While refusing to discuss the details, Mr Goh confirmed his involvement in the SMS project, describing the venture as being put together “between friends”.

“My focus is on financial services. This [SMS] business is the sort of thing that you do amongst friends,” he told WA Business News.

Ernst and Young marketing manager and WA Business News 40under40 winner, Brian Leedman, confirmed that he is an investor in the project.

“Steven is a friend of mine and he’d approached me and had decided to invest in it,” Mr Leedman said.

Mr Goh, also a WA Business News 40under40 winner, confirmed that ex-Sanford staff are involved in the project.

Mr Goh also said he was working on other business ventures in the financial services sector, including wealth management and broking. It is understood that Mr Goh has also been looking at opportunities in North America and Asia.

Mr Goh was a founder and managing director of Perth-based online broking company Sanford, which he headed until a successful takeover from Melbourne financial data group, IWL.

Mr Goh’s management contract was not renewed in April 2003 and he resigned from Sanford’s board a month later in May 2003.

The move followed other resignations from Sanford’s board, including that of then chairman Clive Hall and director Robert McKay.

Sanford was the target of a takeover by IWL, which seized control of the company after National Australia Bank, the company’s biggest shareholder, sold its 14 per cent stake for $1.5 million.

While Sanford was not successful financially, its technology and services, which were developed by Mr Goh, won wide acclaim.

Sanford went head to head in the market with JDV, a division of former listed company Hartleys. IWL and JDV remain vigorous competitors in the development of online financial services for stockbrokers and financial planners.

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