Building Client Partnerships for a Cashless Amusement World
Since entering the cashless payment market in 2008, Semnox Solutions says it has always focused on being an innovator rather than a follower. Founded in Mangalore, India by Iqbal Mohammad and a team of seasoned IT professionals, Semnox immediately set its sights on becoming the world’s leading solutions provider for the amusement industry.
Along with a unique sales approach that focused on “building partnerships” rather than simply selling products to customers, they launched their Parafait System featuring RFID debit cards and readers at a time they say others were still relying on older magstripe technology.
“It sent a powerful message – that Semnox is here to disrupt business-as-usual in coin-op amusement,” the company said.
“We brought in a culture of customer responsiveness through quick turnaround in feature development and a very reactive support team,” Mohammad said. “Initial challenges of establishing a new company based on this RFID product were quickly overcome by these differentiated capabilities.”
When Kiran Karanki joined the company in 2009 as the head of product research and development, Semnox’s lineup of offerings quickly grew. The company set the goal of delivering as many products imaginable “under one roof” to fully run facilities while giving clients “the highest profits possible.”
This was made possible by a new generation of card readers; self-service kiosks; cloud-based management; online sales and party booking; seamless card roaming; full-service food and beverage; retail sales and inventory control; redemption; digital signage; waivers; handheld mobile devices; and their latest offering – the SmartFun mobile app.
“Semnox’s thinking is to deliver innovative solutions of the highest quality at affordable prices,” Karanki explained. “We were the first ones to launch RFID-based readers and this year, once again, we’re first to launch a Linux-based, multi-play, touchscreen reader, called Luminous. Our emphasis is delivering value to customers and we believe this can best be achieved by becoming a comprehensive venue management solution.”
On the software side, Mathew Ninan became head of their entire development process. As an avid technology and software design enthusiast, he says he believes in the continuous evolution and growth of the product. Ninan keeps everyone focused on addressing the needs of the various markets since Semnox is aware that requirements can vary significantly across different regions.
After initially concentrating on the Indian market, Semnox quickly expanded to surrounding countries.
Without compromising on features, Semnox said its solutions were priced aggressively to reduce total cost compared to other competitors in the industry, they claim Parafait became an instant hit in the market.
Once that was achieved, the company was ready to take on the rest of the world. Umesh Prabhu was brought in as director to help expand sales to Europe and Asia. He also wears multiple hats at the corporate headquarters, guiding compliance, HR, purchasing and finance, and serving on the board of directors.
With their eyes firmly set on global expansion, Semnox began working with international distributors like Warehouse of Games in the Middle East and Laserforce in Australia, along with forming a joint venture in China.
Prashant Menon joined the global implementation and support team to ensure Semnox was prepared to provide a solid foundation for its projected growth. He was responsible for setting up the 24/7 support model, enabling proper care for a large worldwide customer base. Utilizing his customer-oriented skills, he ensures that every client request is given the right level of attention.
Assessing the need to have a setup in the U.S. to effectively sell and service the customers, the subsidiary Semnox Solutions LLC was established in Dallas in 2014. With that in place, they could properly concentrate on their growth in the Americas. This is when Bepin Jose came aboard as president to run operations and simultaneously manage the sales efforts in the Americas.
“Every day, our thoughts and actions are driven by our values of collaboration, integrity and customer-first approach,” Jose said. Key members of his U.S. team include Drew Parow, who heads up implementation and customer support; Geo Thomas as Parafait solutions specialist; Sushan Bachody as their first client partner in sales; and Estefania Monares as client partner for the Latin American market.
By 2015, Semnox was able to land its first major partner in North America. What began as a test of the Parafait System against all the major competition at Chuck E. Cheese, turned into a contract for all 500-plus stores, they state.
Fast forward to 2019, which brought major additions to the company with Kim Cohen joining the U.S. sales team and longtime industry vet Brian Duke as senior sales partner after spending the last ten years in cashless payment with two other competitors.
“I had kept an eye on Semnox since running across their stand at IAAPA 2012, where I met Kiran,” Duke recalled. “I was very impressed with their advanced technology and knew they had something I wanted to be part of. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity in June of last year, so I jumped at the chance. I honestly could not be more pleased with my decision.
“We’ve got a fantastic management team that listens to others and constantly thinks ‘clients-first!’ However, there’s another factor for our success,” Duke continued. “I’ve said throughout my career that I’m only as good as the people around me and our support group is really the best in the industry. I cannot thank all of them enough and I think they are a big reason why Semnox doesn’t lose clients to the competition.”
The company said it was truly positioned for a rise to even more prominence in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic raged across the globe and the amusement world closed down.
“Any other company might have been entirely derailed, and some sadly were,” they said. “But unlike others who cut back and laid off employees during the shutdown, Semnox took the opposite approach.”
They kept their entire workforce intact and used the downtime to develop more contactless products, programs and services that will help operators safely reopen. Semnox realized that locations would need more from their debit card system providers since a personal touch and attention today is viewed as a negative for many who are afraid of going out into public to have a little fun.
So more self-service kiosks were developed to handle extra automated tasks like their Kulinary model for food and beverage, KlaimPrize for ticket redemption and Kustomer for registration and waivers.
In addition to its existing online party booking, new software was developed to manage and control all aspects of a facility onsite more safely – from enhanced facility scheduling and maintenance to crowd limit management.
Rather than worrying about what tomorrow will bring, Semnox says it’s doing everything it can here and now to create a better future for the amusement industry. Their never-ending goal of offering the best cashless payment system for arcades, FECs and parks is their driving force, which was Iqbal Mohamad’s vision when launching the company back in 2008.
Companies have come and gone since then – but Semnox continues to grow into a major force in the industry. Going by the history of the company, they say with confidence that there is much more to come from Semnox Solutions.