Breaking into the market – interview with i-tec CEO Franz Kubaschek

PCR speaks to i-tec CEO Franz Kubaschek about the company’s decision to expand into the UK, its history of enhancing productivity and connectivity through its product portfolio and where the firm is heading next.

Tell us a bit about the history of i-tec and its story.

Our company was established almost two decades ago, during the dawn of mobile technology – notebooks, PDAs and digital photography. At the time, mobile tech was expensive, albeit somewhat lacking in user-friendly features. Our mission from the outset has been to change this, to make our customers’ lives easier and more productive, enhancing the user experience through connectivity. It started with helping people get online, but in recent years our focus has evolved into helping users run more applications, save more data, work faster, smarter, and more efficiently.

Our mission remains the same to the present day. Mobility is one of the most topical and important trends in the IT world. The vast majority of people are connected 24/7, whether it be with friends, relatives, colleagues or loved ones, or everyone at the same time. At i-tec, we work hard to make connectivity easy. Our products and solutions allow different – and often incompatible devices – to get connected. Not only do we get these devices connected, but we also use our know-how and experience to get the absolute maximum out of the technology. 

Who are your primary customers?

Our customer base varies – accountants, office workers, tradesmen, students; we help even the most demanding tech users to connect their devices and get them working seamlessly together at the same time.

What was behind the decision to expand into the UK market?

The UK market is technologically advanced, probably the most advanced in Europe, with a huge number of mobile tech users. This demographic fits very well with our product offering, and our mission of getting people to get connected, using i-tec products. UK users know what they want – a top quality product at a competitive price – and we are confident that we have the product range to meet and exceed expectations. 

“The UK market is the most technologically advanced in Europe”
Franz Kubaschek, i-tec

Tell us about the kinds of products you sell.

We produce a wide range of docking stations, allowing mobile tech users to connect external peripherals and gadgets to notebooks, PCs and smartphones. We connect processing power to external data storage, backups, displays, and cameras, in addition to cloud-enabled storage and data-sharing platforms. We also produce a wide variety of hub devices, allowing the connection of many more devices to their primary equipment, as well as products to support the safe storage and sharing of data.

Which sort of products are the most successful and popular from i-tec?

Currently, products with Thundedock2 interface are very strong, although USB-C is becoming more popular, as its appeal to the mass market grows. In the near future we envisage Thunderbolt3 becoming a much more prominent player, which will allow users to connect almost everything to anything – it’s a game changer.

What’s next for the company? Do you plan on expanding further into more countries? Product roadmap?

We have exciting plans! Our focus in 2017 is the UK, and in 2018 we plan to enter the US market. As the i-tec brand is already quite well-established in EMEA and APAC, entering these markets will give us a truly global footprint.

In terms of our solution portfolio and a roadmap, we have set bold and challenging targets for ourselves. We plan to expand our broad portfolio of connectivity products with smart, cloud enabled storage devices, allowing users to share valuable data across the globe, in an easy and feature-packed way, without compromising security.

What makes i-tec popular with resellers?

Although we already have a significant international presence, it’s been important for us to carefully control how we manage, develop, sell, and of course support our customers. We have worked hard to avoid multi-layer organisational structures, and it is our intention to remain a highly efficient and flexible organisation. All of these factors help us to offer a top quality and feature-packed product at – very important for our resellers – a market competitive price point. All of that means the reseller, regardless of if they are an e-tailer or large project integrator, often gain the equivalent, or even higher, gross margin contribution from i-tec products, than from the major ‘high ticket value’ SKU.

We know that the channel is highly competitive. Our essential but complementary products not only help the end-user to get the maximum out of their solution, but also provide the reseller with great cross-selling opportunities, not to mention a solid overall gross margin.

Last but not least, the accessories sector is somewhat ‘niche’ for many brands. This can result in an inferior level of end-user support when compared to the core offer. For i-tec however, the satisfaction of our customers and resellers is our absolute top priority, which means hassle-free and profitable repeat business, for our resellers, every time.

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