Behind the Screen: Frank McKinnon, VP APAC
“Behind the Screen” is a spotlight series that introduces the people of Kinduct. This instalment features Frank McKinnon, VP APAC.
How long have you been working with Kinduct?
My time with Kinduct started in the spring of 2013, when I first joined as a consultant; later that year, I became a full-time employee. Right away I felt that we were onto something in terms of the role of technology and data in both sports and healthcare.
What did you do before joining Kinduct?
From 1999 to 2003 I was a mediocre programmer (at best), but I really found my path in the technology world when I switched to the more client-focused side of things. In 2009, I ventured into a SaaS start-up. Doing so ignited my passion for building business and acted as a stepping stone into this great chapter with Kinduct.
What’s been the best part about your time with Kinduct?
Easily the best part has been witnessing the personal and professional growth of my teammates — many of whom were straight out of university when they first joined Kinduct. As we have grown as a company, we’ve had to really rise to the fast-moving challenges our industry presents.
My colleague’s commitment to helping our clients and constantly improving our product has opened up a lot of opportunities to work with many of the world’s top sports organizations. And now, because of their dedication, many of them are viewed as part of the respective teams that they work with, and that is really a compliment. It has been awesome to see that growth.
Tell us a bit about the thinking that went into the APAC expansion. Was this something you initiated?
It was quite serendipitous really. My wife is a physician and she had held off on her required fellowship for years, mostly because Kinduct was growing and the timing was never right. Finally, the stars aligned, and we made the decision to go to Australia to pursue the medical fellowship and the adventure of living in another country with our three kids.
At that time, Kinduct did not have any representation on this side of the world, and we were starting to get inquiries and interest from organizations throughout Asia and Australia. So, the timing proved fortuitous and I kind of filled a void. It is working out as Kinduct is now part of the conversation within APAC Olympic organizations, leagues, teams, and brands who are looking to better manage and analyze athlete performance and injury data. So it’s a win-win with all the fun my family and I are having, too.
What made you most excited about making the big move, both personally and professionally?
Change is good for so many reasons. Before the move, I had been managing teams and had been getting further away from direct delivery and business development. I felt the need to get back to that to almost become reacquainted with the industry. It was exciting to help develop a brand awareness strategy for the APAC region, learn more about how we could provide value in sports that were new to us, and to initiate relationships across multiple countries and cultures to help grow our business.
Personally, it has been a fantastic adventure for my family. Our three kids have done really well to integrate in their schools, make friends, and take part in a lot of experiences that travel and new places can provide. Australia is a wonderful place and we have benefited substantially from the warm hospitality and climate.
What’s it been like trying to grow the Kinduct brand in a new area of the world?
Because we had such little presence in the region, there were definitely challenges. You cannot rely upon existing relationships, a key part of our successful expansion in North America. Also, each country favours different sports, which relates to their maturity and views towards performance and injury analytics.
Luckily, we have a great marketing team that has been very supportive of our market expansion aims, and we have leveraged the power and scale provided by social media, key APAC-based conferences, and various influencers. Additionally, we’ve leveraged some existing partnerships to seek out prospects, as well as increase the number of languages our platform can support which will greatly assist our business development in the region in the coming years.
What are some of the most exciting opportunities in the region for athlete monitoring technology like ours?
There are many but I will focus upon three:
- Our platform does a great job of supporting both the medical and performance teams, both on a team and league level. When it comes to the league level, I’m excited about providing those solutions in the APAC region, as we’ve done in North America similar to the XFL which was recently announced.
- With the next Olympic games in Tokyo (2020) and Beijing (2022), there’s a great opportunity to support Olympic associations as well as national sports organizations, which we have a proven track record of in North America.
- Lastly, if I were to hone in on one area specifically, Japan represents a really exciting place for us. They have not traditionally been a big market for sports tech and analytics, but that appears to be changing and has likely been ushered in by hosting the Rugby World Cup and their hosting of the Olympics later this year.
What are a few lessons these people and places have taught you about an industry you’ve been in for a while now?
This industry moves so quickly, especially in pro sports where teams are always looking for a competitive advantage. Adapting to that mindset, I think it’s important to be comfortable with constant innovation. Also, it is so important to always have ‘big ears’ and listen to clients — they are some of the brightest individuals on the planet, and if we continue to listen to their needs and make changes that benefit their workflows, we will be in a good spot.
What are you looking forward to most upon your return to Halifax?
We still have some time here as we continue to set up our business development and support framework here, but this has been the longest time away from Nova Scotia for us, so definitely being reunited with family and friends. Also, and this might come as a surprise to many, I miss a snowy winter (at least a few weeks of winter) and playing hockey (I am deceptively slow) with mates (as they say in Australia) and skiing with the family.
We have also been fortunate to have added a lot of great team members to the Kinduct team since I left for Australia. I’m looking forward to meeting them in person.
You can learn more about what we’ve been up to in the APAC region here.