From consulting to startups – Dan talks about leaving Bain to join Migo

From consulting to startups – Dan talks about leaving Bain to join Migo

We spoke to Dan Connor, who recently hired a Chief of Staff and Director of Growth & Business Development for his team through Movemeon, about his career journey. In this article, Dan, CEO at Migo Indonesia and ex-Bain, shares his experience leaving consulting to join a startup.

Tell us a bit about your early career journey, Dan! 

After completing my Masters degree in politics, I actually had my eye on joining the State Department. I had a job lined up in the USA, but I decided to put it on hold and take some time out and work in Asia, to get that notch on my belt and broaden my horizons a little. 

So I joined Bain in Singapore, expecting it to be a 18-month to 2-year type thing. But I really enjoyed the challenge of consulting, as well as working in Asia, so when I asked to help found Bain’s Jakarta office in 2013, I felt it was an awesome opportunity that I just couldn’t turn down. I was proud to be one of the first five employees for Bain in Indonesia, which I believe is now a team of 70-80 consultants. 

So I guess you can say I was really bitten by the Asia bug. I also learned Bahasa Indonesia and some basic Chinese along the way. 

What was it about working in Indonesia in particular that really grabbed you?

I think ultimately it was about being able to have the most impact and getting up close to the really fundamental issues. As a consultant in Singapore, we’d often (not always) be helping more mature, stable businesses optimise for performance gains. 

Whereas in Indonesia, we were helping our clients grapple with fundamental growth opportunities and the various challenges to navigate. I could really tangibly see and feel the impact we were having, working with really senior decision-makers. 

So talk us through the next phase – leaving Bain and joining Migo.

It was in 2018 when I was thinking about my next step out of Bain. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that I chafe at existing systems that don’t make sense – much better to help build something new, effective and fit-for-purpose. Not to mention an opportunity to help launch something much bigger, not just doing the optimising and refining thing. 

Furthermore, I’d always been more interested in companies that make products and services for the mass market, rather than those which look to target the top 5-10% of consumers. 

I had done a bit of work in the telco space while at Bain. Once I heard about Migo and its mission to make a difference to the 90% of Indonesians who have limited internet access, I knew this was a pretty special opportunity.

Migo had done tech trials at that stage, and was ready with the first iteration of our solution, but needed someone to come in as Indonesia CEO to drive our go-to-market and scale the team. So right on three years ago, I joined Migo and have loved being part of this great ride. 

Tell us a bit more about Migo?

For the majority of people living in emerging markets, the promise of high-speed internet is a pipe dream. They have limited cellular data budgets and no wireline internet. Their access to data is limited to the most basic functionality. They are not able to participate in the rich data experience of the few who have real-time access to virtually any service at their fingertips.

Migo levels the digital playing field for 3 billion consumers by bringing the best bits of the internet to the corner store. We offer affordable access to Entertainment, Education, Financial Services, and other digital products and services through a disruptive tech solution that delivers data up to 100 times cheaper than existing networks. 

What’s the trajectory for Migo from here?

It’s been such a great growth story. In two years we’ve built a team from scratch to 200+ people across 4 offices in the country, and we have 1,200 locations across Java. In April we welcomed our one millionth customer in Indonesia, and we’ve attracted multiple rounds of investment from Temasek and leading VC firms along the way. 

We’ll continue to focus on our rollout across Indonesia, while in parallel we are actively looking at other markets in the region where we see huge opportunities for our offering. 

What kind of advice would you give to consultants keen to make the jump into a startup?

Bear in mind that startup life isn’t necessarily going to be all about super-intellectual problem solving, every day, like it is in consulting. Ultimately, it’s about getting your hands dirty, grappling with multiple problems and challenges (and opportunities) quickly and efficiently. You will use your consulting toolkit, but you’ll need to make trade-offs and make decisions rapidly. 

How did you get to know Movemeon?

I think I first heard about Movemeon through the Bain grapevine. I signed up as I was interested in picking up freelance projects while I was looking around for a new challenge. 

It was great to be able to keep an eye on the market for permanent jobs as well as interesting freelance projects. I really liked that I could keep the net super wide across different geographies and role types, but the alerts and jobs highlighted through Movemeon were always relevant, so I wasn’t wasting my time sifting through other channels or platforms.

And we’re thrilled that you’ve recently made some hires through Movemeon!

Yes! I’m happy to have been able to leverage Movemeon to find a great Chief of Staff and Director of Growth & Business Development for my team. 

I’ve been super happy about the quality of candidates that Movemeon have been able to connect us with. Movemeon is proving a great partner as we scale: they can obviously support across Asia-Pacific, but the ability to cover both permanent hires and contract resources is particularly helpful. 

Thanks, Dan for your time and all the best for continued success at Migo!

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