Just a couple of tech guys

Sam Koerner and Josh Helbig of Beam Internet.

It would be fair to say Beam Internet founders, Josh Helbig and Sam Koerner have done alright building their brand over the past few years. 

Their striking orange signage is instantly recognisable, and Beam infrastructure is increasingly omnipresent on Barossa rooftops.

But the two masterminds behind the Beam success story insist they aren’t businessmen.

“At the end of the day we’re tech people, we’re not business people or sales people or anything like that,” said Josh Helbig, sipping a coffee in the kitchenette cum meeting room at Beam Internet’s Nuriootpa headquarters.

“We didn’t expect the rapid growth at all, it kind of just happened.”

Catching Josh for a few precious moments during his caffeine hit as he dashes between appointments, it is clear that growth is keeping him, and all of the 13 strong team at Beam, satisfyingly busy.

After launching the business in the Barossa in November, 2015 as a marketing exercise for computer support business, Kodo, Beam smashed Josh and Sam’s expectations of what they thought it could achieve.

“We saw a need, because the NBN was a long way off and wasn’t living up to expectations in other areas,” said Josh.

“We initially thought 100 or so customers was the target for the area. Essentially when we got building, we soon realised there was a bigger need.”

Beam now handles thousands of customers across an area that spreads from the Barossa, north towards Jamestown, and south to the Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island, as well as Coonalypyn, Keith, Bordertown and Naracoorte. 

It has about 20,000km2 of coverage in South Australia, and is the largest privately owned fixed wireless operator in the state.

“It’s been 100 percent year on year growth for the last five years,” said Josh. 

“Essentially every install that we were going to there was one or two neighbours that would see us there and sign up on the spot.”

Josh puts Beam’s growth down to one of the most basic facets of business: service. 

“We set about accelerating that word of mouth by providing good customer service,” he said.

“While we don’t offer 24 hours per day phone support to all customers, we do respond quickly during business hours and usually have people out the same day to resolve any faults.”

When phoning Beam, wait times average only 20 seconds, and it’s a local person who will answer the phone.

Maintaining the exceptional level of service that Beam has come to be known for remains a priority for Josh and Sam, even as the business expands into areas less familiar to their Barossa roots.

“I was a bit concerned that we wouldn’t be able to keep those core values as we’ve grown, but we’ve kept them at the forefront of our mind and been able to maintain them,” said Josh.

“There was a point in time where knew the street names, we knew the lay of the land, we knew what trees were potentially in the way and that sort of stuff just from local knowledge, but as we’ve grown we’ve implemented tools to identify obstacles that local knowledge was giving us beforehand.”

After experiencing a whirlwind five years, Josh still can’t say just how far Beam will go, although there are already preparations in place to expand into regions such as Whyalla and Port Augusta, with connectivity and equipment on standby ready to be deployed if needed.

“We’ve sort of built with future needs in mind,” he said.

“If there’s demand in a region or a core business need, we’re building in those areas.”

Not bad for a couple of tech guys.

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