K*Grind takes new direction, new money

After sustaining financial and staffing upheaval in recent weeks, the company announced today a memorandum of understanding with local broadband products and services company Quadtel. The agreement follows Monday's announcement that K*Grind had entered into a partnership with broadband company Newtel. K*Grind's director of sales and marketing, Gary Lewis, said a third partnership, with an undisclosed Singapore-based "major media company", would be announced later this week.

These agreements were part of a new company focus on channel partners and "infrastructure, integration and support", Lewis said. K*Grind will announce "many more" such arrangements in coming weeks, he added.

Earlier this month, K*Grind shut down its content management arm, a move which involved laying off 39 staff. Lewis said then that the company would no longer focus on youth broadband content offerings.

"We're (now) just trying to build the business," he said. "We had a lot of cleaning up to do."

Lewis said the termination of the content management division and the move towards trans-Asian broadband services accorded with directions supported by the company's financial saviours, Asian investors MetroLand and UPL, who took a 51 per cent controlling stake in the company in July. K*Grind had burnt through an initial $10 million investment from Macquarie Technology Funds Management, AMWIN and computer manufacturer Acer, among others, in under 10 months.

Lewis acknowledged that the "infamy" of the K*Grind brand name could linger in the minds of potential business partners and customers, but ultimately he expects the company's decision to keep its original name will have positive repercussions for its newly enhanced business ventures.

Lewis was appointed as sales director earlier this month. At the same time K*Grind was performing a hasty CEO transplant: founding CEO Jon Peters resigned amid reports of the company's financial strife and was replaced one week later with former chief operating officer David Keane.

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