Usain Bolt: sports businessman- Gary Matalon, CEO, KLE Group

By iSportconnect | July 26, 2012

What is your business?

The KLE Group was formed just over 3 and half years ago. The six founding partners all shared a vision to redefine the entertainment offerings in Jamaica and beyond. We set out to create what we call lifestyle brands designed to elevate the consumer experience on the local scene to rival what would be considered the top offerings existing in leading markets worldwide. On the international scene, we aim to utilise the best elements of brand Jamaica, the music, food, athletes and overall vibe, to market our authentic Jamaican lifestyle experiences globally.

How did it start?

KLE’s first venture was Fiction Lounge. This was the brainchild of two of the founding partners, Kevin Bourke and Stephen Shirley. Their idea was to create a premium lounge and club product to service the increasingly sophisticated Jamaican consumer and visitors to Kingston. They assembled the team of investor/partners and began developing the concept in more detail. This was an extremely bold thought at the time given that the global economy was in full recession mode. The feeling was that if executed correctly, there was a clear market to support the concept that was completely neglected at the time.

How did the concept originate?

The concept originated from the founders’ appetite for a better entertainment and lifestyle experience than what was available in Jamaica. In addition the feeling that brand Jamaica and its’ extensions have tremendous equity internationally and were extremely under exploited. On the heals of Fiction Lounge we developed the Tracks and Records concept. The idea here is to package the best of brand Jamaica in a facility and prepare it for export. Our strategy is to utilise Jamaica’s best-known athletes and musicians to help market the attraction and penetrate the lucrative developed markets around the world. Naturally we started at the top of the food chain and approached Usain Bolt to brand the first set of Tracks and Records units. Usain has an equity stake in the business and became from the onset an integral part of the brands’ development. We opened the first location in Kingston, Jamaica in April 2011.

What’s your vision?

At KLE our vision is to be the premier lifestyle and entertainment company in the world. Through our concepts and association with some of the most prominent brands globally, we will fulfill consumer desires for world-class entertainment and lifestyle products.

How do you see the business developing?

The KLE Group is executing an aggressive growth strategy at the moment. Within the next 12 months we intend to expand the Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records concept on to the North Coast of Jamaica to one of the high traffic tourist destinations that exists on that side. In addition, we are moving to finalise the franchise documentation and plans to be able to aggressively market the concept to operators interested in taking advantage of the powerful brands we represent. We are also expanding our nightclub concept into two other major cities in Jamaica.

KLE has also forged a relationship with local giant in the gaming industry that will see KLE collaborating with them on the development of a state of the art gaming lounge, providing some of the most modern slots, roulette and other gaming machines in Kingston Jamaica. It is anticipated that this lounge will be open in the last quarter of 2012. We have also developed a partnership with another giant in Jamaica on a real estate project. We have acquired an 8.5 acre beach-front property on the North Coast of Jamaica which will be converted into 45 luxury villas with an integrated lifestyle offering. In order to fund the growth, KLE intends to raise the necessary capital through equity financing by way of listing the company on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.