BizSpark Startup of the Day - uMobilize Promotions

The BizSpark startup of the day is uMobilize Promotions, based in Ireland. Below you will find an interview with Philip Culbert, Co-founder of uMobilize Promotions. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!


Tell us who you are and your role in the company:

I am one of the Founders of uMobilize Promotions. My role within the company is Sales and Marketing Manager, although like most startups there is a major cross-over in roles.

What did you do before creating your company?

I was European IT Manager with “Continental Promotion International”, a Promotion Fulfillment company based in Tipperary, Ireland. It was a very interesting role, which involved designing a range of IT solutions to support marketing and loyalty initiatives for our customers, who included some major brand leaders such Canon, Nikon, APC and Corel.

How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?

Excited and motivated. We are very proud of what we have developed and having your business recognized by Bizspark is very encouraging.

What is your company’s mission?

Our goal is to provide easy-to-use online mobile marketing and text messaging solutions specifically tailored for small and medium sized businesses and agencies. We hope our products will encourage businesses that would not otherwise consider promoting themselves via the mobile channel to give it a go.

How did you get the idea for your company?

While working for a previous company I tried to source a mobile marketing platform that we could use to run a number of text message marketing campaigns. I felt that the services I found were either extremely difficult to use or over-priced. Also, all the services seemed to offer very basic text messaging services. There was nothing to differentiate them from each other. With the rise in the demand for mobile coupons worldwide my business partner and I felt that if we could provide an easy-to-use, cost-effective service that not only allowed customers run standard text message marketing campaigns but also let them easily create branded, graphical coupons and mobile content, we would have a service that would appeal to small business owners worldwide. That is when we began designing our Web-based Mobile Marketing Platform ( Version 1.0 was released at the start of 2010, with the latest version being released at the Start of November 2010.

Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?

We are currently self-funded. However, we are looking for an investment of approximately €100,000, to fund further development, infrastructure and marketing.

How many employees do you have? How many developers?

There are currently 2 employees, myself and my co-founder. We are both developers.

Are you hiring?If yes, what are you hiring for and where?

Not at the minute, although we do hope to hire a full-time sales person in Q1 2011.

Which platform are you building on?Why?

We developed uConnect using a combination of .NET, SQL Server 2008, MS AJAX, JQuery, Win2K8, and IIS7. We have both always developed using the Microsoft tool set and were confident that there would be plenty of support available from Microsoft and the developer community if we needed it.

Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?

For us the mobile web will just continue to grow and grow. And a recent study conducted by mobileSquared found that mobile coupons and SMS will become the most widely accepted forms of mobile marketing and advertising by 2015, which is a positive sign for services like ours.

What do you think about the BizSpark Program?

The Bizspark program has been of great benefit to us. Our company is self-funded, so to have free access to all the development tools we needed was a superb start. In addition to the free software, just being able to see what other software entrepreneurs around the world are doing and the energy that is out there in the development community is great.

Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?

Don’t forget to do your market research and talk to as many potential customers as possible. As developers it is too easy to get caught up promoting the features of our products, while forgetting to promote the benefits of our products. It’s not about what your product can do, it’s about what your product can do for your customers.

Who’s your role model?

I don’t have any one role model. In business and in life I do admire those people who got knocked down but got back up and kept on fighting.

What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?

That if you have the right idea and are willing to put in the work, you can create a good product and successful business.