The BizSpark startup of the day is crowdzone (mobiTeris), based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Murgesh Navar, CEO of mobiTeris. 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:
CEO. At a young startup this translates to Head cook and Chief dish washer. My role is to envision the product and service the market needs, work with my exceptionally talented and passionate team to bring it to fruition.
What did you do before creating your company?
Most recently, Founder & Chairman of VoloMedia, a downloadable media analytics and advertising company. Customers are major media companies such as NBC, ABC, Fox, etc. Previously I have worked on Interactive TV and 3D Graphics, developing the very leading edge products of the time by building stunningly talented teams.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
Building a great product and making the world aware of its existence is our main mission. Microsoft’s recognition of our tiny company is a great honor.
What is your company’s mission?
To come alive at every sporting event, connecting fans at the game with fans watching the game at home and in sports bars around the world, enabling the fans to seamlessly share their experiences of the event with text, pictures and video. To enable sports teams and leagues to instantly influence networks of fans with real-time offers of goods and services.
How large is your market opportunity?
We are addressing a $5 Billion new market opportunity enabled by new services to mobile consumers. This goes beyond our initial focus on the sports market, which is really our first anchor market. As you extend traditional mobile advertising along the path of direct marketing, merchandising, transactions and commerce, you realize making a direct impact on transactions with mobile creates a huge new market opportunity. Our products fall into two categories (i) Instant Influence™ real-time marketing solutions and ii) Mobile transactions, we call BuyFi™. With some modest market assumptions, we can see our business ramping to a $100 million annual revenue opportunity over the next several years.
Do you have any unique IP?
Yes. We have some very fundamental patent cover in the space of mobile transactions and social networks.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We started building the products in late 2009, with a small seed round. Now we are actively taking those products to market, with great amount of early success I might add. We expect to need about $500K to validate the market and make revenue generation a repeatable process as we expand our product and sales footprint. We have just started planning to finance this need. We have had good luck in the past with investors who understand young companies and can help with their domain expertise. We will be seeking a good investor match.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We have 7 employees, 5 in product and engineering.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
At the moment we are filling our expanding needs with outsourced contractors. So, not hiring.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We are excited about the upcoming Windows Phone 7 mobile platform and are working to establish a strong anchor presence. We are currently launched on the iPhone, and expanding to Android and Blackberry smart phones. On the backend, we have an Instant Influence Portal that runs in the cloud allowing teams and leagues to tap into their fans’ location and activity in real-time and make valuable offers.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
If there were five of me, I would be starting five different companies. As everyone can witness, we are in the midst of an explosion in personal, connected and mobile platforms – phones, tablets, etc. We are also approaching an era of realizing ubiquitous utility computing, also called the cloud. Marry the above two with access to a global talent pool and global markets, you have the perfect conditions for a tsunami of innovation and change. Major aspects of life - health, entertainment, transportation, energy are all in the process of fundamental transformation. I think Internet based software is going to play an integral role in all of these changes.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
I like how easy it was to get started. Every entrepreneur with an idea willing to take the risk should be given an opportunity. Programs like BizSpark help entrepreneurs in the early stages when there is not a lot to validate the idea. Every bit of encouragement helps.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
You mean older entrepreneurs are wiser and don’t need good advice? Seriously, everyone needs advice and guidance. Starting up a new business requires a lot of belief – have faith, but validate. As the name of an old western suggests, there are only two types of startups “the quick and the dead”. One should not be afraid to continuously morph until they find their market. More importantly, attract a team that is nimble and not afraid to change dearly held assumptions.
Who’s your role model?
People who can mobilize and catalyze change in society when change is needed. Behaviors don’t change easily, but sometimes progress depends on such change. I do not want to name any specific person because there are many people in history who have accomplished mass change and had mass impact. I am looking forward to a leader who can convince us to change our fossil fuel based energy habits.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
If you have the talent and passion for an idea, pursue it.