The BizSpark startup of the day is nioovo.com, based in Poland. Below you will find an interview with Grzegorz Skowron-Moszkowicz, Founder & CEO of nioovo.com. 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:
Founder & CEO – business concept and strategy.
What did you do before creating your company?
I used to work for large multinational companies from FMCG sector for over 8 years mainly in marketing and then for 3 years I was heading a local advertising agency. A year ago I started Transparencia.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
Well, this is absolutely amazing, especially that we are the first company from Poland, even more one of the very first few Central and Eastern Europe to join this exclusive club. We truly believe this is another important milestone achieved.
What is your company’s mission?
To make your business/friends/family contacts collected and updated easily and available to you wherever, whenever by whatever tool - computer or mobile phone.
In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:
We offer e-business card system. We simplify getting and updating contact details into your email application or to your mobile phone.
How did you get the idea for your company?
I have almost 1,000 entries in my address book (both computer and mobile phone). Any attempt to keep all those contacts updated is a mission impossible. Our friends, business partners and family members change their email addresses, mobile phone numbers and other contact details every so often. For me it was like a nightmare. The question kept coming – “How to make this painful issue solved?” With nioovo getting/updating contact details is as simple as 3 clicks – click the download/update link, click open in the browser and click save to your contact list. Nioovo.com saves time, effort, money.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We are completely self-funded, however it is worth to mention that the nioovo.com project received 250 000 USD financial support from European Union funds. We are also partnering with Orange in Poland who supports us financially and helps with marketing. Yes, we are looking for funding - we would need to raise some USD 5-7 millions in order to reach global market.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
Just the three of us…, one developer.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
Yes we are! We are looking for a skilled programmer in Warsaw, Poland.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We had made our choice very precisely and selected Windows Azure as our home base. For a startup like us with ambitions to become global standard for electronic business cards we had to choose a solution that delivers: global speed, highest possible level of reliability, scalability and will not ruin us from the financial point of view. We choose Azure as the only truly global cloud solution.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
I think that the search engines currently available are way underdeveloped. Getting zillions of links does not solve the problem as we have to search among the results ourselves. I personally believe that search engines must evolve from quantity base to quality base supported with visual representation of results. The other area is the image recognition and analysis – tagging is fine but again we can do much better than tagging.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
For nioovo BizSpark is like wind to a sailboat. We had to test nioovo on various versions of Windows, Office, Internet Explorer. Purchasing all this software would cost a fortune and is impossible. On top you receive Visual Studio and Microsoft Expression and best of all – 18 months free Windows Azure. How can one ask more… but hey, you also get marketing and visibility support. I personally estimate that the value of BizSpark for nioovo is about 75 000 – 100 000 USD over the period of the 3 years participation.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Once you have the idea, work on it, really work on it. Write a detailed description, discuss with friends, check with non-IT people – this will help. We developers are so close to the projects that we can miss a lot of opportunities others will see.
Who’s your role model?
I truly admire Steve Ballmer – for so many years he was number two in Microsoft and kept his performance. Now on top he sets the development directions not only for Microsoft but for the whole IT world. I love his speeches and find them very inspiring – hopefully I will have the chance to see his show at WPC 2011.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
As a celebration of being BizSpark Startup of the Day we are giving away 100,000 free nioovoBusinessPremium accounts (the most advanced type of e-business card). Free passes are delivered on first come – first served basis, so be sure to come quickly to nioovo.com, select nioovoBusinessPremium and use the promo code (bizs-park-0000). Once you will activate your account it will remain free for ever! And one more thing: believe in your dreams – they will come true. There will be days of despair but soon after the days of glory will come.