How cool would it be if you could push one button and find yourself online, wherever you are written about, or wherever you have left a trail? A Microsoft BizSpark company has been working on that. From the interview with James Alexander, CEO of Vizibility, and his interview today:
Vizibility got its start when we recognized the problem people have with finding themselves online – especially if they have common names. We wanted to develop a “Google Me” button that would return relevant links rather than the dozens of irrelevant results that can clog up the first pages of Google, so we experimented with different search strategies and formulated a query that would allow users to obtain the links they want to showcase, and then made that a link to share with contacts. Vizibility provides people with this tool and more for a comprehensive online identity management solution.
BizSpark: Tell us who you are and your role in the company
JA: I’m the founder and CEO of Vizibility, the world's first online identity management platform for individuals and professional services firms. Vizibility gives customers the power to curate, organize and share individual online identities via SearchMeTM buttons, links and QR codes.
BizSpark: What did you do before creating your company?
JA: I’ve led three startup companies, and I was at Adobe for seven years. At Adobe, I managed the eBook business and started up Adobe Stock Photos as early stage ventures.
BizSparK: How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
JA: It’s a huge honor, particularly because Vizibility is in such great company. This validates the uniqueness and utility of the services Vizibility offers.
BizSpark: What is your company’s mission? *
JA: To put a Vizibility SearchMe Button on 20 million professional profiles and one million business websites within five years. The Vizibility team is motivated to help people manage their online identities, and the tools Vizibility provides help customers accomplish that important goal.
BizSpark: How did you get the idea for your company?
JA: Vizibility got its start when we recognized the problem people have with finding themselves online – especially if they have common names. We wanted to develop a “Google Me” button that would return relevant links rather than the dozens of irrelevant results that can clog up the first pages of Google, so we experimented with different search strategies and formulated a query that would allow users to obtain the links they want to showcase, and then made that a link to share with contacts. Vizibility provides people with this tool and more for a comprehensive online identity management solution.
BizSpark: Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
JA: Vizibility closed its most recent round of funding last August and was oversubscribed. We were able to generate investor excitement because of how valuable and unique our service is. We’re not looking for additional funding at the moment. We’re focused on growing market share.
BizSpark: How many employees do you have? How many developers?
JA: We have 4 full time and 1 part-time employee on staff, plus three developers.
BizSpark: Which platform are you building on?
JA: Our website is built on .NET.
BizSpark: Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
JA: Novel ways to exchange information wirelessly present growth opportunities. One reason QR codes have become such a hot marketing and personal branding trend is that tens of millions of people already carry the tool needed to use them – smartphones – everywhere they go. In addition to QR codes, Vizibility also provides Near Field Communication (NFC) cards, which work like a QR code on a business card, except no scanning is required. Users can simply touch an NFC-enabled smartphone to an NFC business card from Vizibility to instantly access a rich, mobile-optimized microsite that showcases individual information.
BizSpark: What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
JA: It’s a great opportunity for startups. Entrepreneurs can certainly use the exposure, and having Microsoft highlight a venture is a wonderful marketing advantage and an excellent way to get the word out about new services and tools. The access to Microsoft development resources is a major plus for Vizibility.
BizSpark: Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
JA: Look for a real problem and then solve it. That’s what made Vizibility a success – people needed a way to control their online identities, and Vizibility gives them the tools they need to do it.
BizSpark: Who’s your role model?
JA: Bill Gates is a great role model because Microsoft makes products that solve real-world problems. We take Microsoft business productivity products for granted because they’re so fundamental to our everyday operations.
BizSpark: What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview? *
JA: Managing online identities is incredibly important, for job seekers and everyone else. More than 85% of recruiters conduct online searches of candidate names before hiring, and people Google friends, casual acquaintances and even prospective dates every day. It’s more important than ever to have a positive online presence because it can profoundly affect people’s prospects. Vizibility can help make it happen; we give users the power to make a killer first impression.