Today’s featured Startup of the Day is Dubmenow, a Washington DC mobile startup. The company developed a product called Dub, a mobile contact exchange application that allows anyone with a smart phone to instantly text or email all their contact information to another smart phone. This application works on Windows Mobile, Iphone and Blackberry platforms.
Interview with Manoj Rammani, founder of Dubmenow
Who are you?
Manoj Ramnani, Founder and CEO of DubMeNow, Inc. Dub is a mobile contact exchange application that allows anyone with a smart phone to instantly text or email all their contact information to another smart phone. The contact data loads directly to the users mobile address book and updates automatically whenever a contact changes their information. Dub eliminates the need to swap, save, enter or update any more business card data. Additionally, you can invite contacts to connect via social networking sites such as LinkedIn, 'tag' or note information about the contact and see when and where you met.
How do you feel being the most promising “Company of the Day” per Microsoft?
We’re honored to be recognized by Microsoft and to be working with them and the Windows Mobile team on Dub.
What did you do before creating your company?
Prior to DubMeNow, I founded Astegic Inc, an information technology firm specializing in providing commercial and government solutions. Astegic is based outside Washington, DC and has offices around the world.
How did you get the idea?
I think everyone can relate to the pain business cards create; from collecting, to saving, entering, updating, having enough, remembering them and printing and wasting paper. I was on a cross country flight when I reached my breaking point. I was attempting to enter a stack of cards into my laptop’s address book. My battery died and I decided to use the downtime to come up with a solution. I asked the flight attendant for a napkin and literally wrote the plan on the back. The napkin is framed in my office and on our website.
What do you sell? What is your company's mission?
Dub is a free service. Our primary goal is to develop better ways to communicate, network, and exchange contact information from your mobile phone.
What is your market?
Mobile phone users. Dub is best equipped for smart phones, but also works with any text based mobile phone.
Any clients, references, partners you want to quote ?
Yes we are partnered with Microsoft, LinkedIn, SalesForce.com, and RIM.
Funding history? VCs? BA?
We’re funded by strategic angels with vast mobile experience.
Dub is a very viral application. Anyone who accepts your Dub invite can easily join and start Dubbing. We’re also working with RIM, LinkedIn, Google, Salesforce.com and others on distribution. We’ll look to launch internationally in 2009.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
12 (including contractors) How many developers? 10 technical developers
Are you hiring? If yes, what? Where?
Yes we are hiring Java folks for Blackberry, Android, objectiveC iPhone, and .NET for backend, Web, and WinMobile
Which platform are you building on? Why?
Backend is .NET 3.5 with WCF using REST/JSON, Web (moving to ASP.NET MVC), MSMQ and SQL2008. We chose these technologies because we had engineers with these skills and the ability to move quickly. Mobile is OS specific and chose Blackberry, Android, iPhone, and WinMobile given their market penetration and potential marketing opportunity for Dub.
Do you have any IP? Is there something that you’re the only one to do on the market?
Yes, we are the only company in the market that has a mobile-based business card exchange system that runs on both web and mobile devices using a secure REST/JSON communications architecture and ties into CRM systems and online Social Networks.
Who’s your role model?
Dhirubhai Ambani, he built his empire from scratch and proved that nothing is impossible if you work hard and stay focused to achieve your goals.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet areas?
Obviously, we think the biggest opportunities are in the mobile space. Consumers are already starting to spend more time on mobile phones than any other device and better products are being introduced regularly. We think this trend will continue and applications like Dub will help expand mobile use.
Looking for funding? If yes, how much?
Currently we have enough money from our angel investors but we will be looking for investment of $5 million after Q1, 2009
What about the BizSpark Program? What do you think? Are you going to join? Why?
I think it’s a great program as it gives a big head start to small and start up companies like Dub. We feel honored to be part of the invitation and are definitely going to join.
Any advice to young software entrepreneurs?
Start small, but think big. The point isn't to build a big company; it's to build a great company/product. I think you're seeing a lot of layoffs now from start-ups who lost sight of that and grew for growths sake.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Think big, think fast, ideas are nobody’s monopoly.