BizSpark Startup of the Day – Figitt

The BizSpark startup of the day is Figitt, based in Australia. Below you will find an interview with Howard Moodycliffe, Co-founder of Figitt. 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 co-founders of Figitt. My primary role is Sales and Marketing.

What did you do before creating your company?

My background is marketing across a range of industries in the UK and most recently here in Australia.

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

It’s great to receive the recognition and we have benefitted greatly from our participation in the BizSpark program. It’s also fantastic for team moral – the start-up world can be quite hard at times. We recently won the Microsoft sponsored Australian Information Industry Association National Start-Up 2010 Merit Award which has generated some significant publicity for us and opened a few doors already.

What is your company’s mission?

Figitt’s mission is simple, ‘to be the best mobile marketing company full-stop’, in terms of both product and customer service.

In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:

We enable companies to grow, interact & transact with their customers via unique, customizable and trackable mobile internet experiences.

How did you get the idea for your company?

There are 4 co-founders in the business. We each have a different background from a career perspective, but all share a common interest in mobile. We evaluated the market, looked at the phenomenal growth in the SMS space & the rapid growth in 3G services and Smartphone adoption and decided to start a company positioned to take advantage of the logical next step. SMS is great as it is ubiquitous, but very limiting is most other respects.

The Figitt platform uses SMS and mobile email to deliver unique, customizable and trackable mobile internet experiences such as interactive mobile vouchers, what we are calling ‘smart’ mobile tickets and interactive mobile alerts and notifications. The experience delivered by connecting consumers to the mobile internet is more engaging, more flexible, more useful and importantly more trackable than flat SMS. Our clients are finding some fantastic and innovative ways to drive their acquisition, loyalty and retention marketing programs using our platform. It is still early days, but from our experience to date we believe that we are on the right track.

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

Figitt was founded in April 2009. We were fortunate enough to win a significant foundation client, Virgin Mobile Australia, very early on in the game. This project gave us credibility in the market to secure a number of other deals, so to date we have funded the business ourselves and through organic growth. We are not actively conducting funding right now, but are open to talking to potential partners from both a business and funding perspective.

How many employees do you have? How many developers?

Figitt has 4 managing partners with backgrounds in Sales & Marketing, Financial Control, Systems Architecture and Product Design. We have 1 Infrastructure Engineer and 1 Developer and a Sales Lead.

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

At this point we are open to talking to experienced Product Managers and UI Designers.

Which platform are you building on? Why?

We are building on the Microsoft stack. It provides everything we need and we have a strong Microsoft pedigree within our team. Our entire system is hosted in ‘the cloud’ by GoGrid. We will be looking to the Azure platform in the near term.

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

We believe that creating rich, context and location-aware, interactive mobile experiences between brands and consumers is a huge opportunity. Businesses are finding it harder and harder to reach consumers with their marketing messages. The explosion in consumer touch-points and the rapid shift in media consumption habits have created a ‘consumer bubble’ which marketers are struggling to penetrate. If your message is not relevant and timely it will be discarded.

Consumers today are time-poor and their attention is increasingly fragmented. Mobile is fast emerging as an effective, targeted, measurable and increasingly accepted channel…and when you add the ability to leverage the hyper-connected social media environment, as Figitt does, you have a seriously compelling story to take to pretty much any consumer facing business you can think of. It’s an interesting time to be playing in this space that’s for sure.

What do you think about the BizSpark Program?

BizSpark has been great. As a start-up we did not have the funds to go out and buy a full set of Microsoft licenses…we would have struggled to get our business off the ground without the BizSpark support. Equally we have met and been exposed to a wide range of highly skilled and connected people through the program.

Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?

Yes – be clear on what problem your piece of software is going to solve, and how big that problem is, if you’re looking to make a living from your company. Have an end-point / exit strategy in place from early on…it helps with your focus. I would also say be prepared for the roller coaster ride…highs and lows are part of the journey.

Who’s your role model?

I’ve got a lot of respect for Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg – they stick to their guns and go after the big things.

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

Mobile is finally about to truly come into its own…watch this space.

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