I sat down and spoke with Tyler Griffin, Co-Founder and CEO of Mobilligy, an app that makes it super easy to pay bills while avoiding fees and controlling expenses. As more and more people use mobiles to do their computing away from the desk, or away fro home, this is the perfect sweet spot for a world that is moving and adapting to mobile payments.
Tyler got started working on startups early, and found that he liked it so much that he quit his job in investment banking to pursue building a startup. He's spent three months at the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure building Mobilligy, and he's getting ready to show it off during an internal demo day in Seattle in January. We plan on being there, and we will get some video of the showcase. For now, we wanted to interview Tyler about why he decided to build Mobilligy and to find out why he is hosting it on Azure.
BizSpark: Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
Tyler Griffin: Tyler Griffin, co-founder & CEO. My primary focus relates to the financial aspects of the business, market development, and business development.
BizSpark: What did you do before creating your company?
Tyler Griffin: I worked in JPMorgan’s and Citigroup’s investment banks, after which I spent some time in private equity.
BizSpark: What is your company’s mission?
Tyler Griffin: We want to make bill payment an easy, pleasant process for consumers. Today, it’s a timesink and a source of stress for most people; we believe that we can change that and help people get control of their finances each month.
Here Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer mentions Mobilligy during his talk with LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman on November 14
BizSpark: In 140 characters or less, tell us what your app does:
Tyler Griffin: Mobilligy makes it simple to pay your bills anytime anywhere, helping you time payments accurately, avoid fees, and control expenses.
BizSpark: How did you get the idea for your app?
Tyler Griffin: Steve, my then-future-co-founder, was telling me how much of an inconvenience dealing with his bills was, and I realized that I agreed!
BizSpark: In 140 characters or less, tell us what your customers love most about your app:
Tyler Griffin: Our customers love that we make paying their monthly bills quick and easy and that we protect them against late fees and overdraft fees.
BizSpark: Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
Tyler Griffin: We raised a seed round in September and are currently exploring a Q1 2013 capital raise.
BizSpark: How many employees do you have?
Tyler Griffin: Four
BizSpark: How many of your employees are developers?
Tyler Griffin: We’re lucky to have three outstanding developers on the team, including Steve (co-founder/CTO).
BizSpark: Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
Tyler Griffin: Not currently, but likely in Q1 or Q2 of 2013.
BizSpark: Which platform are you building on? Why?
Tyler Griffin: Currently, we’re building on Windows Phone and iOS. We think that the mobile form factor is uniquely appropriate to bill payment, since convenience and speed are critical. We’re also extremely excited about the new Windows 8 interface style, and we’re making extensive use of our app’s live tile.
BizSpark: Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
Tyler Griffin: We see a massive potential to disrupt monthly payments. Point-of-sale is increasingly moving to smartphone-enabled transactions, but most users are still stuck with using old websites and even paper checks for monthly payment. We can’t wait to see how that changes over the next few years, and we’re looking to be at the forefront of that change.
BizSpark: What do you think about the BizSpark
Tyler Griffin: It’s been tremendously valuable to us, not just for the free software (which is great), but because of the value Microsoft brings to the table as a partner.
BizSpark: What specific value are you getting from BizSpark beyond the technology?
Tyler Griffin: Primarily the mentorship provided through BizSpark (and the Azure Accelerator) as well as the overall BizSpark community.
BizSpark: What advice do you have for young Software entrepreneurs?
Tyler Griffin: Quitting your job isn’t as scary as it seems, honest!
BizSpark: Who’s your role model and why?
Tyler Griffin: Our users! They give us great feedback and have been our most reliable guiding light for what we’re doing and how we can do it better.
BizSpark: What has been your biggest “aha” moment since founding your company?
Tyler Griffin: Both Steve and I were originally aiming to tackle the bill payment problem with convenience in mind. Once we got our app in front of users, we realized that the financial balancing act they must perform every month (timing of paychecks vs. bill due dates) is the real problem for them.
BizSpark: How is Azure implemented in your solution?
Tyler Griffin: We use a number of Azure components. Our service is hosted on Compute instances, and we make use of Table, Blob, and Queue services for various aspects of our data ingestion pipeline.
BizSpark: How did you get excited about Azure?
Tyler Griffin: Steve had built a number of consumer-scale experiences using .NET, and he’s got a great network of contacts with similar experience, so building on Azure was an easy decision. The help that BizSpark provided us made the decision a no-brainer.
BizSpark: What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure?
Tyler Griffin: Several things come to mind. First, the ability to easily scale-out as we grow. Second, the great tool chain that Visual Studio, .NET, and Azure provide makes us highly productive.
BizSpark: What advice do you have for companies that are thinking about building in the cloud?
Tyler Griffin: It’s absolutely the place to be. The level of security and reliability available in the cloud is almost impossible to build from the ground-up with any reasonable level of resources.
BizSpark: What is the one thing that you would like readers to take away about your Azure app?
Tyler Griffin: It’s extremely reliable, robust, and secure.