Company, Founder & App Information
BizSpark: Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
Brian Satorius: I’m Brian Satorius, the founder of Smart Shopping.
BizSpark: What did you do before creating your company?
Brian Satorius: I was working in cloud and mobile development at NASA. Prior to that, I worked in technology for different companies, including Bank of America and others.
BizSpark: What is your company’s mission?
Brian Satorius: As our name implies, Smart Shopping’s mission is to help people shop smarter by saving them time and money at the store.
BizSpark: In 140 characters or less, tell us what your app does:
Brian Satorius: Our app provides powerful shopping tools, recipes, local offers and meal planning for anyone who shops.
BizSpark: How did you get the idea for your app?
Brian Satorius: My wife asked me to build a shopping list app one weekend to help us better manage our grocery shopping. We both had ideas on how to save time during our trips to the store, and I set out to build something we both could use.
BizSpark: In 140 characters or less, tell us what your customers love most about your app:
Brian Satorius: People love the user experience. We integrate local offers from our partner, Grocery Server, to provide a powerful yet simple way to shop.
BizSpark: Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
Brian Satorius: We are still in bootstrap mode, but will be looking for seed funding of $150,000.
BizSpark: How many employees do you have?
Brian Satorius: 3 employees
BizSpark: How many of your employees are developers?
Brian Satorius: 2 developers
BizSpark: Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
Brian Satorius: We’re always on the lookout for developers. We’re located near Los Angeles, so the SoCal area is ideal.
BizSpark: Which platform are you building on? Why?
Brian Satorius: Right now we’re on Windows 8 and Windows Phone, because we love the platforms and the big growth opportunity each represents.
BizSpark: Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
Startup: I like the shopping space we’re in and see a lot of opportunity for growth, as well as a lot of competition, which is exciting. There is still a lot of progress to be made in the mobile space in general, though there are ever-growing expectations from consumers that has raised the bar for startups.
BizSpark: What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
Brian Satorius: BizSpark has been a boon for us in terms of access to world class technology and valuable resources for building our business.
BizSpark: What specific value are you getting from BizSpark beyond the technology?
Brian Satorius: The chance for exposure to a broader audience in the BizSpark network is of great value to us.
BizSpark: What advice do you have for young Software entrepreneurs?
Brian Satorius: When you find the right idea, pursue it relentlessly; perseverance can overcome almost any obstacle. And be prepared to learn quickly, as technology and developer tools are evolving right now at a breakneck pace.
BizSpark: Who’s your role model and why?
Brian Satorius: My father. He was able to accomplish great things with very little in life.
BizSpark: What has been your biggest “aha” moment since founding your company?
Brian Satorius: When we received praise from our first customers. We realized then we had gone beyond make shopping easier for my wife and me, and could make a real difference in peoples’ lives. That positive effect has been the biggest reward for all of our hard work.
BizSpark: Tell us about your Azure based solution.
Brian Satorius: We have been using Azure a couple years to power all of our back end services, which includes our shopping list syncing technology, user account management, and other services.
BizSpark: How is Azure implemented in your solution?
Brian Satorius: We built an Azure web role backed by a SQL Azure database for our initial architecture, and recently moved to an Azure Mobile Services solution where we will be migrating our legacy mobile services to. With Azure Mobile Services, we’re able to take advantage of its support for identity management and push notifications to provide a rich, cloud-enabled experience for our users.
BizSpark: How did you get excited about Azure?
Brian Satorius: Back in late 2009, I worked on an Azure solution while at NASA for the Mars Program’s “Be a Martian” project. That project was featured as one of the first high profile Azure implementations. The simplicity and power of Azure’s PaaS offerings and tight integration with the Microsoft technology stack has always been really exciting to me. Visual Studio is the best IDE out there, and Azure feels like a natural extension to it.
BizSpark: What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure?
Brian Satorius: With all the incredibly developer tools and native cloud support in Visual Studio, Azure just works. The local cloud debugging and world class diagnostic tools are really compelling for us. We really jumped in full force when Azure Mobile Services was announced, as it was a great fit for our shopping list syncing feature.
BizSpark: What advice do you have for companies that are thinking about building in the cloud?
Brian Satorius: Jump in, the benefits are too many not too.
BizSpark: What is the one thing that you would like readers to take away about your Azure app?
Brian Satorius: Azure has allowed us to build our solutions at a tiny fraction of the time it would have taken with other cloud services. Try Smart Shopping out and see for yourself how well it just works.