Hold on, this next featured startup is going to make you think about how you use social, mobile and your identity. Welcome to SOLOMO, a web services platform that makes brands context aware and helps shoppers get personal deals around a digital identity that they manage for their retail experiences. SOLOMO's solution bridges a gap between retailers who want to know how their spaces are being used, and how they can be better retailers, and customers, who want all the benefits of being able to shop with context, but who want to guard their privacy and individuality.
Read through the interview for a video of how this works, and how founder Liz Eversoll decided to go the Azure route in building up this solution.
BizSpark: Tell us who you are and your role in the company
Founder: I'm Liz Eversoll, SOLOMO’s CEO & Founder.
BizSpark: What is your company’s mission?
Liz: Mobilize Your Business. Mobilize Your Life. We want to be the Trusted, Personal, Permissioned Digital Life Management Platform.
BizSpark: Tell us about your Azure-based solution.
Liz: SOLOMO enables the exchange of identity for value creating trust for brands and consumers.
We provide a cloud platform enabling the exchange of personal identity and location information for value provided by a retailer or brand. Through a digital dashboard, the Brand/Retailer receives information about who their customers are and their location in their business or store. Leveraging this information increases sales potential with in-store information and engagement. Analytics are provided on traffic, visitors, repeat visitors, bounces and dwell time. Key benefits include improved conversions, optimized in-store marketing spend, improved associate/team member retention, and reduced showrooming.
SOLOMO’s digital identity platform empowers individuals by collecting data directly from them and providing tools for consumers to manage their personal information and allow them to grant/revoke access to brands. This reinforces brand trust and relevance in a world of eroding consumer privacy. The mutual benefit is personalized, permissioned offers and services. Our Life Management Platform will allow personalization of the internet and management of personal identity and location information, permissions and preferences.
BizSpark: How did you get excited about Azure?
Liz: Members of my leadership team and I are all long-time Microsoft partners or employees. Microsoft has widespread business adoption, and we are focused on business-to-business solutions, so it made sense to utilize this platform. It was also fast to get started and easy to use.
BizSpark: How is Azure implemented in your solution?
- Custom-developed applications are deployed to Azure. Client usage is scalable based on the business needs. It is a great infrastructure that allows SOLOMO customers to pay for what they use.
- SOLOMO products (SOLOMO ExchangeTM platform, single signon, indoor location based services, and CRM) run on the Azure platform. This PaaS provides a dynamic, scalable platform that is very cost effective and allows for easy growth as product demand increases.
- The Bizspark Azure environment supports all product development, custom development for each client and separate continuous integration environment for each. It provides the development foundation for SOLOMO’s entire business.
BizSpark: What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure?
Liz: The general features that apply to all three previously mentioned scenarios is a usage based model that minimizes infrastructure investment and provides support, security, scalability, redundancy, and on demand storage.
BizSpark: What specific value are you getting from BizSpark beyond the technology?
Liz: BizSpark has allowed us to reduce our startup expenses and obtain help from subject matter experts and mentors to which we would not otherwise have access. We also took advantage of some additional offers including usage of Azure and developer tools.
BizSpark: What has been your biggest “a ha” moment since founding your company?
Liz: Cloud, social, local and mobile are the rage. Everyone knows this is the direction and consumer adoption and usage is exploding. However, businesses are struggling to implement these technologies in a trusted manner – that isn’t “big brother” or “creepy.” Our goal is to enable the transparent and simple implementation of personal identity management and location-tracking for our business customers in a way that creates trust in our customers’ brand.
BizSpark: What advice do you have for companies that are thinking about building in the cloud?
Liz: This is the expectation in the industry today. It’s the lowest cost of entry to start your business in the cloud and it has the capacity to scale with your business as you grow.
BizSpark: What is the one thing that you would like readers to take away about your Azure app?
Liz: SOLOMO will give the consumer the ability to manage and permission their personal data and location information in exchange for direct value. Data aggregators, social networks and other businesses are buying and selling your digital information all of the time. SOLOMO Exchange gives data rights and ownership back to the individual enabling you to receive direct value for your information. We are changing the industry.