Dear Readers,

Join our event on 28.08 at London’s hottest startup venue – Google Campus, to bang the drum for all location-based startups and support them in their exciting and challenging journey. During the event some amazing startup founders and co-founders will share their secrets of success and failure with us. In preparation for this we decided to have an small insight into their businesses and took interviews with directors from Loyakk and Sorted. Read it bellow and find out why their startups are so hot and what’s their future roadmap.

James Pursey – CMO Sorted

Tell a little bit about your background and why you founded Sorted

Sure, so I’m a fairly recent graduate having completed my BEng in Electronic Engineering at Southampton 2 years ago. But I never really focused much of my time on my degree, instead choosing to spend it all trying to make money through starting localized student businesses (listing site, discount card and a cheap international calls service). One thing was very apparent to me, I wanted to run a tech company at some stage.

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great well-balanced team, when I became involved in fleshing out a business concept for a friend. We all noticed quite quickly that the team of myself, Anthony & Jade was perfectly balanced and that we wanted to create something together – the initial concept wasn’t viable so we set about coming up with something that was.

After a lot of meetings, and having thought we had cracked it a couple of times, Jade asked the question “How could I make 500 pounds by the end of this week”. What was very obvious was that people could do with a way to make money from their time, not from being an expert in a specific field, or requiring multiple references. So Sorted was born.

What is Sorted all about? What is your vision?

Sorted is a mobile marketplace application where users can get anything they want, from people local to them.

A user simply states what they want, how much they’re willing to pay, and where they are! Users can also earn money from their time – just by doing odd jobs nearby!

We see the app being used over 3 core areas, here’s some examples:

Products: Furniture, Games Consoles, The Kitchen Sink

Services: Cleaning, Dog Walking, Tutoring

Experiences: Concert Tickets, Activity Days, Sporting Events

So that’s what it enables a user to do, I mention core categories but at the end of the day, we are providing a platform, I think we will all be very surprised by what people use it for.

The vision for Sorted is quite a complex thing to really pin down. Due to the diversity of the product it doesn’t take a genius to realize that it will have massive benefits to the unemployed population, and thus a handy knock on effect to the economy (which could do with some help at the minute). I guess what we really want to do, is revolutionize how people buy and well on a day-to-day basis, making peoples lives easier and more efficient.

How do you monetise? What is the business model?

Every single way the app could make money isn’t set in stone yet, we are following the lean startup approach so I am sure the revenue streams could completely change with future iterations.

We are currently building in an e-commerce layer (we skim X %), where users will transact via the app as opposed to simply using cash. This achieves a number of things for the user, mainly instilling trust, but also allowing remote transactions to occur.

Tell me about your team

Okay, so our core team consists of 3 people, all co-founders. I am the CMO, so am responsible for all strategy and implementation regarding marketing.

Next up we have Anthony, he’s our COO, so he handles all the operations for Sorted, as well as customer engagement, product design and product development. Like me Anthony was involved heavily within the student enterprise scene, he started a tech company when he was at University called Weavar, which did pretty well!

Finally we have Jade, he’s our CEO so keeps control of the ever evolving beast that is Sorted, as well as keeping a handle on progress and ensuring we are always moving in the right direction. Jade has a lot of business experience, spanning more than a decade in a number of different industries.

What stage are you at with the business and what comes next?

We also have our Android app currently available, you can check it out at http://tinyurl.com/SortedOnAndroid It’s a very early stage version of where we see the product being, so will change dramatically over the coming months.

We are about to push our iOS application to Apple for approval, which takes a couple of weeks. During this time we are private beta testing the iOS platform. When the main version goes live we will be marketing it to people in London.

What is the main challenge you face?

We have been pretty fortunate with the amount of support we have received since floating the idea of Sorted out to our networks. So we have been lucky in not facing too many hiccups thus far (touch wood).

I guess what with being a marketplace, that our biggest issue will be marketing, so getting people on the platform to both post stuff, but also fulfill stuff. We have a few tricks up our sleeves for making this happen without blowing millions of pounds, so watch this space.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

Enterprising or personal? Lets do both!

Enterprising – When at university, I developed and ran a university wide enterprise competition called The Southampton Apprentice, it was my take on the BBC TV Show, anyway it went down really well, had over 5000 views and this coming academic year they are doing it again, the 3rd year in a row!

Personal – I broke my foot 6 times in 10 months, leaving me 1 break shy of the most frequently broken foot in the UK, or so the doctor told me!

Thanks Dreamstake, it was a pleasure!

Sadiq Quasim – Director Loyakk

Sadiq’s innovative efforts to bring technology to ‘people’ requirements have been applied in initiatives across major central government organizations like the Cabinet Office and The DWP, as well as blue chip companies EDS, CSC and Bupa. In his role as Director of Marketing, Sadiq has been challenged to look at the world through the lens of temporal networks, strangers and relevant – but fleeting – connections.

LoYakk was founded by a bunch of close friends in different continents mulling over an idea regarding the need forcasual conversation with peopleat the same placeorshared experience.

We were playing social anthropologists trying understanding how our real-life social behaviour mapped to our online social behaviour and we came away with an interesting finding: our real-life interactions with people around (who are not our “friends” or known to us) were way more prolific and frequent than with our friends. These interactions were driven by 2 attributes:

– the location where we were

– the context around the location i.e. shared experience

This could be at a game, music festival, college, town, conference, store etc.

The idea was born to enable – and more importantly – scale this need for casual conversation with people at the same place or shared experience i.e. if you are at a game then don’t just chat up with the fan next to you, converse with the fan 1000 meters away across the stadium or if you are at an airport, don’t limit your “going to Barcelona?” query to the person right next to you in Terminal 1 but say it someone sitting in Terminal 3.

What is LoYakk is all about and what is your vision?

LoYakk essentially wants to enable Conversations for Places – anywhere in the world. (in order to group related conversations, we have introduced the notion of Channels which average around 5 per venue and are customized based on the type of place/venue)

Think of LoYakk as providing a virtualPostitfor any placefor folks to ask,answer,rant,rave or help others out.

Our needs vary based on where we are and the experience we are indulging in at that moment, at that location. The people around us at the place/venue are best suited to help us with this local need of ours. For example – we may want very specific and contextual information in real-time, make connections with people around us much more seamlessly, ask for help in the context of a need that we may have. LoYakk wants to enable this local engagement & conversation in a frictionless manner without the constraints of prior relationships or friendships.

The big vision is simple: Don’t search. Ask a local.

How do you monetise and what is your business model?

This is a critical component of our secret sauce. In a nutshell, LoYakk wants to enable enterprises (companies and brands) to deliver micro-local services like never before. We can host conversations for places or venues that a brand would care about e.g. conference / festival / stores etc. Our business model is based on enabling conversations for enterprise-relevant “places” on a flat + subscription fee basis. The service is free for the average end user / consumer and monetization is via the offering (platform + services) delivered to enterprises.

Tell us about your team?

Salim Ali (CEO and Co-founder, LoYakk). Salim was Global Vice President, Marketing at SAP (one of the largest software companies in the world) when he left to co-found and lead LoYakk. Salim has 16 years of experience working for blue-chip companies such as SAP, Symantec, McKenna Group and start-ups such as DoDots and FusionOne. During his tenure at SAP, Salim built and ran SAP’s Community Marketing organization, created SAP’s Social Expert Finder offering, and orchestrated social media marketing efforts across the globe leading led organisations spread across US, Europe and India. Salim has an MBA from The Kellogg School at Northwestern and a Masters in Computer Science from Louisiana State University.

Jitu Telang, Co-founder and CTO. Jitu has an M.S in Computer Science and has built products that handle multi-million dollar trading volumes in a day. Jitu’s experience includes IBM and Trilogy where he has built a wide variety of enterprise applications.

Sadiq Quasim – Director of Marketing & Operations (Europe). Sadiq’s innovative efforts to bridge technology to ‘people’ requirements have been applied in initiatives across major central government organizations like the Cabinet Office and The DWP, as well as blue chip companies EDS, CSC and Bupa. In his role as Director of Marketing, Sadiq has been challenged to look at the world through the lens of temporal networks, strangers and relevant – but fleeting – connections

Harry Brady, VP, Partnerships. Harry was the Founder, Global Logic Solutions and Co-founder of E-Systems. Harry has significant Sales and Business Development leadership experience at Derlan (currently GE) and Precision Products.

Scott Wilder, VP, Marketing (US). Scott is very accomplished marketer with his most recent stint as Chief Marketing Officer at Human1. Scott was Senior Vice President, Silicon Valley Technology Business at Edelman Digital, GM, eCommerce, Online Community and Social Media @ Intuit, Inc. 2002-2009 and VP of Marketing at eToys and KBtoys.

What stage are you at with the business and what comes next?

On the Product front, we have built the platform and product on iPhone + Android + Blackberry + desktop. The platform has been architected to be super scalable, our mobile apps have been designed to cutting edge and our “venue” database has close to 400,000 places across US (high schools, colleges, towns, airports), UK (towns, stadiums and conference centres in London), India (towns, colleges) and all major airports and capital cities across the globe. We will continue to expand our offerings for the Enterprise market.

On the Launch and Go-to-Market front, we have just launched in 3 key markets: London, Silicon Valley and Mumbai. We already have thousands of conversations happening across all corners of the world. Our expanded launch plans are in place for Boston, New York College, Mumbai and London.

On the Sales front, we already have a paying customer and have a pipeline that includes major brands. It is important to note that revenue is NOT our strategic focus in Year 1 and we are using our Sales efforts to ensure market coverage leveraging the marketing muscle of major brands.

Accolades: We have already won 2 awards in London – GoldMedalWinner in the Race for Apps contest organized by the Hackney City Council and Digital Shoreditch + MostUseableApp by UTest, including a £5000 cash prize.

LoYakk was also invited for tea to No.10Downing Street as part of winning the Race for Apps competition.

Overall,our next major objective is to scaleour outbound marketingefforts.

What is the main challenge you face?

The main challenge is to ensure that we continue to innovate better than the market and execute better than anyone else. The social market is still very much evolving and we want to ensure that we have the pulse of the evolution and emerging consumer needs.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I enjoy outdoor activities, being an Aussie…and once the aeroplane I used for my first 12,000 ft solo sky dive crashed a week later due to a technical fault.

You can also find an interview with Streetpin bellow in one of our previous blogs. 

“Location, Location, Location – Mapping your Route to Success” event is kindly being sponsored by Ordnance Survey and Qube and we can look forward to enjoying some beers and pizza.

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