Among the many events occurring at ITEXPO East 2010
in Miami this week is the StartupCamp Telephony
session taking place on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. The event is designed to give smaller, startup companies exposure to venture capitalists and also to provide information about their new, cutting edge technologies.
Among the promising companies participating in the event is San Francisco-based pebb.ly
, which will be officially unveiling its first enterprise product for the pebb.ly platform: pebb.ly Campaign. It’s a “cloud marketing platform” that sends outgoing messages, understands replies and responds in real time. The company claims it will allow everyone to quickly build and send marketing campaigns that scale and have unique customer responses.
To learn more about pebb.ly, which is a little over a month old, TMCnet recently interviewed company co-founder Jason Corwin. Our complete exchange follows:
TMCnet: What are your general thoughts on Startup Camp and what do you hope to achieve?
Jason Corwin: Startup Camp, organized by Larry and Phil and sponsored by Twilio, should be a very exciting event. We were pleased to be offered the opportunity to present and launch pebb.ly campaign at this event’s inaugural year. The panel of individuals that has been selected for the event should provide the four presenting companies with valuable information and insight into pursuing their respective goals and running a telephony related startup. We hope to achieve a successful initial launch at the event, while receiving valuable feedback from our peers in the telephony community. Startup Camp will be the start of our journey to becoming a well recognized and viable cloud marketing platform.
TMCnet: How do you think your company can be a game-changer in the industry?
JC: The initial concept of pebb.ly, which was developed in early December 2009, was to generate specific meaning out of various text inputs. This idea, combined with the unique capability of SMS and voice platforms we use, allows us to create an interactive real time marketing channel. The strategic connection between pebb.ly and its providers allows us to bring services that were once costly and difficult to scale to a larger audience, meeting requirements of customers in both scalability and pricing.
At such an early stage (just over one month), pebb.ly has already achieved significant traction in the marketing arena and has garnered interest from potential customers in healthcare, entertainment, and consumer products.
TMCnet: What is pebb.ly and how would you differentiate your company from your competitors?
JC: Pebb.ly’s intentionally vague one line description of a ‘cloud marketing platform’ puts us in a market with several other solutions available on the Web, MailChimp, ConstantContact, VerticalResponse and iContact just to name a few, all competing to bring marketers closer to their end users. Pebb.ly’s plan is to bring unique solutions to the marketplace that will include a standard toolset that people familiar with these existing technologies already use, while including new features that are yet unseen in the cloud marketing arena.
Our break into this market is made possible by combining the core features of pebb.ly with existing platforms to implement a simple and easy to use cloud marketing solution. We look forward to demoing a new and unique product at Startup Camp Telephony that demonstrates some of these capabilities, and following up in the coming weeks with rollouts of several additional tools to both surprise and excite the industry and companies looking to better reach their end users.
TMCnet: What are some unique challenges or opportunities you face as a ‘start up’ during uncertain economic times?
JC: The pebb.ly team came to be after a Startup Weekend Conference, hosted at Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, California. The three co-founders (Brett Hardin, Jeff Jenkins, and Jason Corwin) worked on a 54-hour startup during the weekend, going from whiteboard drawings, to released product by the end of the weekend. This model, which forces you to utilize your on-hand resources as best as possible (or bootstrapping), continued through to pebb.ly, eventually leading to our pitch as a ‘lean startup.’
One of the major difficulties in operating a startup in such an environment is the risk versus reward balance that you must assess as a part of your plan. We have all seen companies come and go during the first web bubble; this era of companies operated on a model where time to market was generally longer, forcing more capital to be invested in the startups, and the eventual burst of the bubble.
Next, we approached the second bubble, in which companies learned from the mistakes of the first dot com boom, and investors seemed even wiser about investing in these ‘fast paced’ companies; however, long development processes still existed that continued to extend the time to market.
Now we are starting to approach a new bubble in the startup arena, where companies are more evolved and have learned from past mistakes (although I’m sure pebb.ly, along with others, are still bound to have some ‘lessons learned’ along the way). This next generation of startups is learning to operate in a lean startup mentality, which we believe starts with companies not re-creating the wheel.
Companies that best utilize the tools and platforms that already exist, rather than attempting a ground up solution, will succeed. Successful relationships with the companies with which you build your product on, and a community open to public facing services (such as APIs), will help to create new opportunities even in these uncertain times. This is the approach that pebb.ly has taken with our cloud marketing platform, which helped make it possible to go from whiteboard to launch in just over one month’s time.
Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Marisa Torrieri