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KIWI STORY: Mixing technology and marketing to taste success

Sathya Mithra Ashok | April 24, 2014
You would have had a hard time missing VMob in the news over the last few weeks.

You would have had a hard time missing VMob in the news over the last few weeks.

The company made finalist in multiple categories for the NZ Hi-Tech Awards 2014, and also won the Emerging Market award at the I-COM Big Data Venture challenge in Spain.

For Scott Bradley, charismatic CEO and founder of the firm, these are all merely steps to what he is aiming for the firm — "global domination."

Nevertheless, it is still a notable set of achievements for a firm that was merely an idea less than five years ago.

"The business started with Phil Norman, non-executive chairman of the company and myself working on some ideas. The business was formed in September 2010, and we grew out from there.

"We are at around 30 full-time staff currently and we have around 15 contractors that add to the business. So we go up to 45 staff, depending on the project and business. It has been great to grow out the team over the last three and a half years that we have been running it," says Bradley.

VMob was driven by a passion to integrate technology and marketing for more personalised communication.

"My passion was around technology and marketing, and when smartphones started to mature, I saw the opportunity of allowing brands and retailers to engage with consumers through smartphones on a very personal basis and also measure the performance of that engagement.

That was the idea for Vmob," says Bradley.

Scott Bradley, VMob's CEO and founder

"We started off with a pilot in NZ, and that validated the business model. We had 100 retailers using our platform over that the first period, including people like McDonalds, which subsequently became a client. And then we tried to take the technology, the underlying IP of the business that we had developed, and make that available as a platform to telcos. This is when we started working in Indonesia with the Telkom group, and some subsidiaries within the group," says Bradley.

It took around six months for the firm to build out the technology that supported the 100 retailers and around 20,000 customers. However, working with a telecom that had a 120 million customers, with requirements to track location and social information, and link it back to loyalty and billing systems, took VMob to a different ball game. It also demanded much more development time in making the base platform enterprise-grade.

"We really needed to build an enterprise grade platform that could handle 200 or 300 million concurrent users. And that took us another 18 months to build. That became deployable only around June 2013 really," says Bradley.

The company's two initial big international clients, McDonald's in the Netherlands and Mobil Exxon in Norway, were enabled off the back of the strengthened platform. With Telkom Group going into bankruptcy, the firm also decided to shift its focus to providing its technology directly to bricks-and-mortar retailers.


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