In the news this week here in Londontown, we have learned that the city has more multi-million-pound mansions being sold than any other city in the world, we are also hearing that our city is the most expensive place to live in the world.
So what if you are on a budget?
What if cheap eats and charity shops are more you’re style than big bling shopping and dining out for hundreds of pounds? Hey, guess what? There’s an app for that!
For Londoners on a budget, the app Frugl delivers on its promise to keep you informed about the best deals for entertainment in the expensive city. Download the app for free from the Apple App Store and begin to discover an affordable side to London. You’ll get to pick from events and happenings that are free, and up to £10, and select from categories of comedy, poetry, film and cinema, classes and courses, meetups and networking, talks and lectures, beauty, food and drink, kids and family, live music, nightlife, shopping and more. You can also book tickets through the app, and find the location of where you are headed with maps.
Frugl has gotten a good amount of press since launch happened in March 2014, including this article in Forbes. The startup received initial funding of a grant from the Technology Strategy Board (now called Innovate UK). At the helm is CEO founder Suzanne Noble, a 20-year veteran publicist and CTO co-founder Tikiri Hulugalle.
We got to catch up with both founders by joining them recently at TECHtoberfest, and had a blast of a time, all on a budget!
Suzanne let us quiz her further about Frugl, and here’s our Q&A session with her:
Can you tell us the background of Frugl? When did it come about and why?
I’ve been a bargain hunter and a culture vulture since I was a kid growing up in London. Back in the 80s I used to run underground jazz clubs, spending every night handing out flyers, as that was the only way to get the word out. Now there’s so much going on all the time, it’s a challenge to find those under the radar events or great offers. That’s where Frugl comes in – giving event promoters and businesses a platform to publicise great value experiences for our users to discover.
So you set out to make an app for those looking to experience London on a budget. What was your interest in this low budget market?
Well, I believe that having fun shouldn’t be something that only the wealthy can afford. Anyone should be able to have a good time, to find great food/drink, clothes or events whatever their budget. I’m naturally inclined to want to save money whenever possible so Frugl reflects my own passion.
What kind of events and offerings can people find on Frugl?
From the start, I wanted to reach varied tastes and interests. Currently you can find free haircuts, meal deals, live music and comedy, workshops and much more. The basic philosophy of Frugl is that, provided it has a start/end time and there is at least one of something to be sold, it can be listed on Frugl.
Have you had many downloads of the app and can you share with us how many?
We’ve hit about 20k and, with our new marketplace on web and now iOS and Android too are looking to rev up our numbers over the next few months.
You know, there are a lot of event business models out there – can you tell us why Frugl stands apart from the competition?
We’re really trying to broaden our inventory beyond events. We know there’s a lot of apps out there but we know that when people think of Frugl, they think beyond events. That’s why we encourage businesses in the food/drink and health/beauty space to use us too.
Frugl is just for London now, but do you have plans to offer it in other cities?
Absolutely. Moving beyond London is definitely on the roadmap over the next year.
What are your top picks for Frugl things to do in London?
We love The Good Ship Comedy Club on a Monday night in Kilburn. It’s always fun and the atmosphere is great.
Thanks for talking with us Suzanne!
By the way, you can find Suzanne on Twitter at @FruglFounder and follow Frugl @Frugl.
Muzivo is a powerful new music social-network that puts you in touch with music apps you may have not heard of.
In essence, it’s like a music app directory allowing you to discover music apps that exist to play music of a specific genre.
Once you create an account, Muzivo enables you to build personalised news and events feeds, stream music, create playlists and save your favourites.
What’s more, this app lets you to create your own app, customizing it to suit your taste.
When it’s ready, you can start sharing whatever you want on it. Yes, that’s right – you’ll be able to upload your music, photos, videos, bio, shows or even access your Facebook and Twitter feeds.
By: Miamii Mansour
We caught up with the team of GoodBarber, a DIY iPhone and Android mobile app startup based in Corsica, ahead of Mobile World Congress 2015, to find out more about what the company is all about. Being a fans of all things DIY for self-starters, public realtions and statups, we thought you may also want to find out more about GoodBarber and what they offer. See our Q& A conversation below.
Going to Mobile World Congress? Find GoodBarber at:
Hall 8.1 (App Planet) D41 French Pavillion, Station 10
Q: Please tell us a little background about GoodBarber and why you started the company?
A: Our CEO Dominique Siacci went directly from being a student to being an entrepreneur in Corsica, France.
GoodBarber CEO Dominique Siacci
He created DuoApps in 2009 (the mother company of GoodBarber), which was right around the same time that the App Store was opening to developers, and started out working with bespoke apps (custom made apps) for iOS. He quickly realized that being a business in Corsica required a much more scalable model, which brought him to the idea of transitioning to a DIY solution—a more feasible option.
The pivot proved to be very successful, and through continuous updates and improvements based on evolving user needs, GoodBarber has developed into a dynamic company that works with users all over the world to transform their projects into beautiful apps.
Q: Why DIY?
A: The business really made a big switch from service based (developing custom apps for individuals) to a product (creating one tool that allows users to ultimately create the project themselves). DIY projects are great because they allow the user to create exactly what they are envisioning, but often times they are accompanied by the need for a very specific set of skills, and this combination was something that was lacking in the app marketplace. Several years ago, the transition from paying for website development to creating one’s own website through WordPress was seen; Dominique had a feeling that this concept would be the future in the app industry as well, thus taking the risk and diving into the DIY revolution.
Dominique created a system where the user does not need to have any type of knowledge related to creating apps—GoodBarber does the dirty work, providing the interface that is the intermediary between the complex coding and the creative user, leaving them with the fun and easy part.
The DIY aspect includes choosing the design of the app, the content, and the functionality based on the project, etc., but does not require any coding expertise, thus making the DIY app concept completely attainable.
Q: How much can someone save if they DIY their own app?
A: Having an app created by a developer ranges greatly based on its functions, but the cost of developing an native app can range anywhere from $5,000-$50,000, just for one app for one device!
When an app is created native, every part of it is created and coded to work perfectly with the device it’s displayed on, thus requiring a lot of time and money. Native apps are the kind of app created with GoodBarber, but we take the work out of this extensive process and leave the user with the fun part, saving them money as well as a big headache! The user also does not have to worry about creating a separate app for each type of device (iPhone, Android, tablet, etc.), they can make their app one time and GoodBarber makes it compatible and native for each device.
Q: GoodBarber offers anyone the chance to make an app in 7 steps, what is the process like and how long does it take to DIY an app?
A: In a nutshell, the process goes from choosing an overall theme and navigation mode for the app, adding the desired content, designing the individual sections of content, selecting splashscreens and icons, and finally testing the app and submitting it to the stores.
Each project is different, and how long it takes to complete a project depends on how deep into the platform the user chooses to go, but on average a beautiful app can usually be created in a matter of only a few hours. After this, it takes a few days for the app to be published on the stores, but in general it is a very quick process.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you have faced in starting GoodBarber?
A: Every time we add a new feature to the platform, we must think of it in terms of both generic and customized at the same time. The feature must be made in a broad enough way that it to be easily used by everyone, but also must be flexible enough to adapt to any idea. The challenge is to have a one size fits all products that can create very different, specific results.
Also, growing internationally has been a challenge, especially since the company does not have the advantage of being based in a large city conducive to startups. We realized early on that even if we were not located in a very internationally diverse city, it would be necessary to have an internationally diverse team in order to properly assist all of our future clients. Luckily, with the combination of great marketing and a competitive product, we have managed to thrive and now work with individuals and companies all over the world.
Q: Who is using GoodBarber?
A: GoodBarber users can be anyone from small business owners to a church youth group to professional app developers. The important thing is that anyone can use the product, regardless of their skill level. A lot of businesses use GoodBarber as an easy, cost-efficient way to market and enhance their companies, while professional developers use the platform for developing multiple apps for clients. In the case of the latter, more advanced individuals have the option to access deeper customization settings and put their coding knowledge to use.
If you would like to find out more about some specific GoodBarber apps, you could take a look through some of the apps we have showcased which also include customer reviews about GoodBarber here.
Q: Do you help guide a customer through the DIY process? And how?
A: Absolutely. Just because it is a DIY platform does not mean our users are completely on their own! As soon as a user signs up for a free trial, they are offered the opportunity for a one-on-one Skype session where we offer advice on their project and answer any initial questions they may have. As they continue to build their app and throughout the lifetime of the app, we have a support team available to answer all questions (in several languages), as well as a consistently updated blog with helpful articles, video tutorials, and news related to the industry.
Q: In a very crowded marketplace of apps, is it worth it to build one, and why?
A: It’s true that the app marketplace is very crowded, but at this point in time, if your business strategy does not include a mobile aspect, you are very far behind. There are many components to the term “mobile” (hybrid apps, native apps, mobile sites, etc.) and each one of them addresses a different target and need. Native apps provide a very high level of user experience, resulting in an unmatched technique for engaging and retaining users, making building an app an absolutely worthwhile project.
Q: What’s your long term plan?
A: We like to set our sights high—the goal is to become one of the top three app builders out there, and in order to do so we plan to adapt the business to the technology that we believe will be a very large part of the future: connected devices.
Connected devices are going to be huge, and the way in which they will be managed will be by people, through their phones. If GoodBarber apps can play a role in managing connected devices, this will be huge for our future growth.
Q: Tell us about being a startup in Corsica.
A: Corsica is an amazing place to live, but can be a challenging environment to thrive in as a startup. As many startups tend to be based in more metropolitan areas, we have to deal with limitations regarding hiring processes, networking, and gaining exposure. It requires some hard work, but it is all worth it in the long run.
What is Zealify?
Zealify is an online platform that wants to change the way we look for jobs. Normally, you’d apply for a job – and that’s it, right?
Well, Zealify goes one step further. It’s a job site that shows its clients the full picture before they apply.
Users can browse through images of the office, watch video interviews with current employees and read a detailed description about the company’s culture.
Hai Media Group had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren Hine, co-founder and CEO of Zealify, here’s what she had to say…
1) How would you describe Zealify to those who may not have heard of it?
Zealify seeks to change the job search process for junior level talent through showcasing the cultures of high growth, SME’s through online profiles. The profiles include photos of the offices, video interviews with employees and content about the company culture. Those who are searching for a job get to find out exactly what it is like to work for a company before they apply for a position.
2) When did the Startup begin?
The Startup began in February 2014.
3) Who are your target audience?
Our target audience are individuals who are between one and five years out of university, We are trying to cater to people who may have had some work experience perhaps in a large company, found it wasn’t for them and are now looking for a new challenge.
4) Why Zealify? What makes you stand out from all the other employment websites?
Unlike generic job boards Zealify allows users to find out what it is really like to work at a company. Other employment websites will bombard job searchers with messages about available positions with no thought into whether the job searcher will fit into the hiring company. Through the zealify platform, small to medium sized companies can stand out from other companies by showing visually the values that their team believe in. This allows potential employees to figure out whether they would be a good fit or not, with a far higher accuracy than a typical job board.
5) What fields do you specialise in?
Zealify only profiles high-growth Startups and SME’s. The companies are carefully selected based on their employee centric nature and good working environment. Generally fast paced, innovative companies are hiring for roles across a variety of fields which enables us to offer our users numerous positions in areas such as marketing, HR and software development.
6) How would Zealify know if it’s made it? (goals, achievements)
Zealify will know it has made it when it is the chosen place for starting a job search. We are working towards building a platform that has all the necessary resources in one place to help individuals succeed in a career they love. We regularly receive great feedback from our users commending Zealify for its personal approach to career advice.
7) What’s next for Zealify?
Zealify is going to start its second investment round. This money will allow us to expand our team. Through expanding our team we will be able to reach more people with our service and achieve our long term goal.
By Miamii Mansour
Since the rise of Instagram, photo apps have become all the rage! However, to move away from the mainstream — Trunx is definitely a relatively new photo storage app to shout about.
Hai Media Group had the opportunity to interview Trunx’s Marketing VP, Sandra Ponce de Leon, here’s what she had to say:
What is Trunx?
Trunx is a photo storage app that allows its users to snap, organise and store all their photos in a safe, private and secure storage vault for an unlimited amount of time.
The app works to free up storage on your smart device by uploading all of your photograph’s to Trunx’s secure cloud – allowing anytime, anywhere access to all your photographs and at your fingertips.
Users no longer need to worry about their device’s memory, as Trunx acts as built-in app storage vault.
How does SharedPix work?
This feature lets users share their photos with friends and family privately. And participants in the album are be able to view a live feed of photographs which the Album owner has shared.
Why Trunx? Where did the inspiration behind such a creative app spring from?
Jeff Chen is really the visionary behind the company – as an experienced entrepreneur and founder, he is always looking for imaginative solutions to problems.
He realized that his visual legacy was scattered on everything from digital cameras to social networks to mobile phones to old thumb drives and decided he needed one place where he could have access to every photo he ever took in a way that was very easy to find.
Given his experience with Maxthon – the worlds 6ths largest cloud based browser – he knew the answer was in the cloud. And thus came the idea for Trunx.
If you could give an elevator pitch to a prospective Trunx user what would you say?
Trunx is your entire photo collection accessible at your fingertips. Every photo you’ve ever taken – on your phone, your camera, etc. – without the hassle of multiple devices or services. Forget which hard drive that photo of your daughter on her first birthday is on? No worries, Trunx has you covered.
It looks like you have a number of great features that set you apart from other apps out there. Can you tell us what the top differences are from other photo apps? And, what sets you apart from the giant Instagram?
Our mission is to be the world’s largest visual memory bank. In order to fulfill on that promise, we have a commitment to our core values of trust, security, privacy, safety and ease of use which are embedded into the product itself.
We take the security of our users’ memories very seriously and use encryption on both the transmission and storage of data. We also have a hybrid cloud infrastructure in place that further protects our user’s precious memories.
Unlike Instagram, we focus on organization, storage and accessibility of your entire visual life. That said, not ALL of your photos are meant for sharing – some are private and meant only for you, or just a small group.
We have SharedPix which is a collaborative photo album for just sharing with friends and family. One perfect use-case might be a girls trip among friends that all took pictures on their phones and want to share, but at the same time don’t want to have those bikini pictures ending up on Facebook.
Other differences include our EchoPix feature which allows users to capture photos with sound, as well as the fact that we are offering unlimited storage until the end of September.
On average, how many users does Trunx get per month? Can you share this information with us at this time? Or, give a monthly average of downloads?
We’re not disclosing numbers at the moment but we’ve been growing at a steady and rapid rate – we’re very pleased with our progress.
Which tools did you use to help maximise Trunx’s user-outreach?
We’re big fans of SurveyMonkey which we use to send out surveys to our customers on a regular basis in order to find out what they love about Trunx and what kinds of features they’d like us to develop in the future. Mailchimp is our email platform, and of course we use social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr.
We also leverage our own product using SharedPix as a way to get the word out – we’ve been creating shared community of photo albums at a variety of events and festivals like Macworld, SF JazzFest, Outsidelands and others. We are also currently hosting a SharedPix contest called Share the Peace where we’re asking friends of Trunx to submit their pictures with a peace sign – one of our mascot Max’s favorite signs!
If you could give three top tips to an aspiring an entrepreneur with a BIG idea, what would they be?
1) Find the pain point first: what is the problem you are trying to resolve? Look at it from every angle and be meticulous in your examination. Once you have that you can verify whether these pains exist across a broader market.
2) Staying small and scrappy forces you to be creative and resourceful: it is always good to keep that mindset regardless of the funding situation – a lot can be done with a little!
3) Talk to your customers and prospective customers regularly and religiously. Not only do they provide great insight – i.e. just because it makes sense to you, does not mean your users will get it.
The only way to find out is to conduct testing and observe. It is critical to develop a relationship with your customers early on and bring them into your product and brand conversations. This makes for a valuable and dedicated user base that feels invested in your product and team
What future plans do you have for the company?
Our plans are to continue to develop the product and grow our user base. We have some exciting changes coming soon to Trunx that we can’t wait to unveil. As mentioned previously, our goal is be the world’s biggest memory bank, and we still have a lot of work to do to be able to fulfill that promise.
How do you see Trunx achieving them?
We’re committed staying in constant contact with our users and keeping them in the loop on new features we are developing as well as company direction. Following our own advice – we’re small and scrappy and need to be creative and unique to stand apart.
Can you give us a little background on your status as a startup? When were you founded? Who have you gotten investment from and how much? Please share what you choose with us on this front.
Lifetime Memori Inc, Trunx’s parent brand was founded in 2013 by Jeff Chen and Jay Shen. We are self-funded right now with no plans in the near future to take on any investments although that could change. Right now our focus is fully on our customers and making a beautiful, useful product that people love.
By: Miamii Mansour