Elevator Pitch: ipadio lets you broadcast your calls to the world

ipadio has been plugging away at the audio publishing business since it launched in November 2008, with just one member of staff and funded by parent company Nemisys.

Backed by some angel funding in October 2009 - and now starting to see revenues through corporate subscriptions - founder Dr Mark Smith says the service has 30,000 users publishing 5.4m audio sessions in the past 12 months.

All eyes are on the money - can the site go from 20 paying corporate subscribers to reach its target of 110 by this time next year? Fresh from signing deals with Virgin Media and Vodafone, as well as working with Balfour Beatty Workplace, Smith says the latest client is US conference giant IQPC, which will use the new HD version of ipadio used to record conferences for delegates who can't be there in person. What's next?

Elevator Pitch: ipadio lets you broadcast your calls to the world- Top Financial
Dr Mark Smith, chief executive of ipadio

What's your pitch?
"ipadio allows for the live broadcasting of a telephone call from any telephone, anywhere in the world to a website. So imagine you're miles from anywhere and not online, but your mobile has a signal. Make a call to ipadio and your voice is broadcast though your website, intranet, or anywhere else. You can even listen to ipadio calls on Facebook and Twitter.

"You just need a telephone and the right number to call. You then call ipadio's servers and we stream that call into your website, Facebook or other destination so others can listen to you live or later. At its most extreme, one call may be listened to by hundreds of thousands of other people for free."

How do you make money?
"From corporate subscriptions. These may be public broadcasts from events, internal communications to web and to phone (thereby reaching all staff in the office or in the field at the same time) or using ipadio's more advanced data collection services to make a business more efficient."

How are you surviving the downturn?

"Downturns present companies with two challenges – making efficiency gains and keeping staff up to date with rapid change. ipadio is a communication tool which cheaply and effectively addresses both."

What's your background?

"I have a PhD in biotechnology but I am most excited by invention and exploitation of web technologies. My background has always been innovation - see Environment97, for example. Made us laugh that we had to wait seven years before we could post this video on YouTube. ipadio is one of those ideas that sends shivers down your spine, so making it, launching it and growing it is a huge buzz."

What makes your business unique?
"Phones work pretty much anywhere - so having a service such as ipadio which links the telephony network to the web without the need for a web connection to start with is liberating. To have had Jordan Romero, the 13-year-old American, broadcasting his successful climb from the top of Everest in May this year was incredible. But to recognise that all businesses have the web and telephones already makes what ipadio can do - in terms of improved communications and improved efficiency very exciting commercially - something we are already proving even at this early stage."

What has been your biggest achievement or proudest moment so far?

"Gaining so many subscribers has to be the biggest achievement – clever ideas with no market are just clever ideas. Proudest moment must be a broadcast made from a hospital just after the Haitian earthquake by Oxfam in January this year. Our stats showed that hundreds of thousands of people saw this series and we were proud to see ipadio being used in such a worthwhile way."

Who in the tech business inspires you?

"Not sure this counts as he's dead, but it would have to be Donald Davies, the son of a Welsh miner who invented packet switching -  the underlying technology of the internet. So it really is true the internet was invented by a Welshman, and the web by an Englishman."

What's your biggest challenge?

"Keeping ipadio to the simple founding principle of any phone anywhere live to the web. Temptation for all technology companies is to make things too complex and clever, being admired by your techie peers is not as useful as being paid by your clients!"

What's the most important piece of software that you use each day?
"Nemisys (ipadio's parent company) employs over 20 staff, most of whom work from home, so instant messaging is by far the quickest and best way to keep in touch. We'd feel isolated without it."

Name your closest competitors
"We are primarily a telephony business, so it would have to be BT and AT&T. We're a speedboat to their supertankers."

Where do you want the company to be in five years?
"Worth more than £72.9m - because that was the market cap of the last business I floated."

Sell to Google, or be bigger than Google?
"Nicer than Google. And they are very nice."


Elevator Pitch: ipadio lets you broadcast your calls to the world- Top Financial

0 Comment



Captcha image