Startups #nofilter had the pleasure of interviewing startup founder Zakir Hussain of Mobile Sparkles, a leading and innovative company helping businesses communicate better with their mobile customers.
Read below to see Hussain’s thoughts on the industry, some exciting things ahead for Mobile Sparkles, and other mobile and startup thoughts.
1. How did you come up with the name Mobile Sparkles?
I tried to pick a simple name which clearly indicated Mobile and I wanted to tie it into our mission which is to help business succeed and “sparkle” on the Mobile – i.e make your business standout. We also wanted to keep the name broad so we can extend beyond just messaging in the future into Iot and other applications but all relating to mobile. Also, it was not easy to find a domain name!!
2. For those who don’t fully understand what Mobile Sparkles does, give us the layman’s elevator pitch for your business strategy, and how you help simplify mobile communication.
We help business communicate with mobile customers. We use our relationships and knowledge of mobile network operators and business practises to simplify the process of interconnecting to operators and helping enable mobile communications as part of your business strategy. We provide global connectivity but with a high degree of specialization in the LATAM and North American markets. This allows us to tap into the fastest growing mobile market in the world with difficult to deal with mobile operators. Businesses can use us with confidence for their mobile marketing or other A2P needs.
3. It seems that your all-in-one platform is unique – do you have any competitors out there? If not, any companies that you hope to emulate?
We have many general competitors like Nexmo, CLX, Infobip and Twilio. We distinguish ourselves via our in-depth knowledge of local markets and operator practises in the LATAM & North American market. This allows us to win based on the pricing and quality of our service to enterprise customers. As our brand evolves and more customers trust us, we expect to move up in the value chain in terms of services we offer, and customers can expect from us.
4. Can you share any data with us? Number of users, partners, or revenue?
We are a start-up company so numbers are confidential. However, we can say we have built relationships with direct partners in the countries of Peru, Argentina, Mexico, all Central America, Chile, Brazil and the United States with mobile operators like Claro, Telefonica, Enitel, and others. From a mobile messaging prospective, we are probably one of the best single point of interconnection to the LATAM Market for enterprises focused on this region. I can tell you that we are slowly becoming the foundation network behind major leading global social apps and brands in the market such as WhatsApp, Facebook etc in our target markets. We have focused initially on building our operator networks but in 2018, we will be gradually be introducing our services directly to enterprises.
5. What are you most excited about for Mobile Sparkles’ future?
We have several ideas for improving our platform and making mobile services easily accessible for enterprise. The future is mobile and we intend to play a key part in enabling this future. Today, no matter where you look mobile is increasing, an indispensible part of our lives and securing ecommerce, building vas applications which leverage mobile communications is the future. We have a small but great team here, working hard, day and night, and customers and investors are starting to take notice!. I expect 2018 will be a breakthrough year for us in terms of revenue and growth.
6. Speaking of the future, how do you foresee blockchain technology and/or cryptocurrencies developing in your industry?
Currently, our main role here is to act as the gatekeepers for the security behind blockchain or other cryptocurrency platforms by helping authenticate identities and transactions. Ultimately, the security of those applications/currencies rely on a “real person” otherwise data is just meaningless bytes. We authenticate this and give it value through verification via our mobile services.
7. What are your thoughts on the Uberfication (Uber for X) movement of service based industries and mobile apps? Good or bad?
I am not a big fan of such applications although I do understand their value. I worry they degrade the value of labour and the contributions someone makes individually – in so doing they take us to the lowest common dominator. This is usually price.
8. As a startup founder, what is your biggest fear?
This is my 4th business, as always the #1 fear is running out of capital. Growth always must be managed within these constraints.
9. For fun: What is your go-to website for both regular news and hi-tech news?
I don’t visit web sites any more. I regularly follow twitter and catch the hit-tech news from there visiting lots of sites. I think twitter is great. For regular news, I check the BBC, and CBC global and CNN apps.
10. For fun: What is the first thing you eat or drink in the morning?
I take a glass of orange juice, and if its winter a cup of tea! It’s cold in Canada and the first thing is to get warm!.
11. For fun: What website do you go to check when your internet isn’t working?
I get the mobile out and call my ISP, CIK Telecom.
12. For fun: Any advice for Startups #nofilter, in our quest to become the mecca of startup founder interviews?
I think its really cool what you doing. The journey of a start-up is full of ups and downs and not easy. I say no matter what it is, stay optimistic and look for great interviews.