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Buzka

The tenth participant is Buzka
Buzka has taken the first steps to build powerful web applications that introduce new ways for consumers to search and discover the highly relevant brand-focused information they need to make purchasing decisions.
Buzka Popnets are patented web applications that harness the power of social networking for businesses that need to build brand value in today’s fragmented media environment. Available to businesses of all sizes, Popnets make it extremely easy for their customers to share all the information they need when making everyday buying decisions, whilst providing easy access to their most trusted source of product referral – their social network.
Based out of Perth (WA), Buzka was co-founded by Raphe Patmore and Jinnan Cai in January 2006.
Let us explore a bit further how Raphe and Jinnan are progressing with Buzka.

Q. Who are the founders behind this and how it started?
A.
Raphe Patmore CEO (Co-Founder) - has over 25 years of experience in technology and consumer product marketing. Raphe founded Modus Operandi; an innovative and successful multimedia development company in Perth WA. Raphe was the Executive Director of Q Multimedium Ltd, a publicly listed computer game and wireless application protocol (WAP) developer.
Raphe was founder and CEO of Patmore Parker Pty Ltd a web-marketing consultancy, whose clients included Microsoft, OzEmail, Ergotel, Future Technology Resources,
Arrowfield Wines and Q Multimedium.
Well grounded in the hands on management of creative and technical teams and a highly experienced marketing executive, Raphe is well qualified to drive an innovative business such as Buzka through the implementation of a comprehensive business plan and strategy.
Before coming to Australia from the UK 15 years ago, Raphe worked in marketing for US technology conglomerate ITT, and for top ten Ad agencies Y&R and Grey Communications Group, where his clients included Abbey National, DuPont and Unisys.
Raphe was a member of the ScreenWest Board of Directors from 2005 to 2008 and is vice president and board member of the Australian Digital Content Association (ADCA).

Jinnan Cai VP of Product Development (Co-Founder) - is a co-founder of Buzka and responsible for the development of the Buzka technology. Jinnan has been the driving force behind the development of several sophisticated multimedia and Internet applications. Possessing both a creative and technical background, Jinnan can successfully liaise with designers, programmers and clients to transform challenging concepts into highly creative and innovative solutions. Jinnan’s zealous attention to detail ensures projects are completed to the highest
standard.

Q. How long it took before it was up and running?
A. Buzka Pty Ltd was incorporated in January 2006 and released its first Beta product in September 2006

Q. What stage of your start-up is, stealth mode, beta mode or fully functional?
A. Beta

What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
A. To become the preferred web application for consumers worldwide to share and discover highly relevant information.

Q. What services it provide it for consumers or customers? A. For the consumer wishing to save, share, and discover new product-focused information, Buzka Popnets integrate several familiar tools such as bookmarking, web clipping, search and content management in a single web application. As the social network of users grows Popnets will provide a completely new way of discovering highly relevant web content. Viewing the content someone has saved to a Popnet is just like looking at any other website.
Buzka’s core technology makes it extremely easy to customize a Popnet as an ‘own brand’ web application to meet the needs of businesses operating in specific vertical market sectors who wish to build social networks focused on their brand or products. – Buzka's first Popnet the Travel Popnet was launched at DEMO 08 and is currently building a vibrant user base.

Q. What is unique about your venture?
A. Buzka Popnets are unique because the ‘Search’ functions present search results in a file and folder structure that is generated by the social network. This makes it easier for users to discover new and highly relevant information because it presents a roadmap of how users have structured the search subject.

Q. What market segment verticals you are targeting?
A. Currently Buzka Popnets are targeted at the Travel segment. Later in the year, Buzka will develop products for a wide range of sectors including Media, Home Improvements, Sports and Education.

Q. What type of customers you are targeting?
A. Senior managers with a marketing focus

Q. What age group of people will benefit most?
A. All groups

Q. How many users are using your services?
A. 1000+

Q. What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word?
A. Direct sales

Q. How are you measuring the success of your venture? Are there any special mechanisms/tools in place to monitor the progress?
A. Studying server logs, user comments and site advertising responses

Q. What is the monetizing/revenue model? Is there any new model, which is being tried?
A. License fees

Q. Which are the main competitors or major players in this market segment? What are the main technologies used behind this start-up?
A. Open source, MySQL, PHP, Ajax, Flash.

Q. What has been the easiest to use, out of the box and most helpful technology?
A. PHP, closely followed by Eclipse and SVN.

Q. Are you using a lot of open-source tool sets for this?
A. We use open-source tools exclusively.

Q. What is your operating environment (operating system) and what type of database you are using?
A. LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP)

Q. How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up. Do you have dedicated communities in your city?
A. Catch up with others in the field in the US, UK and Australia every week. There are dedicated Web 2 communities in Perth, with whom we share experiences

Q. How much money is needed upfront to start a venture?
A. We have raised $500K from private investors and government grants.

Q. What are the main barriers in general for people to start their venture in Australia?
A.
  • Small, immature and inexperienced technology investment community
  • Distance from substantial markets
  • Lack of competition in the corporate sector does not create an environment where major players need to innovate to succeed
Q. What are your thoughts on the future trends of your service and the market segment you are in?
A. One of the major challenges for businesses today is how to engage online consumers with their brand. As Peter Chernin; (President and COO of News Corp), stated “People no longer use content that is pushed at them - they are organizing it themselves and organizing things around their interests”. Currently, businesses struggle to engage online consumers in the same way that social networking does. Advertising is clearly not the answer. Online ad revenues trail other media by a considerable margin, even though many consumers spend as much time online as they do consuming other media! Clearly, businesses have the money and the audience to make investment in online brand building worthwhile; they simply don’t have the marketing tools to do the job. Buzka Popnets meet this demand for brand-building web applications by offering businesses a white-label application they integrate into their company website. Popnets engage consumers by making it extremely easy for them to save organize and share all the information relating to everyday purchasing decisions and share it with the wider social network.

Q. Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
A. Even if you think you can sell your technology online you will need to invest substantially in networking with consumers, the media and potential investors outside Australia – Make sure you budget for it.

Thanks, Raphe for sharing your thoughts. We look forward to hearing from you in future on the progress of Buzka. All the best for Buzka and the competition in this carnival.

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