infome - Find Anything Nearby from your Mobile

Today we showcase the story of an exciting venture, from Sydney, Australia, infome - Find Anything Nearby from your Mobile, co-founded by Scott Middleton, Andrew Lowe and Brett McDowall.

In a recent email-based interview with us, Scott gave insights into how he is managing and juggling. This is what he has to say in his interview with us:

• Please tell us about yourself, your background and interests?
When I was about 12 - thanks to a book my parents bought me - I found out that I could create web pages, I was so excited I distinctly remember tossing and turning the entire night because I began imagining the possibilities, imagining what I could create; especially how I could build websites for local businesses.

A year or two later, still excited and full of enthusiasm I’d learnt how to create mobile games, A well-established local mobile developer bought my first game and it went worldwide – it even made it to a top 20 list for Australian developers.

Even now, I still love mobile. I love how it can make everything so simple and so easy to do. I love the possibilities and I love that there is always something new.

In my downtime when I’m not immersed in the world of technology I’m at the gym, the beach, the pub, diving, playing Aussie rules or trying something new.

One of my partners, Brett McDowall, spends his time as the Chief Technology Officer at Object Consulting, you can read about him here.

There are a few more of our team in the woodwork at the moment, but I hope to introduce them soon.

• What is the name of your venture/company?
infome. Pronounced “info me”. infome is a free iPhone application and mobile service that allows you to search for anything local. You can check out what we are doing at infome or through my blog.

• Please tell us about your venture/company?
As I just mentioned, searching with income is like asking a friend who knows all about you as well as the details of every business and every product in the local area.

infome takes things a step further than your usual search, infome is about giving you the ability to search for everything in the world around you. Remember those times you’re out after a great party and you need to find a bar that is open, with infome you can search “bars that are open”. Taking it further, imagine you’re late for dinner, in a suburb you aren’t too familiar with and your friend only drinks Shiraz, just search infome with “open bottleshops with Shiraz”.

At the moment we are building up our database and working on making our technology that little bit extra special. So you might not find exactly what you are after just yet.

• What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
infome will be like your best mate who knows you and knows the area you’re looking for something in. Soon you’ll be able to say to infome “I’m hungry” and it will know who you are, where you are, what you like and present you with the best places nearby for you to eat.

• How long it took before it was up and running?
It's taken myself and my partners a few months of tossing ideas around to finally grab onto this one. Once we decided we were up in a month or so.

• Stage of venture
The version that is out in the open for everyone to use is very much an early version of our product, some would say beta. We want to get the ball rolling and we want to see what people think. We’re currently focusing on particular suburbs of Sydney and the iPhone. Soon we'll be branching to more suburbs and more technology.

• Market Segment
People who love technology and get out and about.

• Users sign service

We average about 30 searches per day and about 9 users using the service per day with little to no advertising.

• Marketing Technique
We've just finished testing both AdWords and flyer drops. We're now focusing on 'hyper-local' initiatives like focused websites for particular communities and needs.

• Measuring Success
First, it was 1 user we didn't know. Then it was 1,000 users. Now we're looking at capturing the hearts and minds of a particular suburb.

• Monetising/Revenue Model
Similar to Google AdWords in that a merchant pays per view of their listing. Listing just the business details is free, listing products/special offers and more incurs a fee. It is all performance-based because why should you pay for something that you aren't seeing benefits from?

• Main competitors?
TrueLocal, Sensis and to some extent PocketLife.

• Main barriers?
Finding a niche away from the big broad brushes of the TrueLocals and YellowPages.

• Advice for people
The most important thing I have learnt is that you need to get started and then, once you’ve started you need to keep the ball rolling – in footy, we say “keep the legs ticking over”. It’s important because
(a) Only by doing will you learn how to do greater things and
(b) You’ll find that when you’re doing something the world turns in your favour.

• Business partner?

• External funding

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