Madison’s SOLOMO Technology adjusts to — and helps shape — the mobile globe

As everyone knows, the world moves fast in the 21st century, but the world of information technology is in another orbit altogether, speeding along at a clip that would test the mettle of even the most stalwart entrepreneurs.

Liz Eversoll, CEO of Madison’s SOLOMO Technology, Inc., knows how fast the earth can move underneath one’s feet in the IT biz, but her company is more than keeping its footing.

“The interest [in our services] has really exploded.” — Liz Eversoll, CEO, SOLOMO Technology

“I’ve been in IT for over 20 years, and technology over the last three years has moved exponentially faster than at any point in my career,” said Eversoll. “We play in the personal identity and indoor location-based services space … and there’s already about 40 entrants, startups and others, into the category, so it moves quickly, competitors move quickly. We have been watching this space for over two and a half years, and we’re still the only platform that really manages the privacy and the security aspects.”

Since we last featured SOLOMO a year and a half ago (see our October 2011 story, which originally appeared in IB’s print magazine), the company has enhanced its offerings and recently completed a $1.7 million funding round. In addition, SOLOMO was recently named a Qualified New Business Venture, which makes investors in the company eligible for a 25% tax credit on the amount they invest in the business.

“I think our vision is very similar to 2011,” said Eversoll. “When we started the company, we had a vision around managing people’s personal identities. We’ve enhanced and built up the technology and platform, [and our products now allow] a retailer, for example, to know who is in their location and where they’re at and then send personal information, personal content to that individual based on who they are and where they’re at.”

A mobile revolution

A February report from Cisco Systems noted that global mobile traffic grew by 70% in 2012 and should increase 13-fold between 2012 and 2017. Remarkably, the report also predicted that the number of mobile-connected devices would exceed the number of people on earth by the end of 2013.

So with mobile devices seemingly taking over the planet, the ability to leverage their power and potential could be a golden ticket to success in the business world.

Currently, SOLOMO provides retailers with tools to monitor consumer activity and to provide a unique consumer experience based on location. In addition, it also protects customers’ privacy by allowing them to control their personal information.

SOLOMO’s platform can create unique, localized experiences for customers as they enter and move through stores. Put simply, a customer’s mobile device app will change its display and convey new information as he or she moves from one area of the store to the next. In addition, SOLOMO provides retailers with indoor analytics that show retailers — through real-time indoor maps that track mobile users — how their stores are used and what areas see the most and least traffic. Finally, the company ensures privacy and data integrity, allowing customers to control their own data. This, the company believes, makes consumers more willing to share information because they’re confident that it’s being used to their own advantage.

That security element — while perhaps a bit more mundane than the platform’s other bells and whistles — could be the most important of them all given the trends that Eversoll sees in a world that’s become deluged with people’s personal information.

While one might assume that young people are more blasé about sharing personal information, Eversoll says a backlash is beginning to occur.

“Actually, we’re sort of seeing the opposite trend,” said Eversoll. “When they have something to lose, then they want to protect their information and their identity. Kids, when they get to be juniors and seniors out of college, they’re starting to delete their Facebook, they’re starting to take themselves out of those forums where all of their information is publicly available. So that goes back to the theory, if you have something to lose, whether it’s your reputation or credibility, then you want a mechanism to help protect your information and grant it only to trusted organizations.”

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But while advertising has become more and more sophisticated and targeted with the rise of the Internet and mobile, SOLOMO hopes to fine-tune its clients’ capabilities even further.

“Today, we can provide information based on who you are and where you’re at, but the third step is really to get information based on your intent, and that’s the third leg of our stool that we’ll start to build up here closer to the end of the year,” said Eversoll.

Connecting to the customer

By focusing on intent, says Eversoll, consumers’ product searches can become much less labor intensive.

“Right now, if you want to go on a spring break or a vacation, you sort of think about all the places you have to go, you have to go look at activities and hotels and airfare and geographies and tourist activities, and you have to pull that all together,” said Eversoll. “Whereas if you can just say, ‘I’m a family of four, here’s where we’d like to go, here’s what our budget is, here’s the types of activities that we like, and then get personal responses back, think of the time savings for you.”

Eversoll said the money raised in the company’s latest funding round would go toward increasing the company’s product development capacities as well as enhancing its sales and marketing efforts. The company also needs to accommodate rapid growth. While still small, its headcount has increased by more than 40% since October 2011, from 17 employees to 24. During the same period, the IT world has expanded and evolved, though so far, SOLOMO has had firm enough footing to grab opportunity when it comes along.

“The interest [in our services] has really exploded,” said Eversoll. “We were focused on retail because we’re a small organization, but we have partners that are very interested in opportunities in travel, in hospitality, health care, wherever this technology is applicable. So everyone wants to connect directly to their customer or prospect on that mobile device, and we enable that in a trusted manner.”

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