Interview with Jason Pammer (Mobile Web America)
Mobile Web America is a web service for automated conversion of websites into mobile.
I interviewed Jason Pammer, Mobile Web America CEO and co-founder to find out more. This is the hundred and eighty fourth in a series of DW startup interviews.
Describe Mobile Web America in under 50 words.
Mobile Web America has developed a solution called Live-Sync. Our technology is a complex parsing system that enables us to utilize existing content and software to output a mobile version. Our technology provides incredible functionality with high-end mobile solutions that are extremely economical in pricing and have record time-to-market.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
Down to earth, motivated, young entrepreneur looking to provide value to society by bridging the gap between consumer demand and awesome tech products.
You’ve been described as an entrepreneur from birth! Tell us a bit about your background.
Born outside of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, I grew up in a town with less than 400 people. I am grateful for this because it has left me with a sense of family, manners and appreciate for the shear magnitude of the California market. I was fortunate enough to attend a private High School which helped keep me up to pace with rapidly moving technology. I moved to California in 2004 to obtain my undergraduate degree from Chapman University in Business Entrepreneurship & Masters from the University of Southern California.
I’ve been an entrepreneur from birth starting with standard small stands on the side of the road where I was able to buy a go-kart with sales in a matter of 6-months. I was Co-Founder of several small firms and was notably the Vice President of an international Construction Conglomerate where I brought in over $300 million in sales.
So, how does Mobile Web America actually work? What technologies have you used to build Mobile Web America?
We developed a technology we call Live-Sync. The backbone is PHP/MySQL with a front end that is HTML5/CSS3/jQuery mobile. We offer two major avenues for our clients to go mobile.
Do-It-Yourself Builder: Clients enter their existing website url and our technology parses the website and pulls the content into a new and unique mobile version. The client can then edit and customize the mobile version as they see fit.
Enterprise Solutions: We use the same parsing technology in custom build situations that enable us to produce mobile versions of existing Login, Form, SaaS or Cloud solutions with relative ease.
Introduce us to the co-founders. How did you all meet? How did the idea for Mobile Web America come about?
The idea of Mobile Web America came up in a conversation with now Co-Founder, Moe Jame, in 2009 when discussing limited functionality on our iPhones. We ironed out the details and formed a corporation in 2011, where Derek Proudian joined the firm. We received Seed Investment thereafter. We have since been able to finance operations with sales and are experience exponential growth and moving towards acquisition. (Meet the founders)
What was technically the most challenging part of developing Mobile Web America?
Technically, the most challenging part was creating a solution that married a complex back-end and parsing technology with a user friendly, simple front end.
Due to the technical requirements of our enterprise clients there is always hurdles that we overcome. Thanks to our great team we always meet these challenges and clients regularly come back to us for their most complex developments needs.
How long did it take to put together Mobile Web America?
It took 2 years to put the savings and people together to found the original company, however, from the time the corporation was formed to closing our first round of financing was 4-months. We consider the firm to have started in February, 2012, when everyone quit their day job and started on the company full-time.
How did you decide on the pricing plan?
For the DIY builder we have a Freemium model. Our goal is to have something for everybody whether it be: Free, $4.99/month or a Custom Enterprise Solution.
Our goal was to find a happy medium where the clients have every reason to go mobile. We provide excellent customer support, great pricing, and can meet everyone’s mobile needs.
How many users upgrade from Free Mobile Website to Premium? What’s your philosophy on converting free members?
We have an above average conversion rate for the industry and specifics are proprietary for the time being. I can tell you we have over 50,000 clients with our Do-It-Yourself builder. The majority of our enterprise clients start first with the builder which showcases our Live-Sync technology. Large firms looking for complex software solutions will contact us at that point for custom proposals.
Mobile Web America fills the void in the marketplace to firms who are searching for a solution to a seemingly simple problem: Taking existing infrastructure to mobile and avoid redundancy of information and technology.
Our firm and technology enables companies to take their existing SaaS, Web, or Backbone technology and create a mobile version of it. Rather than having to develop a separate solution from scratch. This enables economical pricing and record time-to-market.
Has Mobile Web America got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
We have been meeting our milestones to date since our investment round and we couldn’t be happier with our current position. Everyone wants to be a billion dollar company that is publicly traded. We kept our eyes on the prize and are meeting growth milestones as they come. Our main focus is to achieve quality growth with high customer satisfaction as apposed to desperately building numbers while leaving the customer as an afterthought.
We are grateful to have Derek Proudian on board who has dealt with dozens of start-ups. Derek has helped keep us in line and moving in the right direction with rational milestones. Derek was actually the VC that provided initial funding for Elon Musk’s first venture. Needless to say, he knows potential when he sees it.
Any big clients on your books?
Our company is a pioneer in mobile web development and is grateful to count several Fortune 500 Company’s on our books. One showcase firm would be CBRE, who, with $6.5 billion in revenue, is the world’s largest Real Estate services firm. CBRE, through their property management division provides specific properties with a custom built website through a proprietary platform. They were needing a plugin solution to their existing platform that would allow them to generate mobile websites automatically. We worked closely with their team and used our technology to develop the solution and we both couldn’t be happier.
Other big clients and partners include: Evonik, Serena Software, Infomaniak, Lunarpages, Locu and many others.
What do you wish you’d have known 4 years ago that you know now?
Four years ago I was working full-time while completing my master’s program and had to put my entrepreneurial ambitions on the side. After completing my masters in June, 2009, I wish my business partners and I focused 100% of our time on our start-up.
Even though we waited sometime after that, the market wasn’t ready for the solution and only now are we seeing the type of awareness we have been anticipating. In our case timing worked out perfectly.
Where do you see Mobile Web America in another 4 years time?
Four years from now Mobile Web America will be a subsidiary of a larger firm. We envision that firms will be starting with “Mobile First”.
We will be providing fully integrated solutions that take mobile into account from the start as the primary medium from which clients will be accessing data.
How is the patent process coming along? What challenges have you faced in this process?
We are thankful to our lawyers but the challenge has been the allocation of long hours to back and forth with the patent office.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
Reid Hoffman is credited with saying “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late”.
Our legacy version was pretty embarrassing but I wish it was a little more embarrassing.
Name 3 trends that excite you.
1) 2013 is the first year that mobile internet traffic will pass desktop internet traffic.
2) Mobile is becoming a primary component of development and ERP. It is part of the total package: Social, Cloud, Big Data & Mobile.
3) There is currently a flight to acquisition of mobile start-ups.
Which entrepreneurs do you most admire?
Roger Pammer — My father and President of General Construction Pacific, Inc. (konabuilders.com)
Derek Proudian — Mobile Web America, Squaretrade, mSpot, LensVector, Panasis, Zip2
Elon Musk — Zip2, Paypal, Solar City, Tesla, SpaceX — Amazing vision! I’m willing to bet he somehow pulls together, the Energy, Space & Electric vehicle components with some sort of free energy initiative.
Reid Hoffman — This guy is the go-to source for start-ups and with the wave of his hand he can make or break a company.
What one piece of advice would you give to soon to be startup founders?
Don’t start too early and don’t start too late. Timing is everything.
You are going to love the freedom and flexibility of running your own business but make sure that you are willing to put in the hours, and make the necessary sacrifices needed to start a company from scratch.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
Growth, Growth, Growth!
We are always looking for new channels to provide our product and will be launching some new pipelines through Q2 and Q3 with partnerships that have yet to go public.
I am happy to see that m.(dot) was acquired for $15 million by GoDaddy with only 50,000 users through an iPhone app. This makes me pretty excited about the valuation of Mobile Web America, which is available through more channels, has more clients, has more functionality and more versatility.
Finished reading? Check out Mobile Web America!