What is BuzzMob, and how did you and your team get started in this field?
BuzzMob is a location-based mobile platform that enables places, businesses and live events to create virtual communities based on location and shared interests. Available for iOS and Android devices, BuzzMob brings mobile users exclusive location-based curated content and allows events and businesses to engage fans in real time though special event offers, trivia and promotions.
The original idea for BuzzMob came to me at a Los Angeles Angels game. There was a minute of downtime when I was looking around the stadium, and in that moment, nearly every person in the stands was staring at their cell phone.
Everyone seemed to be on either Facebook or Twitter sharing that they were at the game, looking at their friends’ pictures of cats, etc., and I thought, “There are 45,000 people here all doing the same thing. Why aren’t they all connected to each other, and why aren’t the Angels connected to us all?”
This started our quest to create BuzzMob.
In 2011, I teamed up with my co-founder Edmond Wong (now BuzzMob’s COO), and we founded the company in Irvine, Calif. We started development on a beta version of the app and raised a $600,000 angel round of financing. In the first year, we drove successful pilot programs with the American Film Institute’s AFI FEST and Stan Lee’s Comikaze expo.
In October of last year, we successfully raised $2 million in funding to invest in building out BuzzMob’s back-end technology. We recently brought on seasoned industry veteran (and StubHub’s founding CTO) Shawn Kernes to oversee feature development. We are currently in talks with several major professional sports teams and stadiums and are also looking at significantly growing our local user base through implementing business and school pilot programs throughout the Orange County area.
What trends and changes in the market led you to realize that Buzzmob would fill a void?
As social media services have grown in popularity, the sheer amount of user-generated content, tweets, spam and updates are increasingly rendering these services ineffective and disengaging. This is especially true for brands and small businesses, which are faced with a fire hose of information and fans with no clear path for monetization.
BuzzMob has been designed to solve this problem. By using location to cut down the “information overload,” BuzzMob bridges the gap between social networks and live community, delivering catered mobile content directly to you based on location and interest.
How should brands utilize BuzzMob to deliver timely, location-based social experiences to their fans?
We’ve built BuzzMob from the ground up to serve as a real-time content delivery platform for brands, enabling them to engage and attract new customers. Currently, we are working directly with brands to create custom “mobs” around specific locations. Brands can use BuzzMob to promote new services and engage with customers nearby via chat, photos and rich media.
BuzzMob’s flexible platform is designed to easily integrate into existing applications.
Other brands will use our platform to create “mobs” at their business/retail store location and will curate content to deliver a unique experience for anyone entering their space.
What types of content can be shared via BuzzMob? What are fans sharing?
BuzzMob currently allows you to share text (what we call buzz), photos, links and third-party conversation data from Twitter and Facebook. We are also looking at adding additional video sharing features.
Can you give an example of a brand that used BuzzMob in a particularly innovative way?
While our focus has only recently turned to location and brand partnerships, we’ve already had a few great experiences working with some exciting partners and events. We recently partnered with Global Green USA, the American affiliate of Green Cross International, for their 2013 pre-Oscar party event. The evening included dinner and fundraising events as well as a semi-private concert with Willie Nelson. Global Green used BuzzMob to digitally connect attendees throughout the night, and we gave them the ability to donate money on the spot through the app. What was even more exciting was Global Green using BuzzMob to live poll the crowd to select what Willie Nelson’s encore song would be! It was a great night.
How do you see real-time, location-based social evolving in the next three years?
Mobile usage is slated to exceed desktop usage in the next 18 months. That is huge! A lot of players are trying to capitalize on increased mobile usage coupled with increased social networking communication, and we think you’ll see most of them continue taking complex approaches to what are relatively simple problems. Some will gravitate toward the friend-discovery, dating and meet-up space; while others will go after neighborhood dynamics, local reviews and the mobile wallet.
Needless to say, we think that location-based platforms are an incredible growth area right now and will be for the foreseeable future.
We feel the strengths of our approach at BuzzMob lies in using location as the key interest indicator and location as a curation mechanism. Our tactics require a lot of precision in their simplicity, with the ultimate goal of defragmenting your social experiences and reducing friction for content consumption and discovery.
President and CEO Jeff Jackel brings a decade of experience in building and implementing creative and strategic business models and managing teams to execute against those strategies.
Jeff started as a producer in the entertainment industry before launching BrightHouse Pictures, a pioneer company in branded entertainment, with Atlanta-based branding firm Brighthouse, whose clients included Anthem, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and Home Depot. Jeff then co-founded the fashion brand Hozell Clothing, where he assumed the role of president and marketing director, growing the brand into national retailers like Bloomingdales, Barneys and Urban Outfitters.
Most recently, Jeff conceived and founded BuzzMob, a location-based platform that brings social media communication to real-world places and events. With a proven track record of success in entrepreneurship and collaborative endeavors in the entertainment, marketing and consumer goods industries, Jeff’s focus is building brand value and generating growth through integrated marketing and strategic media solutions.
Originally published May 2, 2013 1:00:02 AM, updated July 28 2017