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Enterprise Hub Network - Case History

Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Hub
Martin Brassell


Company Background

Founded in January 2006 by Martin Davis and Sacha Vekeman, Mobiya has developed a system to give newspaper and magazine publishers, and classified advertising portals, a cost-effective way to exploit the burgeoning mobile advertising market without having to wrestle with the complexities of evolving technology.

Traditional print-based media companies and online classified publishers face two challenges: their need to innovate their products to remain competitive and drive revenues, and a requirement to improve efficiency and so protect their margins. Mobiya is taking the long-established classified advertising market and combining it with new mobile technologies to bring classifieds to mobiles via an easy to use and fully automated platform.

Clients include Metro, the leading free daily newspaper in Belgium, and Reed Business Information in the UK. Mobiya’s platform is powering new mobile brands such as Buzz, SMS Deal and 123 Contact, that have been launched as mobile classifieds services by these large media groups.

Mobiya’s vision and its potential market are both global. Development work for the flagship product, Mobiya System One, has been carried out in the UK, Belgium and Egypt.

Work with the Enterprise Hub

With high profile careers in large corporations including Sony Entertainment and NTT Online, the founders had a good business idea, but no experience of working in a small start-up, or of developing a business plan.

Martin and Sacha contacted Business Link, which put them in contact with Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Hub, and Finance South East, which provided the template for a business plan. Martin and Sacha put Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Hub’s resources to use in a variety of different ways, including:

  • Specialist advice and support from mentors to shape the business plan appropriately, for a variety of different interested parties
  • Specific assistance with registering patents and trademarks
  • Ongoing advice on grants and funding sources

In addition, Martin Davis says that the availability of a business advisor at a regular meeting every couple of weeks has been invaluable, providing both a general sounding board for ideas, and also specific advice on getting the approaches to funding bodies and investors right.

Martin said: “Getting those initial approaches right is crucial – it’s a bit like dating or a job interview, and first impressions really count. Having an experienced business mentor who can help us to locate contacts, and who is then available to bounce ideas off, is hugely valuable.  He helps us focus on what is going to be most important to each organisation we approach, making us much more effective in securing the funding we need.”

Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Hub director Martin Brassell said: “Mobiya’s rapid progress over the past year is a tribute to its highly effective management team and the strong market appeal of the concept; it makes classified advertising fit for the 21st century.”

What’s next

Martin Davis has big ambitions for Mobiya, and his goal is to make the company a major player in the rapidly growing mobile advertising sector. To bring this about, he has made the difficult decision to devote the majority of his time to finding the funding the business will need, and to investor relations, leaving the bulk of the development and sales work to Mobiya’s team of ten. The relationship with Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Hub, and the expertise it offers in this area, is therefore likely to remain important.

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