13. December 2012–
That last-minute scramble to find your keys could soon be a thing of the past if Barcelona-based startup Param 24-7XS Technologies takes off. While the startup may have a mouthful of a name, the problem it aims to solve is one that resonates with a lot of people. Officially launching in October this year, Param provides keyless entry via mobile phones to a number of locations, including homes, garages and offices.
VentureVillage caught up with cofounder André Vanyi-Robin to find out more..
Hi Andre, who are you and what are you doing?
We have developed a system that, essentially, uses mobile phones as an alternative to keys for gaining access to property. This allows anyone who wants to enter an office, an apartment, a house, the ability to do so with their mobile phone. They can also control entry remotely, so they don’t have to be in front of the door to open it.
Also, it is an intelligent system, so it records who went in, when they went in, how long they stayed. So in a nutshell, we created the company to make 24/7 access to places possible and to manage the entire experience behind opening a door. And we provide all the data surrounding the access to the door.
Why set up your startup in Barcelona?
Barcelona has a very conducive environment for creating a company. The employees have very good professional ethics, it is an affordable city, which is very supportive of innovation and entrepreneurship. Param was also recently chosen by Barcelona Activa, the local development agency of the Barcelona city council, to participate at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona in the innovation zone.
At the moment, we are in the process of setting up a local headquarters in the UK, because we want to branch out to other markets. But we want to stay in Barcelona, too.
Who are the founders and how did you find each other?
I met my cofounder, Puneet Teja, who is now based in Austria as he is in charge of business development in the German-speaking world, while we were working together at Adecq Digital, a technology developer which I cofounded. I’m an entrepreneur by genetics. I started my first company in 1996 and have continued to be involved in launching and selling a number of companies. I love the concept of turning an idea, a vision, into a viable product, and growing it.
What makes you different from everyone else?
Due to the disruptive nature of our product, we don’t have direct competitors. There are competing solutions for certain applications – such as the lock box for storing keys for realtors to view properties or the automated access solutions and security services offered by companies such as Siemens and G4S. But there isn’t a direct competitor that focuses on our three target markets or which provides the data and analytics that is produced by our solution.
What is your business model?
Based on our different product solutions, we sell our platform with a one-time fee for the hardware and software, plus an annual service fee, plus maintenance. We have an ongoing relationship with our customers through these annual fees and through the platform.
What is your target market?
Basically, the real estate market, vacation rentals, vehicle parking – like garages – are the targets for us at the moment. We have a lot of activity in the house rental industry, which is based on the same product type but with a more adapted service consideration for third parties. So people renting your house are directed to your house, you don’t have to hand over the key. They can just go to your house and access the place for the duration of their stay using an app on their mobile.
Who is financing you?
The two co-founders – myself and my business partner, Puneet Teja – own 80 per cent of the business and we have financed most of its development so far. We recently received an investment from La Caixa bank along with individual investors of €250,000, which is a great endorsement.
Is there something that you missing?
We are looking at extending our salesforce and marketing. We’re not missing anything, we’re just expanding to meet demands.
Who would you like to have a lunch with and what would you talk about?
I would truly enjoy the privilege of having lunch with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and discuss how Amazon pioneered the bridging of real world commerce and online commerce to create a seamless interaction, so that no distinction could be made between the two spheres. I would like to learn from him as Param 24 7 XS aspires to do the same, with respect to bridging the online world with the physical world of doors! Not coincidentally, Amazon hosts our 24 7 XS platform!
Any advice you’d give for fellow startups?
I guess find an ecosystem in which you can get the support you need. I don’t necessarily mean Barcelona.
I think incubators are really great, because if you’re accepted into an incubator it means your business model is already somewhat realistic and viable, as other people have recognised it. Plus they provide you with the opportunity to meet and connect with a lot of investors, who are always open to investing in the next big company, which is hopefully you!
Where will you be in a years time?
We should have a well-validated business model, definitely have proven you can use your phone to open doors, regardless of what doors – making the question of whether there is a market for remote door opening redundant.
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