“There are over 1.8 million apps available, this is a massive market. It has become very significant problem for brands that people download apps and disregard them or forget about them. We have designed a piece of software, Element Wave, which dramatically increases mobile app usage for business to consumer brands,” explains Element CEO and founder Dorothy Creaven. She explains that it works by analysing app usage and delivering push messages to users.
Winner of the Irish Seedcorn Intertrade Ireland 2013 award in the New Start category, Element Software is starting 2014 with plans to fundraise and expand internationally.
Set up in 2011 at Dock Rd in Galway, the company currently employs five. It launched on the market in October last year and is in negotiations with a number of companies in the retail, gaming, travel and media sectors.
Ms Creaven says that problems experienced by brands who are failing to keep app users engaged, mean the “market is wide open for this type of technology”.
“There are competitors in this space, mostly in the US but we believe we have an edge since we provide the ability for brands to target mobile app users by geo-location and provide brands with deep insights into their mobile audience in real time.”
The Element Wave is being offered to brands on a software-as-a-service basis. “It works by giving real-time analysis of how people are using their apps. It tells what the most popular times for using the apps and shows live location updates and app usage patterns. It can send relevant content to specific users and it can bring apps to the attention of users who have forgotten about it,’’ reveals Ms Creaven. In setting up the company Ms Creaven, an electronic engineer who had worked for Google and Abbott Vascular, joined forces with James Harkin a Physics graduate with experience in the telecom industry.
Initially the company offered app development services and its early customers included Sage CRM and Ericsson. By 2012 the two entrepreneurs had identified an opportunity to develop a product which would tackle the problem of user retention for brands who were struggling to keep users engaged.
Element Software secured a place on Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme in June and began researching the market, validating the concept and talking to potential customers.
It also received support from Galway City & County Enterprise Board.
During 2013 the company won a Best Emerging Business Small Firms Association award and secured Competitive Start Fund investment from Enterprise Ireland. Employing an additional three staff, the company spent 18 months developing the Element Wave technology which was beta tested in early 2013 and officially launched at Apps World conference in London in October.
“The response has been very positive and we are now in negotiations with a variety of companies. One of our first customers was the GAA which used it in the run-up to the All Ireland finals last year.
It was used to drive people into the stands, to get out special offers and to create awareness of local games taking place,” reveals Ms Creaven.
She says that Element is now in discussions with in the region of 80 companies.
“We aim to have a few hundred customers by the end of the year which will include several multinational brands.”
Plans for 2014 include fundraising, recruiting and opening offices in Britain and the US. Winning the Seedcorn award which provided a cash prize of €50,000 was very significant for the company.
“This has been a major boost, it has helped raise our profile and put us in contact with investors.”
She expects to conclude the fundraising round in the second quarter this year. After that, the aim is to recruit sales, marketing and technical staff with a view to increasing the workforce to 10 or 12 over 2014.
A key part of plans for international launch will be adding a major enhancement to the Element Wave plug-in. Ms Creaven couldn’t give specifics but said this would give Element an extra edge on its competition.”
It is a first-to-market tool that will give brands unrivalled insight into the behaviour and patterns of use inside their apps.
“This is something which will help brands increase user retention even further and give them much greater opportunities to drive revenue from their most engaged customers,’’ she says.
This year Element plans to gain traction in the British and US markets — long-term it is aiming to establish itself as an international market leader in this space.
* Company: Element Software.
* Location: Galway.
* CEO: Dorothy Creaven. nProduct: Mobile app services.
* Staff: Five.
* Website: www.elementwave.com