By almost any measure, Poynt is a runaway success. The app is consistently ranked at or near the top of BlackBerry’s App World and, at varying times, has been ranked in the top ten apps on the iPhone. It’s even featured in one those slick Blackberry “SuperApps” commercials. But is Poynt, the eponymous company that was called Multiplied Media until last October, a one trick pony? And what about the small matter of monetizing the app? Despite having more than five million users, Poynt lost $2.73 million on revenues of just $230,000 in its most recent quarter. Of course, after the acquisition of go2media’s mobile advertising platform laid Poynt’s intentions in that area plain, many investors are thinking those kinds of numbers might soon be a thing of the past. Poynt recently announced an arrangement with Toronto’s Versant partners and Roth Capital Partners in the US to raise up to $15 million in a private placement. Cantech Letter talked to Poynt President and CEO Andrew Osis about what the future holds for Poynt.
Andrew, can you tell us how Poynt was developed and a little about the time just before it became a huge international hit?
We launched the app June of 2008. Really we started development January of that year, the back end was already complete. Remember that at that time there weren’t app stores like we have today. That even predates the success of the iPhone.
How many users does Poynt have now?
Just over 6.5 million now…
Wow. One of things the success of RIM has allowed you to do is be part of RIM’s Developer Advisory Committee. What kind of
insights have you gained from that?
That is a two way relationship. It provides feedback to RIM, and it gives us insight on what is coming next…
Let’s talk about monetization. Is your plan to monetize Poynt on track?
To tell you the truth, we were hoping to be further along last year. However, the entire industry really didn’t see a lot of success last year. This year advertisers are allocating much larger budgets to mobile. The “testing” is behind us. And now advertisers are ready to utilize the product.
When you are talking monetization. Is there anything that surprised
you in the rollout?
Lots of surprises. Most of the them good. None have really been bad.
So, what do you see Poynt’s potential as being, revenue wise?
The engagement that we have with our user base is huge. In fact, we tend to see click through rates that are ten-times the industry average, with great conversion. These are really “call to action” kind of advertisements…
When we wrote about Poynt last we alluded to the idea that some
investors may view Poynt’s Offer Engine as a type of Mobile
Groupon. Is this a fair comparison?
I think offers and coupons are the same in a fundamental way. And really when you boil it down, coupons are just ads of a different sort. The offer engine provides a more complex suite of products that small and medium sized business can offer their potential or new customers. So it can provide coupons, but it also can do much much more.
What about new products? Is Poynt a one product company right now
or do you have other things in the hopper?
We don’t regard ourselves as a one product company. Local search is so much more than one thing. We offer products on five platforms and in eight, soon to be nine countries. We recently added events, and have other information verticals that we will be adding during the second half of this year.
Can you tell us about your deal with Times Internet to launch Poynt in India. What do you think the potential is there?
India is enormous. The mobile user base is over 750 million strong. With our basic handset product we will be able to support that entire marketplace. Smart phones are growing in importance there, and so those products will be important as well. Its hard to know what we should expect from that market at this time. The user base is huge, the advertising market is good, Times Group is a fantastic partner. We believe the opportunity to be a sizeable one. It will really take the remainder of this year to fully understand the scope of that business.