As an app, Calgary-based Poynt has been an unqualified success. The GPS enabled location-based search application recently surpassed eleven million users, and has grown 158% in the past year alone.
Poynt got a foothold in the market through its popularity on BlackBerry devices. When the company made the app available for the iPhone, in March of 2010, it had two-million users on the Blackberry platform.
The subsequent growth has come from iPhone users (Poynt is consistently in the Top 10 iPhone search apps) but also because the company worked hard to shed the potential one-trick-platform label and make itself available across Apple, Android, and Nokia devices and platforms.
For a time, the success of Poynt the company moved in lockstep with the app. In 2007, shares of the company, which was then known as Multiplied Media, raced to a high of $.85 cents. The economic downturn of 2008 slammed Poynt as it did most other stocks. But for Poynt, this created a lasting disconnect between the success of the app that remains today. The battle-weary investors of 2008 through 2010 may have been more inclined to look at bottom line of the company than the millions of users the app has added, and Poynt’s balance sheet has done little to quell those concerns. The company lost $8.49-million in 2010 on revenues of just $927,419. On Wednesday, shares of Poynt closed at fourteen cents.
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But will an an injection of new blood at Poynt signal a revival in the stock’s fortunes? Last week, the company named industry veteran Yves Millette, former President and CEO of Intuit Canada, as its new President.
Intuit Canada was was founded in 1992 in Edmonton and provided Windows based tax preparation products. The company was acquired by ChipSoft the next year. ChipSoft was subsequently acquired by US giant Intuit (NASD:INTU). Under Millette, Intuit Canada revenues grew from $65-million to $160-million.
Millette believes that the time is right for Poynt to aggressively pursue a strategy that puts money in the bank for the company. When Cantech Letter caught up with him today, we asked whether his biggest goal is to monetize the Poynt app or continue to try and grow its usership. Millette told us “They cannot be separated. My goal is It is in fact to continue user growth and to monetize Poynt.”
So what form will this take? The company’s recent deal in India with Times Internet Ltd., the Internet and mobile venture of India’s largest media house, offers some insight. That company did a private label deal of sorts, launching an offering called timesPoynt in India. It plans to market and promote timesPoynt through all its substantial media properties.
Poynt says its revenue model with Times Internet its revenue model is “based on user queries, page views, advertising and transactions within the app.” Poynt management believes it is well positioned to benefit from the transaction aspect of these type of deals, because, as they pointed out in a press release today “Consumers using Poynt are typically in the purchase funnel”, meaning you are pretty likely to eat at a local restaurant if you have just searched for it on your iPhone.
But the specific search information generated by Poynt is also perfect for contextual advertising. Notice those ads for lawnmowers popping up on your Facebook page when you mention in your status that you need to mow the lawn? That’s contextual advertising, and it’s a booming business.
A recent study by US based research firm Gartner confirmed that shows that by 2015, “context-aware technologies” will influence a $96 billion worth of what consumers spend every year.
Gartner’s William Clare says “The disruptions caused by context-aware computing will include major user, technology and business shifts, including the use of model-driven security in fraud detection and prevention, convergence in television, game, web and mobile advertising and new styles of application programming.”
Poynt shareholders are hoping their piece of that future began on November 3rd, with the arrival of Mr. Millette.