With the launch of Helloify this week in Australia, it’s becoming increasingly clear that in 2015, we’re going to see a new kinds of online startups emerge.
Founded by Queensland-based entrepreneurs Luke Ronalds and Dan Norris, who met at a local coworking space, Helloify is a tool that allows customers and business owners to communicate with each other via a company website or by messages using a smartphone device. In short, it is a simplified, multi-platform version of the live-chat feature that you often see on websites that can be an expensive, pain in the arse to install.
“Consumers have come to love the ease of messaging their friends via apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. But what about messaging businesses? We believe consumers want the same ability to interact with businesses and not have to resort to painful experiences like calling and leaving voicemail messages,” says co-founder Norris.
“The team chat is a key differentiator. When we started development, we looked at the messaging and live chat tools on the market; the team aspect is not done well. When customers contact a business, they don’t want a reply from a chat operator, they want a solution. Having the whole team in the app means the team can work together, and solve the problem right then and there”.
Helloify is available as a web app and a native app on Windows, Mac, iPhone and Android. Co-founder Luke Ronalds elaborates, “We wanted to avoid the old school live chat experience integrating with Jabber clients and the like. Businesses expect to be able to install an app, log in once, and go. That’s particularly true with messaging, where speed is critical.”
Ronalds has been working on Helloify for the better part of the last 12 months. Norris, who is starting to build a strong reputation in the internet-based business space is also the co-founder of startup WP Curve, a 24-hour service giving WordPress users live access to a developer for maintenance and small fixes. Norris is also the author of one of Amazon’s most downloaded books in the ‘startup’ vertical this year, titled “The 7 day Startup”. I believe this is why we see him create ‘startup’ oriented tools and platforms successfully.
When it comes to what the pair have created with Helloify, there is something about the easy installation process and cloud based ‘conversation management’ system that makes me think that in 2015, we will find ourselves in a ‘tool’ based trend. This year was definitely all about ‘tasks’ – but this new found love by Australian businesses in the online space for ‘tools’ means that potentially we could see some very simple ideas grow very fast, reaching global audiences within weeks of launching.
I feel that I must clarify that when I use the word ‘tools’ I am not talking about platforms like Canva. I am specifically talking about ‘plugins’ or simple ‘installation’ style products that enhance a very specific aspect of a person’s business.
For example, a stand-out in 2014 has been the SumoMe tools launched by AppSumo founder Noah Kagan, which help businesses do a range of things such as making content more shareable and grow email subscriber lists. The installation of the suite of products is a simple one click solution, or simple addition of a line of code in WordPress. Over 800 million internet users have used the tools in some way shape or form since Kagan launched it across over 10,000 websites.
Quite often as startups and business owners, we are often looking for that ‘one’ tool that does that ‘one’ thing exceptionally. But that tool also has to be super simple to install, free or really affordable and have an easy way either via a cloud based dashboard or by way of plugin to an existing system or CRM to collect data and information.
With a focus on ‘less’ features and ‘superior’ execution in solving the instant communication conundrum between company and customer, Helloify is setting a great example from the outset on what I foresee to be a wave of ‘easy install’ tools over the next 12 months.