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Building a SMS API Company from London: Nexmo CEO Tony Jamous (Part 6)

Posted on Tuesday, Mar 26th 2013

Sramana: What were the major business milestones of 2012?

Tony Jamous: First and foremost, we turned profitable and cash flow positive. We were a small team of 10 people. Our model has a lot of success with high volume senders because we let them cut out the middleman. We target the existing market first and foremost. Each time you move a hop in the chain, you lower latency and increase deliverability, and we did all of that at a lower price point.

Sramana: How do your customers find you?

Tony Jamous: Through Google search and word of mouth. Quora is immensely popular.

Sramana: How did you cultivate Quora?

Tony Jamous: Early on I used to write questions and answers there. I ended up getting really busy so I stopped, and when I came back several months later, I found that a nice community had developed. They did a great job of explaining the difference between our model and everyone else’s. They evangelized on our behalf.

Sramana: Do you do organic search optimization, or do you do PPC?

Tony Jamous: We started purely with organic search. Even today we only do about $200 a day on PPC. It could get really expensive, so we are looking to outsmart the competition and build a more efficient PPC campaign. I am measuring results, but I am not sure we are going to continue that campaign.

Sramana: Do you know who your competitors’ customers are?

Tony Jamous: We know the types of customers who use us. We know how to segment the market and where the source of our customer traffic is coming from.

Sramana: Doesn’t it make sense to build a sales force and go after that market proactively?

Tony Jamous: We have started that. I am building a sales force in Europe, Asia and the U.S. Our business development director just moved to San Francisco. We opened offices in Asia, and we just hired our sales director in EMEA.

Sramana: My guess is that this is something you could do very well with inside sales.

Tony Jamous: I agree. We have always been overwhelmed with leads and demand. Inside sales is definitely the best return on investment for us.

Sramana: All you need to do is get in front of people using these services and explain why you are making it faster and cheaper. That sale can be done online.

Tony Jamous: Our market is now mature. We are not explaining what SMS is. There are challenges building an effective inside sales team. We have to learn from our mistakes and move forward.

Sramana: How big is your company today?

Tony Jamous: We have 18 people now. Everyone has one or more nationalities.

Sramana: Is your operation largely in London?

Tony Jamous: We have 10 people here in London. We also have an office in Madrid and an office in San Francisco. We are opening an office in Asia. We do have people in France working from home. We did not really plan on having such a diverse organization, but it is a fun and rich place to work. I love going to work every day.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Building a SMS API Company from London: Nexmo CEO Tony Jamous
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