EvoNexus is a technology incubator and ground zero for Southern California’s startup community with locations in San Diego and Irvine. In San Diego, the downtown incubator location is home to 26 companies with a wide variety of products and services. One of the newer companies based in the downtown location is UVA mobile – a cellphone service carrier company with a unique “design your own plan” platform. I sat down with them for a Q&A about their product, launch strategy, and the triumphs and tribulations of being a startup company in a highly competitive market.
Q: What does UVA Mobile do?
A: We are an MVNO with a unique “design your own plan” platform that allows individuals to curate flexible, multi-line plans based on their needs. Consumers can allocate the amount of talk, text, data and international long distance they need.
Q: Does UVA Mobile have a niche market?
A: We are targeting multiple individual pre-paid plan users within the same household, expiring 2 year contract family plan users, and individual users with multiple devices.
Q: What is your company’s differentiator?
A: 1) “Designed by YOU” rate plan concept. 2) Flexible sharing allows you to share and 3) Multiple line account capabilities and controls on a pre-paid platform.
Q: What has been your most significant achievement?
A: We have assembled a high performing team that has been there, done that, in terms of a successful startup from launch to acquisition in the wireless service space. Also, we have identified our first group of paying customers for our early alpha release.
Q: What do you think the biggest challenge is trying to break into this industry?
A: Specific to our industry, there is a high barrier to entry. Having relationships with one or more of the big 4 carriers to gain access to the network is highly recommended. Secondly, there is significant technical risk, so employing a well, versed team with wireless experience is virtually a requirement. Lastly, there is market risk competing with MVNOs who have multi-million in marketing and sales budget along with dominance it the key distribution channels. For us, we see the biggest factor on the market risk and establishing brand awareness along with a strong launch. Consumers have multiple carrier options, none of which provide that “stickiness” experience. With a limited startup budget, it’s getting that awareness out to consumers so that they can identify with who we are and what we stand for.
Q: When will customers be able to sign up and receive services from UVA Mobile?
A: Currently people can reserve their invite now at http://uvamobile.com/ and services will be available before Valentine’s Day.
Q: How has the EvoNexus incubator helped your business?
A: It’s given us access to relationships with other technology companies, like Rackspace, as well as credibility. Also, saving money on costs by being in the incubator has helped us stay lean and agile and concentrate on getting our product to market.
Customers are apt to view us as a legitimate company since we are with EvoNexus, and investors see that we have some credibility now. We’ve also been able to build relationships with other startup companies at Evo, and even done some cross marketing with them.
Q: Speaking of investors, have you had any rounds of funding or looking to start fund raising?
A: We’ve just finished a seed round, where we raised more than $1 million and have another $1 million in over-subscription. We are actively pursuing Series A round funds.
For more information about UVA Mobile’s product and launch, visit http://uvamobile.com/