October 25, 2014
Company name: Comuzi Software
Founders: Alexander Fefegha, Akil Benjamin, Richard Fagbolagun and Maciej Jerdzejewski (all 20)
Background: Fefegha is a multi-award winning technology entrepreneur, shortlisted for 2014 Europe‘s Young Web Entrepreneur Award. Fagbolagun is a serial tech entrepreneur. Benjamin left a biomedical science degree at Bradford University to pursue starting a business while Jerdzejewski is a branding and user experience consultant.
Based in: Old Street, London
Very simply, what does your tech start-up do:
We build cloud communications/telephony software for UK start-ups and small and medium enterprises. We built BizChat VBX which is the virtual business phone suite built in the cloud which comes with everything every small firms need for their business to sound more professional and connected.
Built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, specifically with companies of fewer than 20 staff in mind, the cloud-based service uses virtual phone numbers alongside easy-to-use call forwarding and management features to put busy small business owners in control. It manages incoming calls with the convenience of a mobile, but gives the impression of a fixed professional landline regardless of location.
We could call it a call centre or virtual office software for start-ups and small businesses.
Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?
In our first start-up, our office did not have internet, we used an 8GB dongle for six to 10 people due to the very expensive costs of business broadband and telephone services (which was terrible). A year later, we noticed Relish – 4G broadband with unlimited data, no landline needed, and cheaper than the initial 8GB dongle we had.
Enterprise software in general has been known to have a high price tag that includes license renewals, maintenance and upgrades to servers. The costs of adopting enterprise-grade software and services has been prohibitive for most small and medium firms and poses a potential threat to delicate profit margins. Thanks to the rise of cloud services, this has begun to change, which has created great opportunities for small firms.
BizChat VBX allows startups, solo-entrepreneurs, micro and small businesses to compete with bigger companies in looking professional, creating a reputation for customer service, the flexibility – you could run your business from anywhere.
Customers are six times more likely to call landlines than mobiles, BizChat VBX can help answer more calls which could lead to more deals which leads to business growth and that’s our aim to help companies grow.
Are you funded?
No, we are self-funded. We have funded the company by doing software development work for startups, small businesses and educational intuitions. We are also under the Rackspace Startup Programme so we haven’t spent money on server costs.
We are considering taking outside investment as, while we build the software, we must pay the phone company for leasing the numbers as we want to add outgoing calls and mobile applications in the future which will allow BizChat VBX to replace a company’s telephone system.
What were you doing before starting?
Previously, we were working on a start-up which built software for record labels, music managers and independent artists. It allowed users them to track their music royalties and collect their payments faster and in an organised manner. The start-up was exited to a bigger company.
What’s the best thing about where you’re based?
At our first start-up we were based at Stratford because it was cheaper but it was inconvenient for the team to travel from their homes and travel from meetings (the music industry is based in the west side of London).
When we moved to Old Street, the team morale increased with the short travel distances to home and meetings. The start-up community here is great, especially at Google Campus, with many opportunities for developers and start-ups to meet new people.