We recently covered MiName, and how they want to put cold calls at bay or turn them into profit. The South African startup belives one’s information is big business to be messed about with that they decided they were doing something about it.
Now firms will never have to pick your personal information and use it to give you calls all the time and nag you into buying stuff you have no interest in or visist a place you will never want even even for free.
TechMoran caught up with Gaurav Nair,co-founder MiName and this is what he told us.
What is MiName.co.za?
MiName is a game changer! It gives people control of their information and allows them to benefits from their actions.
Companies win too. They get prospective customers who are interested in their products and brands, waiting for the companies’ phone calls. These customers are brought right to their door.
When was it launched and where?
We have not had an official launch but the site is up, operational and we are rapidly signing partners up and gearing up for an integrated marketing campaign to attract users to the site.
Who are its founders?
Derrick Hyde (Actuary), Lawrence Joffe (Engineer) and me, Gaurav Nair (Actuary).
What problem do you solve?
For the consumer – we want to bring an end to cold calling exploitation! Many companies get your information, such as your contact details, ID numbers, interest or needs, etc. in order to construct a database. The companies trick you into giving the information by offering competitions, quoting services or information about products or access to websites. They then sell this information to other companies who are looking to increase their sales. A typical deal might be $0.15 per name. In a database of one million names this could be $15 000. So profits are big!
For corporates – they are currently wasting resources and damaging their brand by purchasing leads and cold calling. With MiName they get leads who actually want their services and want to engage with their brand. Ultimately this leads to a lower, de-risked cost of acquisition.
How does it work?
MiName.co.za is the first place that a tech savvy customer comes when looking for a product. They tell us about what they want. Now, most importantly, we ask them which companies they would like to contact them. The information is only sent to these companies, who take the information and find the products that best match what the person is looking for. They contact the customer, give them a quote and one of the companies may then go on to make a sale to the customer.
The customer then gets paid for their information, unlike with normal cold calling where some other company makes the money.
We reward them all along the way, paying them for the information about what products they want, paying them for closing sales, paying them for telling their friends about it and paying them for feedback.
Take us through your features
An easy online search – which saves you time, no need to look for companies that provide what you want. A concierge service – where companies call you with products you want. And of-course payments for every valuable action.
We are releasing new features next month where people will get paid for posting about their purchases on social networks and also payments for feedback on products and services.
Companies get interested customers, marketing to their target market through social networks and feedback on their sales process and products.
How any users so far?
We only soft launched on 1 February. So far the reaction has been great especially since we haven’t begun marketing yet. Our target for the year is 50 000 active users just in SA and 200 000 the year after.
What is your business model?
Our business model is unique in that we give the people who use our website the value of their actions. There is a minimal margin on each transaction and the majority of the value is returned to the user.
Any competition in J-burg or SA?
There are no direct competitors in the SA market. While there are many lead providers, what differentiates MiName is the direct engagement with the customers who will eventually buy the products. By being honest and giving the customer the value, we are able to bring companies the customers who are ready to buy.
How unique are you from them?
The MiName offering is unlike anything else in the market. From the value proposition of rewarding consumers for their information and actions, to our philosophy of total transparency. The consumer remains in control of their information at all times.
From a corporate perspective as well, we don’t just give our partners leads, we give them potential customers – that is unique.
Any funding yet? How much?
We’ve been funded $135 000. We are in the process of identifying additional funding from a partner who believes in our values of transparency, user control and fairness.
We have a partnership with Microsoft. We are working with their Bizspark Plus programme. Plus we are investigating partnerships with other companies. Our lead-customers are big credible names and can be trusted. They’ve bought into the MiName concept as the future of customer acquisition.
We are making excellent progress and getting a firm record of success and testimonials is our core focus at this time. We’ve had great success with companies so far, since they only pay for sales closed. There is no risk for them.
What are your future plans? Do you want to be Africa wide?
Our first priority is to grow into Africa. We think the proposition will be very compelling to Africans, who are accessing the internet more and more. We believe there will be a market for Africans who want to begin the sales process remotely (via a call centre after requesting a call via MiName) but complete in person. This is especially compelling when one doesn’t have a credit card or banking facilities to complete the process remotely.
What else have done that is successful?
Between the 3 founders we have started 3 companies (a financial consulting company, a lifestyle goods distribution company, a telematics company), however this is our first foray into global mass market e-commerce.