Dan Calderone, MobileBytes CEO has solid advice for ISV startups. Calderone says the most important lesson he’s learned about business is summed up in a quote by Calvin Coolidge, which was often restated by Ray Kroc:
“While having a great product or business idea is important, what matters most is how hard you work and how dedicated you are to achieving success. Persistence is imperative,” Calderone says.
The Great Idea
MobileBytes recognized a common disconnect between restaurants and their guests. This communication breakdown causes long wait times, mix-ups with orders, and, often, dissatisfied customers. MobileBytes realized it could create a solution that improves guest experiences in restaurants by closing the communication gap between the restaurant and its patrons. And for restaurants, better guest experiences add up to better revenue.
The Great Product
MobileBytes created software that allows guests to communicate with the MobileBytes point of sale (POS) system by using their phones or web browsers. Using the guest app, customers can order ahead, scan their receipts to pay from their smartphones, and look back at previous orders so they can remember the menu items they’ve tried.
The software also makes it easy for restaurants to engage customers. Using iBeacon technology, the software can invite customers to skip the line when they arrive at the restaurant — or even send offers when they’re nearby. The software also has built-in loyalty, so guests can scan their receipts to earn points and track rewards from their app.
MobileBytes made sure its iPad POS also made it easy for restaurant staff to communicate with customers. It features waitlist management with text guest notifications and conversational ordering, and the native POS app continues to operate if the internet connection is disrupted.
Persistence Pays Off
Calderone points out, however, that in addition to developing a great product that addresses a prevalent challenge in the industry, a key aspect of MobileBytes’ success is persistence. “We never give up,” Calderone says. “Every start-up encounters challenges, but you have to face them head-on and persevere. For every obstacle that we faced, we found a way to overcome it. Our dedication to the business and confidence in our product show with each step we take, and we keep moving forward.”
And MobileBytes’ forward progress is impressive. Since launching the software in 2013, the number of counter service restaurants, table service restaurants, and bars in the U.S. using MobileBytes software has grown by more than 100 percent each year. MobileBytes sells through a reseller channel, which is also growing.
MobileBytes is actually the third successful startup for Calderone. In 1991, he co-founded 2-Point Courier, a same-day delivery solution, starting with only two employees and a few thousand dollars. After running 2-Point Courier for five years, they sold it to a public company. In 1999, he co-founded CXT Software, which builds software for the same-day delivery industry. CXT is currently a leading software provider in its space with 50+ employees.
Advice for ISV Startups
Calderone has this advice for ISV startups: “Look for business opportunities where you can visualize a better way. Think: the taxi industry before Uber, file sharing before Dropbox, or the payments industry before Visa. Build a team, build a product, and execute your plan. If you don’t have enough money, find it. Make the company your life and don’t give up. You may need to tweak your direction a bit, but don’t give up. Did I mention, don’t give up? Oh yeah, don’t give up!”