Esendex: Julian Hucker

The business text message marketing company making a difference


Delivering text message marketing is common enough, but the opportunity was to legitimise as a communications and business channel, for Julian Hucker. Even though he, and co-founder Adam Bird, had a fairly good idea that they were on to a good thing, it was still a speculative move when they set up business texting solutions company Esendex.

The firm provides the wherewithal for businesses to use text to communicate with staff or mobile workers, update customers on the progress of orders and correspond with clients.

Hucker and Bird started with £25,000, and spent a year nailing the concept and technology. “Some original assumptions were off the pace and we underestimated the time it would take to sell the vision. But we commoditised the service, so clients could buy it like utilities,” says Hucker.

In the first year the company made about £35,000, but it’s perked up since, signing up Experian, Asda, NTL, the AA, Alcohol Concern and the Department of Education among close to 400 others. Essentially, these companies pay for the enabling technology and choose how they can best apply it.

Internally, blue chips are using it to do things like confirm appointments with contacts, or communicate with a mobile sales force. One project enables commuters to claim refunds for late tube trains by text message, while another client uses it to alert staff to email viruses before they log-on and for emergency drills as part of a health and safety initiative.

“It’s really down to the clients how they want to use it. We believe they can be more creative about their industry than we can. Then we enable it,” says Hucker.

Already the firm has tripled its turnover in a year and expects to double it again in less then nine months time. To support the growth, it has taken on £150,000 from a private investor and another £125,000 via the Small Firms Loan Guarantee scheme. It’s also gearing up for multimedia and 3G related services. The choice that remains is how to grow from here – organic or finance. A nice dilemma to have.

COMPANY PROFILE:

Company name: Esendex

Activity: Business SMS

Founded: 2001

Investment: ?1m

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