22 April 2016
Chris Xavier, the brains behind UK telco Beehive Telecom, has launched Korubu, a software startup aimed at enabling businesses to tap into customer data and social interaction through their Wifi network.
The idea for Korubu came out of Chris
Xavier’s earlier days of working in the
hospitality and telecoms industry before setting up Beehive, a provider
of business phone system and SMS marketing services, in
"After working with several restaurants and bar chains in
recent years with my telecoms company Beehive, I saw a real
missed opportunity when it came to the Wifi network and all the
people in these venues connecting to it. I wanted to create a
product which provided mutual benefits for the business and the
customer," says Xavier.
During his time working there, Xavier observed the volume of
people "going in and out without any customer data being
Bars and restaurants are a huge market with their volume of
customers, says Xavier of the platform’s initial
target market. "Very few businesses can match that sort of
value. If a larger proportion of the catering market was using
that software, the amount of data that could be harvested is
How it works is simple: Upon joining a venue’s
Wifi network, users are presented with a fully branded and
customised page – exclusive to the retailer. To access
the network, they must log in with their email address, phone
number or social media account. After which, they will be
prompted to like a Facebook page, subscribe to a mailing list
or provide a phone number to connect with the venue.
Through Korubu’s platform, retailers can then
use insight from the data to create targeted marketing
campaigns, via SMS, email or social media, from the
"Retail is going to be the big opportunity," says the
Brazilian-born entrepreneur. Advanced analytics will be
required to demonstrate return on investment.
"That’s why we are developing things like
applications and voucher codes, and trying to close the loop in
The startup is also looking to include additional
functionalities such as heat mapping analytics to track
consumer behaviour and customer profiling using insight from
social media channels.
Xavier says there is a big difference between buying data
and sending blanket messages on the one hand and sending
valuable deals to users – as Korubu does. Korubu began
beta testing in February to measure its potential traction.
Over 100 businesses across the UK – from bars and
restaurants to hotel groups and football clubs – have
signed up to the platform.
To date, Xavier has invested around £300,000 in the
platform. Within the next year, he aims to secure monthly
revenues of about £150,000, mainly from licence fees and
text messages currently priced at £40 and 4p a month
So far Korubu is capturing about 2,000 contacts a month for
each retailer, said Xavier, and he expects that to grow beyond
its original target market. "We are doubling and tripling their
contact in a very short time with very little