A life in the day of... Chris Xavier, CEO and founder

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 2012. Chris Xavier Korubu 280px

"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 captured".

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 immense." 

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 dashboard.

"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 marketing terms." 

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 respectively. 

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 effort." 

Topics: Chris Xavier, Beehive, telecoms, Wifi, big data, retail, SMS, Korubu