Bringing Order to the Address Book, Sensobi Targets Underserved Blackberry Mobile App Customers
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them, first with a free application it started offering on its website this summer after several months of development. With months of tweaks and internal improvements to its online version, Sensobi’s finished app hit BlackBerry’s app store around Thanksgiving, selling for $10. A free, test-run version provides a limited analysis of users’ top 10 contacts.
Since its initial rollout this summer, more than 10,000 people have downloaded the Sensobi address book in about 40 different countries, some of which don’t even offer English platforms on their phones, Kulkarni notes. He says he’s confident that using the free version of the address book will incite users to purchase Sensobi in full, especially to unleash its potential in strengthening mobile relationships that have gone cold.
It might be obvious that your business partner would be your top contact in the Sensobi address book, as Cheung, who’s now based in Holland, is in Kulkarni’s. But Sensobi doesn’t just tell you what you already know—it shows you who you’re unintentionally forgetting and offers practical solutions to reconnecting with them.
Users can see the contacts who have obtained few points and set up reminders to call them at regular intervals. They can also tag certain calls for follow-up, assignments that can synch with calendars on other software programs such as Outlook. The notifications are grouped together on a to-do list, a one-stop visualization for those who use the time they’re stuck in line or waiting for a flight to catch up on phone calls. If users fail to keep up with their assignments, the Sensobi address book will brand that contact as falling off users’ radars. (In addition to providing a limited analysis of just your top 10 contacts, the free Sensobi app only lets users hook reminders to those 10 contacts and set calendar appointments a week in advance.)
Sensobi is exploring a possible expansion to the iPhone and Android, as part of its quest to make enough money off the app to fund the company, Kulkarni says. At present, the team is funded by their own savings, friends and family, and a $12,000 infusion from TechStars, a three-month entrepreneurs’ boot camp that accepted Sensobi as part of its inaugural Boston class. Most of the TechStars funding is still in the bank, though, says Kulkarni. He and Cheung—the company’s only employees—don’t yet take salaries. Kulkarni does most of his work out of the nearly empty Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house at MIT, which was vacated following the organization’s expulsion from the school in September. An ATO alum and entrepreneur has since invited Sensobi and a few other startup companies to work alongside him in the house.
Sensobi is also looking to expand the app by incorporating data from users’ social networking sites into the software’s communication analysis. But rather than simply telling you how many “friends” you have, Sensobi seeks to make sense of those connections, whether online or mobile. “What we want to get back to is understanding what your actual social network is—not the one created on Facebook or Twitter, but one that consists only of the people you actually talk to,” says Cheung.
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