Home Articles Incubator Blue Chilli gets in on (rich) mobile apps

Incubator Blue Chilli gets in on (rich) mobile apps


Loyalty and rewards programs are a rage in this day and age of marketing one-upmanship. For several years now, these programs have been monitored and delivered in a variety of ways. Coinciding with the growing popularity of smartphones, smart developers have begun to disrupt this market by creating fairly simple apps but adding far greater convenience to the consumer.

Vividways has been one such smart developer, operating in the niche health and pharmaceutical sectors and holding contracts worth $2 million. The mobile apps Vividways has developed helps retail pharmacies engage with patients while delivering everyday marketing campaigns, including functionality such as a store locator, online catalogues, up-to-date pharmacy-related news, promotions and loyalty programs.

Blue Chilli, the incubator and “venture technology” firm, last week acquired the Rose Bay company for an undisclosed amount.

Why Blue Chilli – which has created the unique proposition of offering technology expertise, rather than finance, to new ventures– chose Vividways as its first acquisition is clear when you hear what the startup’s founder Paul Williams had to say.

A ‘springboard’ acquisition

“We recognised that Blue Chilli could take our value proposition, extend it to other vertical sectors  and cement it as a loyalty and marketing platform through the team’s technology expertise,” said Williams, who will continue to work with Blue Chilli. “We look forward to the journey ahead.”

The acquisition fits in neatly with the ambitions of Blue Chilli and its founder Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, who once boasted of creating and selling a condom company without actually making a single condom.

“Vividways offered a very compelling combination; loyalty marketing on a mobile channel proven in an established vertical market,” said Eckersley-Maslin, who was a weapons engineer with the Navy before turning an entrepreneur. “I’m proud to announce this, our first acquisition, as it demonstrates the strength of our model and our ambitions.”

Besides technology, primarily web applications, Blue Chilli offers marketing, branding and business development skills to online startups. This “venture technology” partnership enables zero investment in technology, and all capital raised can be used for marketing, according to Blue Chilli.

“Whether we build, buy or collaborate, Blue Chilli is creating a hothouse of tech talent and products that drive innovative business, from web applications, sites and mobile apps, custom software, through to marketing tools,” said founder Eckersley-Maslin.

Last year, Blue Chilli invested in Steps Learning, an online e-learning application that guides small businesses through setting up Facebook for their businesses; and RenterFixer.com, an online system for property managers to easily manage property maintenance with tenant tools and a contractor marketplace. Its other investments include a disruptive life insurance online platform and a social e-commerce platform called Swarmin.

Blue Chilli has a collaborative co-working space to house entrepreneurs and developers, and incubates a number of startups in Sydney and Melbourne. Domenic Carosa’s Future Capital is an investor in Blue Chilli.