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Bruce Seymour, managing director of MEA Mobile, New Haven, Conn.

| 05.27.2013 |

How did we ever live without apps? Well, for about 5,000 years (give or take a century), we did. But for the next 5,000 years, it is easy to assume that we will be living with apps - and for many people, the apps being used are created by Bruce Seymour's MEA Mobile.

 

 

Who is Bruce Seymour and MEA Mobile? Funny that you should ask...

 

Q: What was inspired you to create your company? And was this the first time you created your own organization?

 

Bruce Seymour: The design and functionality of Apple's original iPhone inspired the founding of MEA Mobile. The iPhone is the best example of convergence in consumer electronics since desktop internet. MEA Mobile was first incubated by leading innovation management company, Macfarlane Engel & Associates. Once we hit a few benchmarks we built a case to spin out MEA Mobile into a separate organization.

 

Today, we have offices in New Haven, Connecticut, as well as in Hamilton and Auckland New Zealand. We've grown our staff from a single programmer to over 30 employees worldwide. We're growing the team aggressively in New Haven; we're very proud to be a part of job growth in Connecticut.

 

I've been a serial entrepreneur since I was 19. Partnering with my childhood best friend Mitch Rochefort, we grew mom and pop video store into a small regional chain. I was able to pay my way through college and attained my last college credit by doing an internship for myself. From there I transitioned into technology and found my home in mobile. The official launching anniversary for MEA Mobile is April 30, 2010.

 

Q: What have been some of the challenges in starting and maintaining your company?

 

Bruce Seymour: We find keeping a full supply of Keurig K-Cups is a struggle. Beyond coffee and email addiction, my biggest challenge is trying to not be afraid to fail. As an emerging company, building a solid team is challenging. We're very lucky to have our current group, but you know going in not everyone you hire will work out. Every new hire is important to creating a culture and fostering a positive working environment.

 

We were one of the first registered developers for the iPhone and worked on mobile Web services for restaurants. The project was a flop. From there, we experimented with a range of smaller apps to gain market insight and started developing our code base.

 

Q: And conversely, what have been some of the high points of this endeavor?

 

Bruce Seymour: Some of those early products, such as Zipnote, I still use today. Zipnote is still the fastest way to send yourself an email. From there we found our niche creating apps in the video filter space. One of our most successful projects, with over a million users is iSupr8. Our iSupr8 app for iPhone & iPad is Instagram for video, making your video clips look like old Super 8mm film. No one has been able to match the quality of our output. Today, we're an established leader developing mobile photo and video products. We also license the technologies behind apps like iSupr8, Cinebleach and Printicular to third parties.

 

We have a passion for imaging. With photo and video, enabling users to look good with a tap or two is our strength. You can see this in action with products such as Part, iLapse and Grid Filter. The high point of the company so far as been working with Walgreens on our Printicular app. Printicular enables you to access pictures from your photo sources and send them to Walgreens. If you have pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Filckr,Dropbox, Picasa, or Google+, you can now access these photos and print them out at Walgreens. With over 8,000 locations across the U.S. there's a store within a few minutes of everyone. Printicular is available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices including the Samsung Galaxy S series.

 

Q: How have you been able to promote your message? And what kind of a feedback have you received, to date?

 

Bruce Seymour: Our "Print Memories" campaign with Printicular has been very successful because we're offering a free app which makes it easy for users to send their photos to Walgreens, and we're giving them a code for 25% off their photo print orders - it's an easy sell. Printicular began a new category of apps for the company known as Photo Assistant apps. We're at the beginning of rolling out more products in this category. We've now released Canvas Print, which allows you to select your Instagram pictures and get a beautiful ready to hang 12"x12" print on canvas.

 

Q: What professional advice would you give to someone who is interested in following your example and launching their own endeavor?

 

Bruce Seymour: Look for an enterprise with a barrier to entry. If there's no barrier to entry, you're going to have many competitors and it will be tough to differentiate. The barrier doesn't have to be financial, such as tooling costs or infrastructure. Barriers can be specialized knowledge, skills, relationships, real estate, anything which would make it hard for an average person to compete with you.

 

I'm also a believer in reading long form books of any kind. Today it’s a critical brain exercise to correct the rewiring issues Web-viewing causes.

 

Bruce Seymour's MEA Mobile is online at www.meamobile.com.