After studying accounting and computer information systems at Victoria University of Wellington, Tarik Mallett (Mobi2Go Founder and CEO) joined one of the top four accounting firms where he worked on business continuity plan simulations, cyber crime investigations and computer forensics. He was assigned to work in San Francisco for 3 months. The experience in the US piqued his interest in the vibrant tech start up scene.
This was the catalyst for Tarik leaving his 9am-5pm job and founding a mobile marketing company in Wellington offering group text solutions. The concept meant that restaurants would do a text blast out to customers who had opted in to receive texts with messages like – “Hey! it’s a beautiful day, 2 for 1 Heineken”.
It grew into a nice business but there were a couple of learnings. In order to scale we had to integrate with all telcos in every country we wished to operate. We also did not own the platform, we were wholesaling text messages. This limited what we could do.
After a couple of pivots with Group Text which included working with supermarkets, energy companies and sports teams, we hit success with Mobi2Go.
Mobi2Go came about through partnership with a hospitality customer. They asked us to create a “text in” order system.
With my knowledge of the text space and having grown up in the hospitality business, I knew that this was not going to be the best medium to do this. Looking at it strategically, there were businesses wanting to transact online with their customers but there was no easy way to do it without doing it themselves. That’s were Mobi2Go was bornTarik Mallett, CEO Mobi2Go
Mobi2Go started as an aggregator site but learnt quickly that customers did not want to be a part of an aggregator site. They had invested heavily in their brand. They didn’t want that diluted with all their competition.
One of our first customers was Hell’s Pizza which forced us to think bigger than we would have if we were building the platform for a one store pizza chain. The first site they turned on was in Canada, so from day one we built the product to serve international operations with features like multiple time zones, different taxes etc.
We were operating as a digital agency. It was 6-12 month build. We then did Habitual Fix and Wholly Bagel. Word got out and we had more customers approaching us globally. We quickly realised that this was not going to scale so we downed tools for 18 months and rebuilt the platform as a Software as a Service (SaaS), infinitely scalable.
We spent 18 months refining the product and then we invested in our go-to-market strategy to accelerate revenue growth which led to us raising Series A in March 2019.