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Interview with David Senior from Lowdown
by Startacus Admin
As you know here at Startacus we love to bring you the lowdown about exciting and innovative startups that we reckon have a real potential to shake things up a bit. We also love to bring you handy tips, hints and advice to help you navigate the fast paced ‘go go go’ journey of starting and growing your own business. One of the best (and worst) things about getting your startup off the ground is a seemingly endless succession of meetings, meet-ups and ‘chats over coffee’ that you have to attend. Don't get us wrong, we love all that face to face interaction, but it can be mighty difficult to keep all the information that you need, firmly planted in your brain - sometimes it just leaks out.
So it’s no wonder that we were rather excited when we recently discovered a great new app startup called Lowdown which aims to ease this problem by collating information from a wide range of online sources and presenting it to you in a simple way which means that you will always be ready for that next meeting.
We caught up with co-founder David Senior who gave us the lowdown on Lowdown and shared his recent experience of going through The Next Web Boost Programme.
So David, first off can you tell us about Lowdown, what it does and who you think would find it useful?
Lowdown is an organising app for iPhone. Imagine you find yourself in a rush to get to a meeting and you have been too busy to look up the details of how to get there and information on those who will be present. Lowdown gives you a practical and detailed map pinpointing the location, and on the same screen you get travel options and journey times along with a list of all the individuals that will be present at the meeting. You can tap to view the profiles of those individuals and their company details, and get a back catalogue of 5 recent emails relevant to the meeting. As a personal organiser and meeting planner Lowdown is the digital successor to Filofax, but it does so much more than provide a diary and contact facility. I think the greatest compliment is that people who try Lowdown quickly take it for granted and use it all the time without thinking as it saves so much time and enhances meetings for those that don’t prepare. All you have to do is simply book appointments on an iPhone or any synced calendar in the normal way and the rest is done automatically. Lowdown is not technical to use, and is designed for anyone who has meetings (and an iPhone - initially).
We love it when technology does really smart stuff! Can you give us a few examples of the smartest things that the app can do ?
Before we had the Internet you had to have a diary, A to Zs, road atlases, contact books, and some sort of research facility such as cuttings files or microfiche if you wanted to arrive at meetings on time and fully informed. Today we have these tools or similar online, but they have to be accessed separately, which is time consuming. Plus once you have clicked away the information source is gone, so reminders mean navigating backwards and forwards, starting again, writing everything down or printing it off. Lowdown has just changed all that. Simply enter an appointment on a calendar and everything is in one place where and when you need it, including in internet dead spots such as the London tube. At the moment Lowdon is really unique. What it does is pull together really useful existing functions that people use on a regular basis such as online maps, a calendar, LinkedIn and email in the context of a meeting.
You guys recently took part on the TNW Boost Programme, we are really interested to hear how you got on and if the programme has helped to move the brand and the business forward?
The first thing to say is that the event was impeccably organized. We were one of 99 startups with a stand at the two day event, and there more than 2,500 visitors. We had conversations with a lot of VCs, and received strong interest. But what was really helpful was the high number of people from different countries we talked to. This allowed us to interrogate how Lowdown is viewed by a wide variety of overseas users, which was a really useful bonus. We opened Lowdown up into 23 countries the day before the conference, mainly to test the localisation of the map images worked, and with 2,500 people from over 40 countries we were delighted to test this and it worked great.
What are the plans for the future? Lowdown for iPhone is just the beginning, as most processing is done in the back end, we plan to create a platform and then extend using a thin client front end across multiple device types and operating systems and extend the range of functions that Lowdown currently has. For example, it could be used to book and pay for taxis, airline tickets and meeting rooms at commercial providers such as Regus, but then turn green in the evening, link to Facebook events and help plan people’s social lives. The infrastructure Lowdown uses will in future incorporate a social diary that books theatre, cinema and sports event tickets, looks up background such as performance details, verifies bookings with friends, and locates nearby restaurants and bars. However, for the time being we are concentrating on the launch of the existing format - iPhone for business meetings to prove the model. What we have to do is persuade individuals to try it. We believe Lowdown is the Filofax of the digital age, but we have to spread the message.
Cheers for the chat David and best of luck with Lowdown!
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