Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Τhe story of a young spin-off company useful to large telecom operators

Vangelis Michalopoulos, CEO of Flipnode 
Flipnode is a young spin-off company, based on the Solo Gateway software product line (and member of StartTech Ventures incubator). Though young, its main product has been developed since 2004 and is in the global market since 2008. We first launched Solo Business Gateway, complete ICT software for SMEs, to help small businesses get access to cutting edge Unified Communications technology. Then, to reach even more SMEs around the world, the company created Solo Telco Gateway, delivering the same technology as an advanced appliance though telecom operators. Now,  the largest telecom operator in the Balkans is reselling their solution, while we they building mobile apps and flexible cloud services to help SMEs do their best by utilizing the best of all worlds.

Vangelis Michalopoulos, CEO of Flipnode, outlines the aspects of a successful year 2012 and stresses his company’s plans for 2013. 

1. What were the most important challenges your company faced in 2012?
V.M: In 2012 we launched our biggest project to date. Along with one of the largest telecom providers in the Balkan region, we launched a Unified Communication solution based on Solo Telco Gateway. The project was quite demanding. It involved building customized software, importing and customizing hardware, integration, training, and more. We had to deal with processes that a software vendor normally does not, like physical goods, imports, logistics and such. But this was necessary, since we wanted to have full control of the first deployment of our solution, so that we can provide the best input to our future partners in projects to come.
2. What actions or methods did you apply in order to effectively overcome those challenges or in order to reach your targets?
V.M: Hard work and commitment, that’s all it takes. Given this, I guess that our supplier selection was also crucial. At those critical points where everything was going wrong, having a good partnership proved invaluable. In the beginning of the project, we needed to provide some appliances immediately, and our supplier in Taiwan managed to get Appliances from a customer in India delivered directly to us. Having this kind of support is of paramount importance when dealing with big customers that have demanding schedules.
3. What exactly did you manage to succeed with the practices you followed in each case?
V.M: Through our own hard work and our partners, we managed to launch the project successfully. The customer was satisfied with us getting the work done and delivering what was promised. We managed to get our suppliers, our customer and ourselves to work as a team in order to achieve the common goal.
4. What are the most important plans for 2013 for your company?
V.M: We are extending our current Solo Telco Gateway deployment with new services and mobile apps. We think that Unified Communications and Smartphone Apps can change our everyday communication at work and on the road. With this overall offering and this established project as a reference, we will target the global Telecom and ISP market, hopefully to get at least 2 more deployments within 2013.
We are also building a flexible online service for providing Unified Communications through the cloud and directly to your office and smartphone. This, though, is in an early stage, so we can discuss more next year.
5. Please give a quick advice to young entrepreneurs
V.M: Seek commitment. From yourself, your team, your partners, even your customer. And throw in some great teamwork and you shall thrive!


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