Startup Spotlight: Womple makes it easy to convert Web sites to mobile

With technology advancing quickly, it’s hard for small businesses to keep up with growing trends.  Do I manage my Yelp page, my Google business page, create a mobile app or figure out how to offer rewards on Foursquare?  My dad works as a optometrist and runs into these problems all of the time.  Well, Womple is here to help ease some of the stress by making it simple to convert your current website to a mobile optimized website.

As of now, companies are able to submit their site for estimates via Womple’s website.  They offer price points between $50 to $500 dollars per site and a turnaround time of between five to 14 days which, compared with other companies in the same industry, seems competitive (many other services offer yearly or monthly rates instead of a flat fee).

The differentiator is that Womple says they’ve developed technology that does not force its customers to settle for generic templates and designs, but rather transitions a client’s overall branding and messaging directly to mobile.  They also plan on launching a one-click conversion option very soon.

Sounds like a great idea as this both saves time and money for the customer website as well as guarantees consistent branding across sites.

The team works out of Bellingham and was the first company accepted into the Big Idea Lab accelerator.  We caught up with founder and CEO Madison Miner — a computer science graduate from Western Washington University — for this Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Virtually every business needs to consider the rapid shift to mobile phones as the primary way people access the Internet. Womple makes this transition easy. We convert regular websites to mobile ready, making them accessible and searchable on smartphones.”

Founder and CEO Madison Miner

Inspiration hit us when: “While in college I tried to balance my passion for snowboarding, while also pursuing my degree in computer science. In order to only skip class on days with fresh powder, I created a program that monitored the snow report and automatically called my mobile phone if the mountain received more than 10 inches. This way, I was able to pick my days wisely. This program was the inspiration and the nascent stages of the technology that eventually became Womple. Before the days of Pinterest, this technology allowed me to select any portion from a website – be it images or code – and monitor it from my homepage. Once mobile browsing started to make its charge, it was a natural fit to refocus the technology to selecting content from regular websites to be converted and viewed on smartphones.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Angel. We’ve secured an initial round of angel investment, which has provided a runway to focus on product development and sales and marketing. That said, we continue to have a bootstrap mentality, re-investing and stretching every dollar to ensure this idea becomes a successful company.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our secret sauce is a patent-pending, powerful mobile design engine. Our technology lets us “mobilize” any website while also retaining its original branding, such as fonts, colors, backgrounds, messages, logo, buttons, and more. Womple enables our designers to: a) maintain our client’s brand, b) avoid having to build a HTML mobile website from the ground up, and c) eliminates the need to settle for generic mobile templates. Our clients receive a mobile website that looks like their desktop site. Best of all, our mobile websites remain automatically in sync with the regular website. Changes, including text, images and content, made on the regular site are reflected in real-time on the mobile site. You only need to manage one website.”

A view into a custom GeekWire mobile site they made for us. Should we switch off our current theme?

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “We don’t pretend to know it all. One of the smartest moves we’ve made is surrounding ourselves with mentors – from a diverse range of backgrounds – that have helped us take our idea to market. In fact, Womple was the first company accepted to the Big Idea Lab, a venture accelerator in Bellingham. Since joining, the company has made numerous pivots and is in a much better place today thanks to the wisdom and experience of our mentors.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “It’s cliché, but having the best product is not always the key to success. The mobile web development industry has become crowded, and we’ve been in this space since before the big rush. If we could do it all over again, we would have launched our Beta sooner and focused on building brand recognition. However, we are confident that our product provides the best value and – we hope – will trump those first to market.

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Since we’re dreaming here, we’d take a hybrid of Jobs and Bezos. Mobile web design requires the simple is more mentality and sophistication of Steve Jobs, as well as the technological foundation that has made Amazon such a successful company. With those two in our corner, Womple would be a verb in the dictionary, defined as the act of mobilizing your website. We’d be famous.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “You didn’t hear? It’s already started. We remain focused and dedicated to the success of Womple. With mobile web traffic projected to increase 2600 percent in the next four years, we are confident in the viability of this industry and our technology. We believe consumers will ultimately gravitate toward the value and quality we offer. We’re already seeing the momentum build.”

Rivals should fear us because: “Rivals can’t beat our designs and our ability to create mobile websites that look like its desktop counterparts. Generally, our competitors are one-size-fits-all solutions that force customers to choose generic templates to skin their mobile websites. We don’t do that. We’re just as affordable, offer the same features and you get a custom, professional design.”

We are truly unique because: “Womple satisfies a void, providing customers with an easy and professional option to go mobile. Our unique ability to “mobilize” a website, while keeping its original design, is our advantage. Since we can select just a section of a web page, or all of it, we can also stack various selections into one mobile page to create a mash up of content. We’re custom, yet affordable.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “We’ve had to pivot our business model a few times. Each new direction felt like we were starting over, which at the time was a hard, but necessary realization. What felt like setbacks really forced the team to remain focused and committed to the technology – an attitude that we still carry today. Without remaining nimble and closely following a rapidly evolving market, we wouldn’t have arrived at the exciting business model we have today.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Don’t try to do it all yourself. Find a strong cadre of mentors – people that have been there before – that can provide direction and advice. Mentors will push your idea, tell you when you’re wrong and force you to hone the business model and product. An honest reality check is better sooner than later.”

Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area startup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send  photos of the founder(s) and company logo to tips@geekwire.com. Past profiles can be found here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Devin-Miller/100001051294818 Devin Miller

    Great job Madison! Product looks great.

  • Madison Miner

    Thanks GeekWire for featuring us. I vote to switch the current theme :)