Leon Yeh has founded several successful startups. As an experienced Enterprise Software Architect, he designed, built teams, managed both application and business development. His specialty is in creating enterprise mobile apps for the iOS platform, web application development and infrastructure development.
How does he do it? Years of hands on experience in almost all computer languages (Django, Python, Objective C and Ruby / Ruby on Rails). Pair all of that with a Master’s Degree from University of Southern California majoring in Computer Architecture and System Engineering. Leon is an accomplished system architect that had worked in Department Of Nuclear Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also has experience working with top Fortune 50 companies such as TRW, Northrop Grumman, ARCO and Toyota.
Recently he built and deployed an Enterprise Mobile Platform that allows companies with direct sales and external sales teams to build and automate their processes on iOS platform.
Since founding Mobi Ten in 2010, Leon leads his team in developing multiple Enterprise Mobile Applications that help businesses reduce complexity and get most out of existing technology investments by using mobile technologies.
What is your company?
MobiTen, Inc. – We are a digital publishing toolset that works to automate marketing and sales through digital interactive media.
How did you come up with this idea?
I founded the company after a bad trade show experience. I went to a conference with paper brochures. It cost a lot to print them, pay the designer, and ship them to the show. When our founder got to the show he noticed the phone number was wrong on the brochure, which cost him many potential leads. This was 4 years ago and he thought to himself why don’t we create a platform that allows a digital brochure. The iPad was just coming out which was the perfect platform to show his digital work.
I have many years of enterprise level integration experience with SAP and other CRM type systems and have architected the product to be flexible enough to do marketing, sales, training, compliance, and even field data capture.
Part of the idea was to develop a great set of tools that could work across the platform to easily create relevant but engaging digital content.
Where did you find your first customer?
We had several small customers that did various things with the technology, but not a whole lot of consistency. Our first big customer for iPad as a platform is CH2MHill. We were supporting the Oregon Bio Science trade show and CH2MHill liked the touchscreen application we had developed which allowed us to show our real product. They spend a lot on printing materials that their customers throw away so the thought of having a communication portal always open to the customer to consistently provide new content was enticing.
How did you determine your target market?
Digital technology is such a wide swath, we had to concentrate. The digital marketing naturally flows into the sales process creating an end to end solution that is seamless for the customer. Our market is generally companies that have field sales people trying to sell very complex products or solutions. Having the digital medium provides a unique opportunity to explain and simplify the complexity.
What are you currently doing to reach them?
This is where we fall a little short. Our sales process is a 3 month process because once our technology is adopted, it is integral to the business. We use references, trade shows, networking, and Linkedin to find new clients. We are lucky to work with other digital partners like agencies and videographers who refer our work.
How much did you start up with?
I had left a business that was quite profitable in web development and had used my own capital over the last 3 years to build the product. It has been very expensive, not sure the amount.
Did you bring on investors, get loans, or grow naturally?
We have grown naturally but now are ready to speak with Angels. We have developed customers and a product that is ready for primetime – we just need a marketing and sales effort to help it really launch and take off.
What’s the best advice someone has given you?
Be a good partner. There are lots of opportunities to work with others in our field. Some ideas are funded and many are not. We have learned that it is important to qualify partners, but to always be supportive too.
What’s the worst advice you have ever received?
A VC (Venture Capitalist) told me once that the iPad is a toy, no one will use it. IT will not support it, if they want a phone they will get a phone, if they want a computer they will get a computer – the iPad has no place in the enterprise
When you started, what was one thing you wish you knew?
I wished I knew how much time and perseverance it takes to start a company.
What resources or books do you refer to regularly?
- Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell
- Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld
Has your company experienced any close calls or lucky moments?
Start-ups have close calls everyday. We work so many hours on business deals that never complete in a sale, it’s hard. Our customers love us and I think our luckiest moments are when we connect with really good customers who love our technology and are an internal champion.
What does success mean to you?
Developing a really great team who can execute and keep customers happy while making enough money that we can invest in our products, our team and our community.
Where would you like to see your business 5 years from now?
Having four product divisions: Marketing, Sales, Training, and Back Office all connected to existing ERP and CRM for a full 360 degree solution set.
What do you need help with?
Sales and funding.
How can people find you online?