LPV9 pre-coverage: An interview with Aaron Hilton from Cellmap

This is the fifth post in a series dedicated to covering the entries at Launch Party Vancouver 9. Today, I talk with Aaron Hilton of Cellmap/CellTouch.

Cellmap is featuring its new technology Celltouch at LPV9 this Thursday. Celltouch allows you to… wait, first: what does Cellmap do?

Celltouch logo

“We create great smart phone software,” Aaron says confidently. And CellTouch is their new platform that allows for the smooth, simple creation of applications that work on the web and on virtually all mobile devices. Check out a great example from one of their top customers: ChicWalks. It’s a very neat app that was featured on the iTunes for three weeks and has been tremendously successful. 

That isn’t Cellmap’s only top-notch client, though. “Our enterprise work includes iPhone apps for Canpages (Voice Powered Business Search), ZipLocal, and many other phone directories,” Aaron says. “And we can’t say exactly who, but look for a big restaurant chain promoting their new Location Finder iPhone app, now open 24 hours,” he adds, flourishing the last remark with a sly wink.

The video Aaron put together for the LPV9 site is essentially a quick run-through, demonstrating the ease and quickness of using CellTouch. 

“CellTouch’s drag-n-drop simplicity just makes sense for content creation, especially in this world of HTML5,” Aaron explains. “All the next-generation smart phones are going [with] HTML5, so we thought, Why not create the tools to really address this market convergence?” In the mean time, Aaron says he and his team are going to make “awesome iPhone technology” on top of their content platform, and run with Apple’s lead in the market. “We’ll continue to make it super easy for marketers and advertisers to conquer mobile technology,” he says.

KT: Let’s discuss a big topic revolving around LPV9: Vancouver’s startup ecosystem.

AH: The start-ups are vibrant as hell! It’s awesome to see such strong enthusiasm and support from the pillars like Ralph [Turfus] at ACETech and Danny [Robinson] at Bootup Labs.

We’ve got all kinds of mentorship support, but initial access to keystone financial supports like NRC-IRAP grants and SR&ED was tough

going. Once we lined up our NRC-IRAP grant we had the right pieces to get matching angel investment. That really kicked off the freedom to build CellTouch the way we wanted with the right talent.

Magically, around that same time, Wavefront opened downtown and we were able to move into office space that fit our new team size, have all the handsets that we could ever dream of using for testing at our disposal, and proper meeting rooms to establish credibility when meeting with customers!

I want to say to Angels and VCs everywhere [that] there’s unbelievable talent, [and] that they’re eager to earn their business stripes in the technology industry. An Angel investment of $50,000 along with a matching NRC-IRAP R&D grant provides a very powerful and attractive combination to allow technology to be developed and brought to market. You stack that up with ACETech Growth Strategy CEO training and you’ve got a killer one-two punch to develop a focused business that makes money. I would estimate the average maturation rate is three years to get established plus another two years to really grow.

Along with VC and Angel Investment, more effective marketing strategies need to be in place. The talent pool and technology is there but it will never see the market place without investment in marketing. We’re all itching to make awesome things happen with our startups and there’s too much talent locked behind ineffective marketing strategies, suffocated by the desperate dash to build working prototypes. Lets get some big marketing spends on our promising technology founders, and make that part of the investment deal.

KT: What’s in store for your business after LPV9?

AH: Our enterprise pipeline is very strong and we’re making some changes to help us ramp more effectively.  Expect a major announcement at LPV9!

Looking at 2010 and 2011, there is no end to our growth in sight. We have tens of thousands of prospective customers, and we have the best location finding system, speech recognition, and content management technologies in the world. So we’re pretty excited about the future. Our objective is to reach 500% revenue growth again this year. Stay tuned by following our blog

KT: Have you guys been to LPV before?

AH: This is our second LPV. Our first, LPV4, we launched CellMap, a J2ME mapping solution which caught the eye of Canpages CEO Olivier Vincent and our all-star partner Angela Robert, CEO of ConQuer Mobile. So you could say LPV4 catapulted us into existence. 

KT: Any last comments?

AH: It’s been a lot of hard work but totally worth it. We’re glad to be back at LPV9 showcasing the CellTouch Platform. CellTouch is really exciting to us because it allows businesses to build a mobile app for all platforms from one interface and for one low cost  This is compared with expensive custom development that has been rampant over the last two years.

We have talked to hundreds of potential customers and this system is what they were looking for. Users don’t need to have a programming degree to create or update their application after launch. Updating the application can be done by anyone in the organization, no technical skills required. You can also hit the large market of blackberry and Android users for a fraction of the cost of a native app and be very effective! 

KT: Thanks for your time, Aaron, and best of luck with your CellTouch platform.