21212 Digital Accelerator
Impact metric26,700% growth in revenues since selection
“I saw an opportunity to develop innovative software for mobile phones.”
- Marcelo Sales
Created by three Brazilian university students, a university incubator and an angel investor, Movile (formerly nTime) is a company that develops innovative software for the mobile phone market using 100% Brazilian technology. Their mobile desktop and wireless games were the first of their kind in the Brazilian market and Brazil’s two largest operators, Vivo and Telecom Americas, adopted Movile as their official platform for email and games. As a result, Movile has exclusivity in offering access to mail applications, remote file management and infotainment for more than 23 million mobile phone users. In only three years, Marcelo, Rafael and Eduardo built a company that is the benchmark in the Brazilian wireless market. Its products have become the market standard, and will be included as standard in all mobiles sold by Brazil’s two largest operators. Movile is receiving offers to sell its solutions in other countries – including the U.S., Italy and Portugal.
Marcelo Sales, Rafael Duton and Eduardo Bernardes met at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC)’s computer engineering school. Rafael and Eduardo showed a young entrepreneurial spirit by founding the first multi-disciplinary undergraduate students consulting company at PUC. Marcelo worked for Wiz Technologies, a recently created wireless application development company, where he was responsible for software development. As the final project for a school course, he developed a platform for the creation of wireless games that relied on minimum programming. Rafael and Eduardo, for their final course project, developed a business plan for Marcelo’s platform. The three graduates applied for the support of the university’s business incubating unit. Roger Douek, a successful telecom executive who was a member of the jury, saw the business’s potential and decided to invest US$50,000. Movile, then called nTime, was created in 2000.
Lacking the money to pay wages, the entrepreneurs invited talented colleagues to join the team in return for company shares. The team improved Marcelo’s initial platform, and soon produced commercial-quality games for Brazil’s then largest wireless portal, Selig. In 13 months, they had garnered 55,000 users and 1,000,000 minutes. At the same time, the partners identified a new opportunity. Forced to work on their home PCs while the company’s infrastructure was being set up, they often needed to access their office PCs for a document or data. They created software enabling users access their personal PCs from a mobile phone and download documents. They soon added additional features to the prototype – enabling receipt of emails, reading of MS Office and PDF files, integration with MS Outlook (calendar, contacts, to-do lists), and sending of files for printout by fax. The new software, Mobile Desktop, was the company’s first product for the corporate market. According to a March 2003 statement by VIVO’s CIO in a leading Brazilian newspaper, “Movile’s Mobile Desktop is the killer application for our corporate users. There is nothing similar in the world.”
In the infotainment area, Movile’s Quiz, addressed to the mass market, took off when the company partnered with magazine publisher Editora Abril to use the magazine content in games. The partnership attracted attention of Brazil’s two largest operators, who signed exclusive contracts with Movile – making Quiz the most popular platform among mobile users. Movile created a “win-win” business model: operators would pay nothing for the infrastructure and license; in return, they gave Movile half of the revenue generated by the applications. Recently, Movile has opened offices in Mountain California, with expanding to target the global Latino audience in mind, including Europe and the US. In June of 2012, Movile launched an HTML-5 based video service called ZeeWee TV. This Facebook-integrated platform highlights Latin American celebrities and news, and its content providers include MTV and Nickelodeon. In a single month, ZeeWee TV surpassed the 1 million user benchmark.
In Brazil, where many technology entrepreneurs are unsuccessful, Movile’s history is an example of the university student turned entrepreneur who developed a unique product with large-scale potential. The three partners hold frequent seminars to pass on their experience to inspire new generations of students. Furthermore, Movile is positioned to grow even more in the coming years, as Brazil, which boasts over 250 million mobile users and growing, becomes one of the fastest emerging mobile market along with the rest of Latin America. The Brazilian market is also slowly shifting to smart phones, giving companies like Movile ample opportunity to develop and deliver ever newer and more sophisticated mobile content.
Endeavor and 21212 Digital Accelerator
In addition to the Global eMBA program, the entrepreneurs have benefited from local and global mentors who have assisted with various areas — from strategic planning to marketing to audits. They have also gained introduction to brand-name clients.
The Entrepreneurs have demonstrated commitment by participating at local Endeavor events and Global Entrepreneurship Week.