and Wireless Enabled Coupons
was a regular working day for Vivek as a software consultant on
one of his projects with a Fortune 500 company. Before calling
it a day. he talked to his wife. who asked him to pick up a pizza
on his way back home. She. however, had a discount coupon that
needed to be used. For that Vivek need to go home to pick it up.
Ah! How easy it would have been if he could have just printed
the coupon over the Internet, or he could have used his cell phone
to present a "wireless coupon". Eureka! Here was a business opportunity
right in front of him. just waiting to be explored. And explored
year was 1997 and the expansion of Internet was at its peak. New
dot-coms, new business ideas and new industries were taking shape
in the new economy. People with the right technology based ideas,
sound business models and solid management teams were increasingly
coming in the limelight. Vivek had a valuable high-tech industry
experience of over 15 years working with top technology providers
in the US. His expertise was in high demand and his knowledge
base well respected in the industry, just the right ingredients
for getting funded for a potential business idea.
discussed his idea with some of his trusted friends and teamed
up with Peter Torres to develop a business plan. Peter had a rich
marketing and strategic business development experience that came
handy to complement Vivek's expertise in the high-tech arena.
The two spent countless hoonture capitalists. They incorporated
Citium in early 1999 arid started building up a team to support
their ambitious plan. The initial funding, naturally, came through
Vivek himself, followed by a seed-funding of about half a million
dollars through private investment later. Citium thus became a
provider of technology based promotion solutions to all the media
portal companies and small businesses.
took the initial team a year to develop and market their product
in the US. The first version, Citium Promotions Engine (CPE) 1.0
launched in early 2000 was soon bought up by various media companies.
Since the integral sources of all print coupons were the magazine
and newspaper companies who distributed their advertisers' discount
coupons and special offers through their publications, it became
easy to focus on a specific industry segment. Various media companies
including the local radio stations and newspaper publications
incorporated CPE on their sites, converting their site traffic
into a revenue generatiing engine for them and their advertisers.
Citium today is on the forefront of online promotions application
services providers marketplace, rapidly expanding the company's
reach among the media and portal businesses and the small to medium
sized businesses. It is focused on creating promotion technologies
that could increase revenues for both the companies and their
advertisers. The latest version CPE 2.0 was launched in November
this year, which also incorporates the use of wireless accessibility
to coupons and special offers.
regular visitor to a portal site could click on the promotional
engine link to search for special offers either based on zip code
or on a particular need. Once the various offers have been checked
and evaluated, the user has an option to print out the coupon,
just write the coupon code, email it to someone or even send it
to his wireless device. The coupons could then be presented to
the merchant at the point of purchase. The multi-feature engine
offers its clients an opportunity to increase their revenues,
an extended reach through web and wireless, an unbeatable sales
leverage to the sales team, improved site stickiness and measured
statistics on the success of the engine on the clients' site.
With its groundbreaking promotions infrastructure technology,
companies can have a customized promotions based engine build
right into their site in about an hour. The promotion engine seamlessly
integrates within the site without affecting the current site
management. Advertisers with the media portals have an option
to get their business listed in just the business directory pages,
or have a basic or an advanced micro pages developed for their
businesses, that provide in-depth information about the company.
The tool acts as a loyalty and relationship management product
for all portals and their advertisers by keeping the visitors
coming back to their sites for special offers and promotions.
Among the publications, portals and radio stations signedup by
Citium are. The Palo Alto Weekly, Buffalo Beat, Las Vegas.com,
Reno.com, Tahoe.com, KNBR, KFOG, The BONE, and television stations
at Idaho and Bakersfield. Citium has entered into strategic alliances
with Everypath, provider of wireless infrastructure technologies.
Radio Advertising Bureau that has around 5000 radio stations as
its members and WebRadio, an audio-video streaming company. All
of the 35 customers signed up by Citium are expected to generate
more than $100,000 in 2001 through Citium's Promotion Engine.
Citium has been able to establish its product in this specific
segment that is projected to grow to about $10 billion by 2005.
It has differentiated its offering from its competitors by incorporating
newer features like wireless accessibility, making the product
flexible to use, and covering the entire industry segment. The
potential 4.5 million small businesses in the US form an attractive
growth sector for the company. These businesses need to generate
revenues and develop customer loyalty through their established
user base. Citium offers them a way to blend both these features
into their already existing sites.
today has around 18 employees with in-depth industry experience
in related areas. Potential candidates go through a five-step
screening process including initial analysis, telephone interview,
essay writing, self-analysis test, and the final interview. The
company has a sales office in Dallas, another is planned for Phoenix,
and one in India, which is also being used for hiring and training
the highly competent technical talent pool available there. The
second round of funding is expected to be in March of 2001 and
a tentatively planned IPO by the end of 2002. Citium plans to
become profitable by the third quarter of 2002.
will continue to use coupons for getting discounts on products
and services and Citium has taken a lead in providing those users
with a futuristic solution. With its current rapid expansion in
the US it is expected to become a household name in the near future,
and people will no longer have to go home to pick up the coupon
that they received in their mail, just to get some hot pizza on
their way back from work!!!