by Mark Carter
Posted 1/9/2012 12:00 am
Updated 2 years ago
MobileFWD, a mobile social gaming startup based in northwest Arkansas and an Innovate Arkansas client firm, can credit its start to the launch of the iPhone.
"When the iPhone came out, I was at Rockfish Interactive [a digital-media firm founded in Rogers]," said co-founder Matt Hudson. "We all got them, on our own or from work. I knew at that moment that I would eventually be building these apps. It was clear they were the future."
One of Hudson's co-workers at Rockfish, designer Joey Nelson, felt the same way. They teamed with veteran NWA entrepreneur John James of Acumen Brands fame to launch MobileFWD.
Their soon-to-be-launched first iPhone app will be called Litely Salted Trivia.
Its tagline: More flavor for your brain.
Hudson said MobileFWD wants to do for mobile what Trivial Pursuit did for board games and what "Jeopardy" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" did for TV.
"We believe games should be fun, shared and mobile," he said.
Hudson and Nelson intend to make Litely Salted much more than just another iPhone app, though.
They want it to become "the social hub of your knowledge base."
"Our vision of this app is to become the social network of your collective knowledge and to see where you stack up against peers," Nelson said.
The firm's first-year goal is 250,000 users. Nelson said the firm can reach it by tapping a huge market that has seen little recent innovation.
"It's a lofty goal, but we know trivia touches everyone and the mobile market is clearly enormous and growing," Nelson said. "It's the perfect storm for growth."
And his vision is clear: "Twitter keeps track of the things you say; Facebook is about your friends; LinkedIn is your business presence. We want to be a snapshot of your mental capacity."
The challenge of testing your trivia knowledge against family and friends will attract users, Hudson said, but there other advantages as well.
"The reason we chose mobile social games is because they have a network advantage," Nelson said. "They have the opportunity of going viral if you make it easy to play with other people. We have a unique style of game play which not only makes it easy, but encourages you to add as many of your friends as possible."
MobileFWD has been pitching venture capital groups in the state for the last few weeks, and is finishing up the "planning, researching and learning" phase.
"Currently, we are designing how the app will work, how others will play and getting a feel for the best way to approach the application and how to grow it the fastest," Hudson said. "We have a great marketing plan. Now, it's just time to execute."
Once the iPhone app is launched, MobileFWD plans to expand to other platforms.
"We've got plans to be on the iPad next in a head-to-head buzzer challenge edition, and even an online affiliate program," Nelson said.
Most investors will tell you they don't invest in startups but in the people behind the startups. Hudson, therefore, is confident in the firm's future success. "We are driven. We work like crazy," he said.