Social media drives Yatango’s mobile passion

start-up-idea-yatangoYatango Mobile describes itself as the new kid on the Australian telecommunications block, after launching just last month.


Based in North Sydney, Yatango is a SIM-only mobile provider offering monthly prepaid and postpaid voice, text and data plans.


It was founded by Andy Taylor, who wanted to improve the reputation of the telecommunications industry.


Taylor talks to StartupSmart about how he came up with the name of his business, what it’s like being a start-up in the telco sector, and why Yatango is a necessary addition.


How did you come up with the idea for Yatango Mobile?


My previous experience within the telco industry, from a digital marketing perspective, gave me some invaluable insights into the direction society was moving in, particularly around social media.


After launching my first collaborative consumption-based start-up in financial services, called SocietyOne, I soon realised that there was a gap in the market globally when it comes to how social media technology is being utilised to empower consumers, and felt there was an opportunity for this to be translated into the telco industry.


Through numerous conversations, it became apparent that the telco industry has developed a negative reputation in Australia in relation to how customers are being treated and subsequently valued. I wanted to develop something that changed this perception.


Why is this needed?


Without a doubt, the shift in all industries in relation to the power and effectiveness that social media is having.


This is a real opportunity to change perceptions of Australians and educate them as to how best to gain control of their lives, using social media as a supporting pillar.


The start of Yatango Mobile for us indicates Australia’s move into a new paradigm, which is driven by technology, where consumers are in control and have complete transparency.


In essence the power has shifted, with big data now allowing for true personalisation and relevance to be delivered.


Technology today is there to deliver transparency, something we believe is a fundamental element of Yatango Mobile. By providing customers with transparency and control, we will ultimately infuse power.


Ironically, this shift was driven by the GFC, which ultimately encouraged Australians to be more budget-conscious and to avoid tying themselves into long-term commitments.


How did you decide on the name?


Interesting question!


Yatango Mobile, for us, is a unique term that embodies the values of a business that provides transparency and control. It provides us with a term to “own” and subsequently give meaning to.


One of the main reasons for selecting Yatango Mobile as the business name is that we felt it illustrates an approachable, social telco that is ultimately driven by the establishment of a community.


How did you fund the business?


Our start-up costs were minimal given that we have developed this model with a digital positioning.


However, we have engaged with a number of angel investors who have provided invaluable support and commitment to the development of Yatango Mobile.


One of the unique differences of Yatango Mobile, in comparison to Australia’s other large telcos, is that we promote a self-service model.


Everything from account control, pricing structure alterations and customer service is managed by the individual and community alike. We are essentially matchmaking people with technology to infuse control.


Obviously we have a partnership with Optus. However, we see the benefit of this partnership as far greater than the associated costs.


How many staff do you have?


We currently have a full-time team of nine who oversee various aspects of the business including customer service management, marketing, design, finance, operations and general management.


How do you promote the business?


Given that we’re a social initiative, we’re using this to our advantage and making the most of the digital marketing developments currently established.


As technology and innovation grows, we want to be at the forefront in developing with it. Within this we have encompassed traditional PR.


What are your revenue projections for 2012/13?


As part of our unique proposition, we have an initial goal of 25,000 users. As visible on the Yatango Mobile homepage, once we hit this target we will reward the “community” with a 3% cost reduction across the board.


How hard is it being a start-up in the telco industry?


It’s been a challenging but exciting journey so far… and we’re only at the beginning.


Yes, we have had barriers and obstacles to overcome. However, given the nature of our proposition, we are agile, flexible, responsive and dedicated.


We are confident that we have a unique model that isn’t currently rivaled within the Australian telco landscape, providing us with a fantastic opportunity to own this category.


Ultimately, we’re breaking away from the traditional way of doing things, arguably the “norm”, and therefore our biggest barrier is education.


We are, through our own doing, taking responsibility of this to showcase to Australia just how much money is being poured down the drain each month unnecessarily.


One of the great analogies we love to use is, ‘Would you take out health insurance if you knew you weren’t going to get sick?’ The answer is no.


So why pay for data, calls and SMS that you’re not using? Education, education, education!


Is there anything you would have done differently?


Only time will tell… We have already learnt an incredible amount and our active customers are helping to shape this experience even further.


The most exciting part about working directly with a social media channel, such as Facebook, is that it’s continuously evolving.


We’re thrilled to be part of that and are ambitious for the months ahead.


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