A growing mobile technology company opens the door to new partner contacts overseas after the Washington State Department of Commerce comes knocking with export assistance
With its groundbreaking, real-time location-sharing app of the same name, Glympse reinforces Washington State’s position as the leading center for mobile services innovation.
The Seattle company’s product lets users privately share their location via a smart phone with only those individuals they select for as long or short a timeframe as they like, from a few seconds to a few hours. Recipients can view the user’s location without any special software, or even the app itself—they only need web access to view the sender’s ongoing location.
The app is faster and easier than a text or email, and shows the user’s estimated time of arrival and real-time proximity to their destination. Among endless possible uses, sending a Glympse can keep colleagues at off-site meetings up-to-date on a delayed arrival, reassure the parents of a roaming teenager or give carpool drivers a way to alert passengers when they’re close to their pick-up point.
After a strong launch in the United States, Glympse was ready to expand its range and partner with third-party consumer and enterprise solutions, a focus that included international customers. The company needed a forum that would put them in front of top executives at global wireless carriers, mobile network operators and auto manufacturers.
One place that gathers thousands of these potential customers in one place is the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC), the preeminent trade show for the mobile industry. “MWC is by far the best mobile communications event in Europe,” said Timo Bauer, Glympse’s vice president of business development. “It’s also the best opportunity to get exposure to top executives and decision makers”.
With support of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), which is administered in Washington State by the state Department of Commerce, Glympse was able to establish a strong presence and create strong business relationships at MWC 2012 and again in 2013.
Glympse saw its opportunity to attend the show after a call initiated by Commerce international trade specialist, Wistar Kay, who was recruiting small businesses to join a Washington State MWC delegation of companies interested in finding new export opportunities overseas. The STEP program provided the money Glympse needed to defray the costs of participating, with the added bonus of Commerce’s business development representative in Europe helping to identify potential partners and set up appointments for one-to-one meetings at the show.
STEP funds helped Glympse maximize its efforts for the greatest impact at Mobile World Congress, and credits part of its anticipated European sales growth of 25% in 2013 to the show. “Attending Mobile World Congress for us was critical, as there were major European partners that could accelerate our growth and business models,” said Bryan Trussel, co-founder and chief executive officer at Glympse. “The Export Voucher program helped us to attend MWC and allowed us to do several months and several trips worth of business in a matter of days.”
The company carried that momentum forward when it joined Governor Chris Gregoire’s trade mission to Ireland and the United Kingdom in 2012. The company used its participation on the mission to promote Glympse technology as an in-dash location sharing tool for automobiles, as recently exemplified by its partnership with Mercedes Benz for integration in the A-Class DriveStyle automobile, set to launch in September.
“The mission with Gov. Gregoire was an important opportunity for us to build on our knowledge and success of existing auto and mobile relationships and carry that momentum to new areas with potential London partners,” Trussel said. “We met with executives and brands with which we’re excited to continue conversations. This trade mission has helped open the doors to a more global business approach for Glympse, and has efficiently connected us to new opportunities.”