The world has gone digital. No question.
And now, today’s guest gives us another way to digitize our data: through a business card app.
Giuseppe Milazzo, the founder of Contapp, knew that there was no easy way to utilize business card info after an event—it was either going to the trash or sitting on his desk for months, untouched.
After finding no real option to utilize his business card data, even after downloading apps that were already available, he decided to develop an app that could work better—one that could be used as a digital database for people he networked with.
Allow me to introduce Founder, Giuseppe Milazzo…
My name is Giuseppe Milazzo, and I’m a bootstrapped solo founder of an exciting tech startup, called Contapp, trusted amongst business professionals globally. As a community, we’re on a journey to improve the way professionals share, manage, and use business card data, whilst reducing paper waste.
I’ve built an all-in-one digital solution for the common business card, from all touch points. As well as being a digital business card on your smartphone, it also works as a digital database for your collection of business cards.
Securely streamlining business card data and adding value to our users, whilst boosting sustainability with a cost-cutting solution, is at the heart of everything we do at Contapp. In short, Contapp is everything you wish your business card could do.
My background has always been in graphic design and marketing, which is where I’ve gained my creative air, working across multiple industries. In fact, my first business was a brand design agency at 17 years old, which shows that I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit in me.
Contapp actually started out as a side project because I’ve always wanted to build an app and grow it organically. I kept this in mind when it came to building and launching Contapp. To this day, Contapp is still a bootstrapped tech startup that has grown completely organically, with everything being done in-house.
The idea of Contapp came from my time in marketing where I was going to a lot of events and exhibitions, coming back with piles of business cards. Most of which I couldn’t remember who they were or what we spoke about.
Almost every business card would then be thrown in my drawer, go in the bin, or the very few I did remember, would manually go into a CRM. As many readers would understand, this is a waste of crucial information if used properly. Manually adding these business cards into a CRM is a laborious task that takes a lot of time and can easily be prone to errors or typos.
So I thought, there must be a better and more convenient way of using business cards in today’s digital world. I downloaded the top five apps for business cards, and I was really surprised at the lack of quality on these platforms. Not only were they very difficult to use and very limited without paying a premium, but they didn’t actually resolve the issues I had.
The UI was old-fashioned on these platforms, and there was no social presence from them to help with my issues, which I couldn’t understand. That’s when I put my creative hat on and built a bold brand that could easily attract my target audience without being too ‘corporate’.
The process from idea to launching in both App Stores was around eight months. Firstly, I did a lot of market research to validate my idea for an all-in-one business card solution, in which my target audience took part. This was important because it helped me identify my target audiences’ needs and challenges, plus what they would expect from this type of platform.
I conducted a lot of research into existing business card platforms. The user journey, pricing, UI/UX, and what users were saying from their reviews. Once I did this, I had a better understanding of what worked, what I didn’t like, and what they were missing, which would then be added to my platform.
Then came the design phase, all of which was designed by myself. Every page you see in the Contapp app was designed by myself, along with the branding. I wanted users to reach the page they were looking for within 2/3 clicks, hence, why Contapp is regarded as one of the most user-friendly business tools, mentioned across our App Store reviews.
I put a lot of time and effort into the design phase because I believe that a SaaS mobile platform must look enticing and easy to use. If I download an app, and it has a poor UI, 9/10 times I will uninstall it straight away.
Then came the testing phase, which was conducted by myself, the developers, and also beta testers. As any developer will agree, this is a time-consuming stage, as tech can always go wrong, especially when launching on iOS and Android. However, after many prototypes and bug fixes, we were ready to launch across both App Stores.
Launching Contapp was a bit of a struggle due to going live two weeks before a global pandemic hit. Before working on Contapp, COVID didn’t exist. However, once we were live and gaining users, it was a big challenge for us because our business was based on professionals meeting and networking.
So, we had to pivot. We then managed to turn a crisis into an opportunity, which we’ve done with great success. Contapp is now a platform that improves the way professionals share/manage business card data in a face-to-face and online environment.
Prior to launching, we were doing a lot of marketing around our brand with sneak peeks into what our platform was all about. As you can see from our social media pages, we invest a lot of time into generating great content that looks good and portrays our brand well.
This helped us to create some buzz around Contapp before we actually launched, and then we saw a surge of downloads once we went live.
Let’s start with our platform. It’s extremely easy to use and works as an all-in-one solution for our users. This is something that our users really like, especially as our free plan is feature-rich and premium plans are extremely affordable. From feedback, these all contribute to maintaining our users against our competitors.
Then we move to our branding. It’s bold, cool, and not too ‘corporate’, which I believe attracts people to engage with our great content on social media and entices them to try our app.
As we’ve mentioned, we invest a lot of time in content creation, which has generated a lot of traffic to our platform. This is extremely important for us because we do not spend any money on marketing, we’ve grown organically.
I think our personable approach as a startup has really helped the growth of our platform. As a bootstrapped startup, people understand that this journey requires some patience. If they have any issues, I personally speak to them as the founder, which is something they value a lot. I like to connect and speak to our users, making them a big part of our continuous growth.
Contapp is a community, and I’m building this platform for our users. So it makes sense to engage our users as much as possible for future updates, via their feedback.
Our vision is something that has certainly helped us retain customers. We’re completely transparent in everything we do at Contapp, which I think is very important for any business. The roadmap we’re working towards is no secret, and it’s an extremely exciting project that our community wanted to be a part of from the very start.
Finally, we’ve gained a lot of incredible collaborations and PR since launching. I actually featured on a live, prime-time interview on Australian news last year, which generated a lot of interest in Contapp and our journey.
Along with this, Contapp and I are featured on the Google Play Store’s success stories page on their website. But it’s the smaller partnerships and collaborations that have really brought in valuable users, such as our partnerships with events, sustainability businesses, and content collaborators (individuals and businesses).
Nonetheless, I’m very proud of how users and other professionals see Contapp from an outside POV, as a trusted bootstrapped tech startup, grown completely organically.
I’ve been lucky enough to be part of many podcasts as a guest, most of which are startup-based. So it would be unfair to single out these podcasts, as I believe each one has brought value to me in one way or another.
In terms of books, I certainly recommend Phil Knight’s ‘Shoe Dog’, which is a memoir of the founder of Nike. This book really influenced me to ‘Just Do It’ (pardon the pun). Although it’s based on a completely different industry, the fundamentals and lessons can be used in any business or startup.
The influential people in my life personally would probably be my parents, as they have had businesses in their careers, so they are always there to support me in any way possible.
Geniuses such as Elon Musk have certainly made an impact on the way I think and how the world needs creative ‘out of the box’ thinkers, which is something I always try to be.
Things are going well, we’ve recently launched our Octopus 4.0 software update, which is a huge addition to our platform: integrations. Integrations are a big part of our roadmap, which allow users to streamline business card data from our platform and into various other data-using platforms such as a CRM, etc. We’re always looking to add more platforms to our integrations page.
Partnerships and collaborations are continuing to be a big part of our growth as well. We always get requests to collaborate on some PR or content, which I believe is a great growth tool. This is something we’re always eager to get involved with, where both parties benefit.
In terms of partnerships, events are looking to our platform as their ‘business card solutions partner’, which is an amazing opportunity for all their attendees and the event owners to boost convenience and sustainability benefits, at no cost.
The future of Contapp looks positive, although as any startup founder can agree (especially solo founders like myself), it’s a rollercoaster of a journey. As long as we maintain what we’re doing and keep on track of our roadmap, the only way is up for Contapp, as this is a very scalable business with the potential to revolutionize business card data.
In fact, I’ve been approached by various entrepreneurs and SaaS businesses to acquire Contapp, which I’m very flattered by. However, 100% of Contapp remains to be mine.
The hardest part of starting a business is starting. So my advice is to go for it and make a start now. It doesn’t have to be perfect straight away. In fact, you’ll find no business is perfect at any point.
Just think, if you don’t make a start, then your business has 0% chance of being successful. Whereas if you make a start, you’ve made a lot of progress already.
One of the biggest myths in the startup world is that you need millions in the bank with a huge team. That’s not true, and I think Contapp is a perfect example that you can go down the bootstrapped route of organic growth and still make a business from it. This all comes from determination, planning, and networking with the right people.
I’d love to talk to anyone reading this article to connect with me on LinkedIn, engage with Contapp across the social media pages below, and also be part of our growing community of Contapp users. Join us today!