Our tech start-up of the week is Webseam, a new Irish start-up around web governance that has been set up by brothers Richard and Charlie Pike. With the duo having experience in starting companies, they are hoping that Webseam will help both web-development agencies and corporations in sectors such as financial services and the pharmaceutical space better manage the review, update and approval process for web pages – be they on the intranet for a company’s in-house usage or public websites.
The brothers Pike decided to set up Webseam in the summer of 2012. At the minute the service is in open beta.
Track Changes – web style
Richard Pike says that Webseam is all about web governance. Likening the service to the ‘Track Changes’ process in Microsoft Word, he says that Webseam is about "tracking changes for the web" in a more seamless and interactive way.
"Webseam enables you to manage the review, update and approval process for web pages."
As for their backgrounds, at the minute Richard Pike is a senior market manager in governance, risk and compliance for a global technology and information company.
Before that he founded a number of software firms, the most recent of which was sold in 2008.
"My focus is on the go-to-market areas of software companies, including sales, marketing, product management,’ he explains. On the flip side, Charlie Pike’s expertise is in technology and web development, particularly in the realms of design and compliance.
"He has started a number of web-development businesses and consulted for major corporations like EMC, Adobe and CA Technologies on their web accessibility compliance," explains Richard.
On the Webseam angle, Charlie had been designing the technology for a while through his work with international companies on their website/intranet compliance testing.
Image via Webseam
So, how does Webseam’s platform work and who will use the service?
"Web developers just provide the URL of the website, whether live or on a test server. There is no need to send updates."
With Webseam, Richard Pike says that a company’s clients can review the latest web pages at any stage. If, for instance, they have issues they can log them directly on the pages to edit text, move items, change images, or comments for a web developer.
"They will be able to track any changes the web developer has made to the pages and either accept or reject those changes.
"From the developer’s side they will get notice of any issues raised and they will be able to make their own comments and status updates."
He says that the service is targeting two types of companies; web development agencies that have multiple projects for multiple clients and medium/large companies that have many websites/intranets and need to ensure that they are all correct and up to date.
Pike believes that Webseam is the first such company of its kind to disrupt the web governance space more interactively, without people having to take screenshots before updates are made, or talking through updates to things such as fonts, colours, styles, avatars, online privacy, cookies or data security over the phone.
Financial services and the pharma sector would be two particular target industries for the service.
It’s just the two brothers who are working on Webseam at the moment. They also use a development shop and the services of the US company HubSpot (it set up its European HQ in Dublin last year) for inbound marketing.
The Pikes finished development of Webseam in May and have been testing it with a couple of companies in a closed beta environment since then.
"We were very happy with the results of that process and have decided to open up the beta to anyone who wishes to join," explains Richard.
"We are looking for people to give us feedback on the functionality and usability of the service. It is vital for us to get this right before we go live and start charging companies for the service."
Plans for the remainder of 2013
Once they are totally happy with the service, the brothers will go live with the service and start charging a small monthly fee for Webseam.
"We will also rev up our inbound marketing campaign so that we can get the word out to the developer community about Webseam."
The start-up was a recipient of Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF) last year and Richard Pike says the duo has also been keeping a number of investors abreast of progress at the start-up.
He says that there have not been too many start-up challenges with Webseam, as both he and Charlie have started companies previously and can anticipate most of the hurdles that start-ups can be faced with.
And what would he say to other tech self-starters out there right now?
"The most important thing is to have identified the pain that you are solving for the client. Much better to find a problem and then develop a technology to solve it, rather than the other way round. Once you have that, go for it!"