As we have reported, US app developer Bitzio, our current trading idea, has recently announced a change of CEOs. Nordic Investor has managed to get hold of Peter Henricsson, new CEO of Bitzio, who took his time to answer a couple of questions:
Nordic Investor (NI): Peter, could you tell us a bit about your background and most recent positions?
Peter Henricsson (PH): I was the founder, president, chairman and CEO of CellPoint Inc., founded in 1996 and we listed it on the OTC BB. We made complete server systems for Mobile Carriers to deliver apps, especially location based services. This was in the days that the Carriers were so scared of becoming just “dumb pipes”, only delivering voice and data. They had determined that they needed to own the customer relationship, so they had to own and deliver their own services. So we delivered them the back bone systems to do this. We also had several apps running on these servers, like Find-a-Friend that we ran together with Yahoo! Europe in 2000. Most of our customers, like France Telecom, British Telcom, Tele2, KPN, etc were in Europe so we moved the company to Europe and most of our share holders were also there. We were clearly the leading company in the world on mobile technologies and services around location based services. The company came to a market cap of $1 Billion dollars, and we uplisted to a full NASDAQ listing in 2000. I left the company in 2002 and retired from day-to-day involvement in any company and moved back to North America.
Before that I worked with a number of smaller start ups in Canada/US after I emigrated to Canada in 1987. Previous I was with Atlas Copco in Sweden, Singapore, Indonesia and HongKong/China. Also worked for the Swedish Export Council and Esselte. Studies at Uppsala University and North Carolina State University
Nordic Investor (NI): For how long have you been involved in Bitzio?
Peter Henricsson (PH): I have known the management for many years and followed Bitzio from the beginning. Became involved as an advisor in the spring and invested $200,000 in a private placement in the spring. Was a part of the development of the new strategy and invested an additional $300,000 in September and took over as President and CEO and a member of the board then. I have to make sure they are not wasting my money 😉
(NI): Why does the change of ceo take place at this point? Any special reasons?
(PH): See point 2 and also I have more experience with public companies and the investor community. I think I am also more frugal with the company’s money than Bill. And I am probably a bit more disciplined in keeping the focus for the company. It is easy to be distracted and try to do too many things at the same time in a small company. Bill is now the chairman of the board and continuing on the things inside the company where he is better than I am. In many ways, he and I are co-CEO’s.
(NI): What is your vision and your goals for Bitzio?
(PH): My main goal is to get Bitzio ready for an uplisting to NASDAQ national market for 2013. This will be done by focusing on our strategy: We acquire licenses for sports and entertainment properties, we build apps that connects them further with their fan-base and we monetize the apps and share the revenue with the licensees. That’s it.
(NI): Where is Bitzio in regards to its acquisition strategy? Do you see a need to acquire more talent and if so in what area?
(PH): If we find some company with interesting apps, we may acquire them instead of developing the apps ourselves. There are lot’s of good companies/apps out there that can not make money. We have proven that we know how to monetize apps. But those apps have to fit into our strategy with apps for fan-based communities. But if we for example have license with a cricket club and we find a very good cricket game that is not making the developer much money, we may acquire the app and use it for our licensee instead of developing our own game.
(NI): Which are the biggest areas for improvement you see today?
(PH): Keep our eyes on the ball and driving forward, not be distracted with other opportunities, no matter how interesting they may look.
(NI): You acquired companies in different regions like Germany, Uk and USA. How does the co-operation work? Are they all working on different projects?
(PH): Not only are we in different countries, our people in North America are also all over. Today, there is not any big advantage in having everybody in the same room. Our talent is constantly in contact, working together, bringing their particular expertise to every project.
(PH): If we take the NFL app as an example, it will be ready by end of October, approval by the Apple store and Android will take 1-4 weeks and then launch. Revenues will start immediately, but there is a 30-45 day lag until we get it in the bank. So revenues from the NFL app will start around December 1, and we think that with the support of NFL players association and the players themselves, we will have significant revenues from day one. We expect to sign additional licenses in the next few weeks and have revenues from them in 120 days. We are projecting revenues from the NFL app of 8.9 million dollars in the first year and we receive after costs and revenue share 49% (or $4.4 million) of that. Of course it is always a possibility that it becomes really popular and we could reach many times that number.
Here is also a short video interview with Peter Henricsson:
Exciting times ahead of Bitzio. The deal with NFL Players was certainly a milestone for the company and we are eagerly awaiting the launch of the Trivia-app during Q4 2012. With financing in place, an experienced management and a more focused strategy following the divestment of the developer-tools unit, we believe Bitzio seems well on track to become a successful app developer.
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