Swytch: A flexible mobile network killing off the work phone
With all the capabilities of modern devices, the absence of a flexible mobile network isproblematic for agile companies looking to integrate numbers onto a single phone.
To solve this problem, Chris Michael conceived a’system that could give a mobile devicemultiple phone numbers at any given time. With a clear target of creating the “go-to mobile network for any business”, he founded Swytch.
An impressive 300, 000 organic downloads in the first year led to significant investment in the business, capping off a successful first year that saw Swytch gain recognition at Prince Andrew’s Pitch@Palace.
Business Advice caught up with Michael to find out why his flexible mobile networkcould revolutionise the way small companies handle internal telecoms.
Who are you and what’s your business?
My name is Chris Michael and Im the CEO and co-founder of Swytch.
Swytch is killing off the work phone by providing multiple numbers that can be used on one mobile phone. Numbers are available on-demand through a simple online dashboard and can instantly be added, removed and transferred at any time.
Businesses can now provide their teams with a work mobile number on their personal handsets. As the numbers are cloud based, they are accessible from any connected device and work in exactly the same fashion as any other mobile numbers. Calls and texts can be made from the Swytch app while the company manages their stock of numbers from the Swytch online dashboard.
Swytch combines the control and ownership of a work phone with the flexibility and simplicity of bring your own device (BYOD), while removing the pain points of each
How long have you been around for?
We launched Swytch in 2015 and achieved more than 300, 000 organic downloads in the first year. This helped us secure the investment we needed to develop and launch the Swytch online dashboard.
We are now the first mobile operator in the world to offer an online dashboard that gives businesses access to on-demand UK mobile numbers which they can assign to employees and manage from a central location.
How does your flexible mobile network make money?
Swytch is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform with a simple subscription model.
Mobile numbers are 5 per month and outgoing calls and texts to UK mobile or landline numbers cost between fiveand six pence per minute. All international calls are charged at local rates.
The great thing for businesses is that calls made to other Swytch numbers are always free.
What makes you different and why should people take notice?
Multiple numbers on one mobile phone is just the beginning. Our vision is for Swytch to be the go-to mobile network for any business to be synonymous with business communications, and offer powerful features that go beyond anything available with traditional mobile numbers.
We believe mobile numbers should work for businesses, enhancing their productivity and providing benefits far beyond simple mobile communication. We want every team member to be able to use their chosen personal phone at work, while having complete control and visibility over their business and personal calls.
What was key in terms of getting started?
I came up with the idea for Swytch whilst running another business and managing my communications on one device!
I wanted to create a new way to separate business and personal communications a better way for businesses and their employees. This wasn’t an easy task though.
Although I had the idea and passion, I quickly realised this would not be enough to bring investors on board. Instead, I partnered with my co-founder, Xavier de Solms, to structure the idea properly.
We bootstrapped development of the prototype, working with a main UK mobile network operator to integrate premium UK mobile numbers into the Swytch cloud-based mobile network. Only then were we ready to secure investment to launch the initial product.
As it turns out, this was the best thing that could have happened to us. We’ve remained a small, agile and lean startup, achieving a huge amount in a relatively small space of time.
Swytch achieved more than 300, 000 organic downloads in the first year, gaining recognition across the UK startup industry, including finalist positions at Pitch@Palace and the British Small Business Awards.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
While creating and successfully launching the platform was undoubtedly an amazing achievement, it’s really been the positive stories from users about how Swytch is helping their business that’s been the biggest reward for me.
We committed at the very beginning to focus on our users. Hearing stories about how Swytch is solving problems they have been dealing with for years is so rewarding it makes the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile!
Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.