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Giuseppe Milazzo: Bootstrapping a Tech Startup to Modernise Business Cards

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Tell us about yourself, who is Giuseppe Milazzo?

I’m the Founder of Contapp, a Solopreneur that has bootstrapped a tech startup. We’re on a journey to improve the way business professionals use, share and manage business card data, whilst helping reduce paper waste globally. 

My background has always been in marketing and graphic design, which lead me to building Contapp. We’ve grown completely organically since launching and as you’ll see in the rest of this article, we have had a very unique approach to our tech startup.

Long story short, I built Contapp completely on my own. Everything is done by myself, from the app screen designs, marketing, branding, content marketing, articles, networking and more. Given my experience in marketing and graphic design, this has helped me hugely to go into the unknown and build my first ever business tool app, Contapp.

What motivates you?

My main motivation is to build a revolutionary platform which makes a positive impact on people’s lives (in and outside of the office), but also doing our part as a community of users to help save the planet with a simple change.

In short, user feedback, sustainability and my streamlined vision for improved business card data management is what motivates me the most.

The sustainability aspect is important for everyone and given the damaging reputation printed business cards have on the planet, users understand that Contapp is not only the cost-effective and convenient alternative, but also a planet saving solution as well. This motivates me hugely because as a community, all of Contapp users are having a positive impact on the planet by replacing printed business cards.

This is why users believe Contapp is an innovative business tool and the feedback I get from our community makes everything I do at Contapp worthwhile. Our App Store reviews are a clear example. More than 95% of our App Store reviews are 5-star and this makes me very proud as a Soloprenuer bootstrapping my business.

We’re a user-centric tech startup and I want to make our users part of our growth for the rest of time.

I’ve always been a very creative person and problem solving is one of my key strengths. Being able to have the opportunity and the vision to identify problems I’ve experienced in my Marketing career (business card management in this case), has given me the drive and motivation to build something that no one has seen before.

I have entrepreneurial role models like Elon Musk for example, which always motivates me to continue and never give up if you truly believe in your product & vision.  

What advice would you give to a founder of a startup trying to take on a climate challenge?

I would highly recommend looking into sustainability partnerships for your startup. This has been a key avenue for Contapp’s growth, by partnering and collaborating with like minded businesses that share the same sustainability vision as your startup.

This will benefit both parties and when you have a well thought out strategy for your sustainability partnership, it’s a recipe for success. You’re both working towards the same common goal, building a great relationship and you’re also getting your startup in front of a new audience. It’s a win-win for everyone, including the planet.

If you’re interested in partnering/collaborating with Contapp, drop our team an email today: [email protected]

How have you found being a founder?

It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. I’d be lying if it was easy. However, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my career. 

Although I do everything myself at Contapp, from the app designs, branding, marketing, articles, networking etc, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Yes I get very overwhelmed and stressed sometimes, but I completely believe in Contapp and the fruits of my labour will one day come into fruition.

As a Solopreneur, I learn new things constantly because I have to wear a million different hats every day. I understand the business from multiple viewpoints, which helps me understand how the cogs in the business work from all areas. It’s so rewarding seeing the positive feedback from users, amazing PR from third-parties, even the engagements we get from people on social media. 

One thing is for sure, you never stop learning as a startup founder. 

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What advice would you give to a pre-founder version of yourself?

This is a great question. I’d say just do it. Stop dwelling on the negatives of what could happen and remember to stay positive. There will always be ups and downs, but it’s all about how you react to them.

Like any global business in the world, they started off as a little seed with no revenue. As a startup, user feedback will be vital for you as you continue to grow. Don’t chase the money, chase the problem you’re building a solution for and the success will soon follow. Having a powerful network is a key tool for growth.

Have a good idea of what you want to achieve from your business and plan accordingly. Always start with the why. Why do users need your product/service? Why is this feature needed? However, don’t plan for the sake of planning because execution is more important. 

About Contapp

What does Contapp do?

Contapp is the smarter and more convenient solution to easily manage, share and use business card data, whilst reducing paper waste globally.

Built for business professionals, our user-friendly platform innovates the conventional business card into a digital way of using that data, helping business professionals of all levels to get the most out of the people they meet.

Contapp works as a digital business card, business card scanner and business card manager. It’s everything you wished your business card could do, with extreme security measures to make your data as safe as possible. 

It’s perfect for networking as well. Share business cards face to face or remotely, ideal for all kinds of networking events post-COVID. Store 1,000+ business cards backed-up via the Cloud and use our intelligent search features to have optimum organisation. This is just the start of how you can benefit as a Contapp user.

Our exciting roadmap paves the way for powerful integrations from leading softwares, transforming Contapp into your own personal business hub.

Contapp is available to download for free in the iOS & Google Play Store – save time, money and the planet today.

What inspired you to create Contapp?

In my marketing career, I was going to many networking events, meetings and exhibitions. It was clear at the time that business cards were a big pain in my neck, which led me to understand that this was a common issue amongst business professionals. 

I identified that printed business cards came with many issues. They’re difficult to manage/search for the right person, not good for the planet, expensive, inconvenient, prone to damage/lost, messy, requires F2F interaction, manual input from card to screen… the list goes on.

After downloading the top 5 business card apps, I was surprised at what was available. The apps I downloaded were very difficult to navigate through, old school ‘grey’ designs, full of bugs, not many features i’d expect, expensive and not very appealing to use. 

After lots of market research to validate my idea of an all-in-one business card solution, I had found my gap in the market! I spent the next stages noting what features were needed and then designed a modern, easy to use mobile app interface. 

Fast forward a few months and the first launch of Contapp was released in the App Stores in March 2020. Unbeknown to us, COVID hit the UK 2 weeks later, however we managed to turn a crisis into an opportunity. We now have users in all 4 corners of the world, available in 176 countries.

What is your magic sauce?

Being a user-centric startup which is completely bootstrapped and grown organically is a big part of why users trust Contapp. Our product is user-friendly and blows the competition out of the water, it’s now our users which are helping drive growth.

We have always been very transparent with our users and continually encourage them to be part of our growth. Whether that means sharing feedback (positive or constructive), sharing feature ideas or even engaging with us on social media, which we’re very active on. It’s crucial for us to have our users part of our journey and something we value very much.

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Partnerships and collaborations have also been a big part of our growth. For example, our networking partners have started ‘Powered by Contapp’ events, which means attendees don’t have to bring business cards with them. They download Contapp which works as their digital business card and can be shared directly to each other’s Contapp libraries automatically. Streamlined sharing and business card management, plus the event becomes 100% paperless, great for everyone!

Where do you see your company going in 5 years?

In 5 years time, we see Contapp as the leader in business card management apps, with key integrations from leading softwares. This makes our platform more trustworthy but from an end users POV, it makes processes even more streamlined. 

For example, Contapp will become your personal business hub. So users can use business card data to book a meeting or schedule a video call, which will then sync to multiple platforms they have.

We also see more businesses opting for Contapp’s digital alternative to printed business cards and it’s pretty clear to see why. Compared to printed business cards, Contapp users will save time, money and the planet. In a world where businesses want to become more green, Contapp is the perfect tool to make that simple but powerful switch. 

It’s the most cost-effective business tool in the App Stores, with premium plans from just £1.33 per month – How many printed business cards can you print and share with that? Zero.

Your mission statement says you want to “help tackle the global issue of reducing paper waste”. That’s quite a grand mission, how are you going about taking on such a grand challenge?

It is a big mission and we’re confident our community of users can help us achieve this.

By choosing Contapp over printed business cards, you’re already part of our journey to reach that objective. Not only are you saving the planet by reducing paper waste as a business/individual, but you’re also saving yourself an enormous amount of money and increasing productivity at the same time.

7.2 million trees are destroyed every year for business cards alone. 10 billion business cards are printed every year, 88% are thrown away within a week of receiving them. These raise many alarm bells!

Contapp is a paperless, streamlined solution to business cards. Switching to Contapp means no more loose business cards laying around your desk or drawer.. No need to carry or store piles of business cards in unmanageable folders. No need to throw away business cards when someone changes their job role.

If you’re not part of the solution that we’re building at Contapp to become more eco-conscious in business, then you’re part of the problem. 

Business cards suck, how can the world move beyond them?

We live in a digital world. Conventional business cards haven’t changed much since being introduced in the 15th century, so why are we still using them like we were in the 1400’s? 

As I mentioned previously, there’s no benefits of a printed business card when compared to a digital alternative like Contapp, especially in today’s digital world. Like anything, if you’re not keeping up with the latest tech or trends, you’ll be falling behind your competition. 

Our modern approach to business cards makes it an all-in-one business tool for all your business card needs, with digital benefits that are impossible to have on a printed business card. Afterall, Contapp is everything you wished your business card could do. 

The beauty of Contapp is that it’s flexible. You can use it as a digital business card. You can use it to digitally manage/use your printed business cards via your smartphone. You can use it to search all your business card contacts in seconds. Better yet, you can use it for all 3 like the majority of our users do.

What role do you see Startups playing in reducing Climate Change?

I think they have a huge role to play in reducing climate change because when you consider sustainability for businesses, it’s always a lot easier to integrate that in the early stages of your business. You have a blank canvas as a startup, so make sustainability part of your marketing strategy and be vocal about the fact that you want to reduce climate change as part of your mission.

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Startups are always looking for cost-efficient ways of growing and as I mentioned before, sustainability partnerships are an incredible way of achieving that goal together.

Sustainability has been part of our ethos before we even launched. We wanted to create a user-friendly business tool to improve the way we all use and manage business card data, which results in reducing paper waste as well. 

What has been your biggest setback so far?

Our biggest setback so far might be over estimating the growth of Contapp before launching. As we launched 2 weeks before COVID hit the UK (unknown to us), Contapp was in a bit of a grey area because people we’re scared to meet face to face and our product is based on people meeting with each other. 

So for over a year, Contapp was in the market but it wasn’t being used in its natural environment. Although we managed to turn the crisis into an opportunity by pivoting our platform to support virtual networking, it was still a tough time for us as a bootstrapped tech startup.

What has been your biggest win so far?

We’ve had many big wins in our early stages as a startup, celebrating even the smallest of wins. 

One of the highlights for us was being featured on live Australian news (Ticker News) for tech & business, with a prime time interview with myself (Giuseppe Milazzo, Founder). It was a crazy time for us as we were still pretty new to the market and still in lockdown, but our story and platform caught the attention of lots of people around the world. It was an amazing experience for us as a collective.

Another big win for use was reaching our first 500 active users, as well as our first ever paying user. These were huge milestones for us as we’ve worked incredibly hard to get to where we are, all through organic growth. It makes me very proud of what we’ve done and couldn’t thank all the users and supporters enough. This is just the start!

What is the next big challenge for your business?

The next big challenge for us is to reach the next milestones and increase the number of paying users. We want to increase our partnerships but also delve into the integration projects we have lined up. This will be a huge leap for Contapp as we’ve not had any third-party integrations with Contapp before, so we’re really excited to see where that leads us. 

We’re also really looking forward to getting more businesses onboard on our journey to switch from conventional, old fashion printed business cards, to a cost-effective, user-friendly way of using/managing business card data for their entire team. 

Being able to announce these businesses across our platforms will be great for us and also for the new businesses that come onboard. It will show that they’re making a conscious decision to be more sustainable and to keep up with modern platforms like Contapp.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

If you value convenience, streamlined management and cost-effective business tools, then Contapp is for you. Simple as that.

As a business professional, if you think printed business cards can be improved, then Contapp is the must-have business tool for you right now.

Remember, you can save time, money and the planet, all at the same time. Experience the smarter way of managing your business cards with our user-friendly app, you’ll wish you found Contapp sooner. Printed business cards will be a thing of the past!

Plus, there’s a good reason why 95+% of our genuine App Store reviews are 5-stars. 

Start benefiting immediately by downloading Contapp for free on iOS & Android

If you contact me on LinkedIn and mention this article, I’ll be happy to give you 1 month of premium access for free as well.

We’re looking forward to having you onboard our startup journey!

Links to Contapp:

2 thoughts on “Giuseppe Milazzo: Bootstrapping a Tech Startup to Modernise Business Cards

  1. This is awesome! Really cool startup and a very interesting read.

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