Interview with Azoomee, Innovation of the Year winner at the BSBA 2016

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Written by Office Freedom

In October, the winners of the inaugural British Small Business Awards were announced. We caught up with Azoomee, the winner of Innovation of the Year to find out more about their product, audience and what it takes to grow a successful tech startup in a competitive climate.

About the awards

Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2015- 5.3 million, in fact. The British Small Business Awards seek to recognise the huge contribution these new and emerging ventures make to the UK’s economy.

The inaugural ceremony celebrated the success of those involved in a range of small business ventures. Awards were handed out for The Website of the Year, Innovation of the Year and Sole Trader of the Year, among many others.

Interview with Azoomee

The Innovation of the Year award identifies the most groundbreaking technology, product or service with strong revenue growth in a business of no more than 50 employees over the course of the year.

Azoomee took home this award, and was particularly praised for its NSPCC endorsement, strong financial backing and a key strategic partnership. Their personalisable app provides children with a safe and secure platform on which to play games, watch shows, listen to audio, create art and learn.

Douglas Lloyd, co-founder and CEO of Azoomee, gave us the lowdown on his tech business, its values and successes.

What inspired the creation of Azoomee?

Estelle and I were inspired by our three daughters to found Azoomee. The real trigger was when our middle daughter Chloe wanted to listen to a popular nursery rhyme and she searched for it online. Unfortunately, what she found was not suitable for a seven-year-old!

You are endorsed by the NSPCC. How closely do you work together?

The NSPCC has been our strategic partner since February 2015. The NSPCC provides advice on online safety, they were a co-producer on our animated series Search It Up! which shows children how to be smart, safe and kind online (just nominated for a BAFTA this week in the Primary Learning category) and they provide marketing support. Azoomee donates to the NSPCC every time someone pays for a subscription.

Innovation Winner Azoomee

How does the app work?

Azoomee works on any mobile device (iOS or Android). The app lets children watch videos, play games, get creative and share messages in one secure place. The content is always updated and it also differs depending on the age of the child using Azoomee. Parents can set up individual accounts for each child so everyone gets their own experience. My Azoomee is not your Azoomee...

How easy was the app to develop and what makes it unique?

Apps aren't easy (or cheap) to develop. Azoomee is much more than an app because it offers so many different content types in one place. It also has very specific security features. The single aspect of technology that really stands out is our ability to automatically lock a child into the app on any Android device so there is absolutely no possibility of them leaving the app until a parent enters their PIN.

By activating the launcher in Android, Azoomee essentially becomes the underlying operating system of the tablet until someone enters the pin and returns the device back to its pre-Azoomee state. This means that any Android device with Azoomee effectively becomes an Azoomee device once it is installed, which makes it very kid-friendly.

Which content has proven the most popular with users so far?

Right now the games seem to be a real winner. The videos are very popular too but we have been surprised about how popular the games have been with children of every age.

What’s next for Azoomee?

Expanding internationally AND launching a very exciting new version of the app early in 2017.

Read our interview with Sole Trader of the Year.

All winners:

British Small Business Awards 2016:

Innovation of the Year: Azoomee

Finance Provider of the Year: Close Brothers Retail Finance

Professional Services Firm of the Year: Crunch

Leader of the Year: Paul Vagg of Bee Naturals

Alternative Finance Provider of the Year:Crowdcube

Micro Business of the Year: Handrail Creations

Workspace Provider of the Year: Workspace Group

Sole Trader of the Year: GLB Graphics

Service Provider of the Year: YU Energy

Technology Provider of the Year: Xero

Business/ HR Consultancy of the Year: ClearlySo

Website of the Year: Wearecolony.com

Recruitment Business of the Year: Indeed

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