GUNTER PFAU, 36, of Franklintown, is founder and CEO of Stuzo, a Center City creative-technology firm that pioneered social media, helping major brands connect with millions of consumers. Stuzo was sold in 2010, but Pfau and the original management team reacquired the company in January 2013 with plans to launch a mobile-engagement gateway - or MEG - to make mobile marketing easy for small-to-medium-size businesses.
Q: How'd you come up with the idea for Stuzo?
A: I was a student at Temple, and in 2007 Facebook opened up something called Facebook Platform. We began building on it because we knew social media would change the way businesss and consumers connected. Q: Where did you get the startup money?
A: I got $60,000 in cash advances on my credit card, plus $60,000 from my parents.
Q: What does Stuzo do?
A: Initially, we built marketing experiences for large brands like P&G, and we still do. We were one of the first Facebook developer consultants, and they paid us to build a promotions platform for their advertisers and later introduced us to some of them.
Q: Tell me about MEG.
A: Early last year, I researched where digital marketing was headed. We created a separate unit in the company called Stuzo Labs to build MEG, a do-it-yourself, one-stop shop to power mobile marketing without needing to hire a programmer or designer. We've begun taking a group of small Philly businesses live and will keep it local this year. Technology is half the solution.
Q: The other half?
A: We must be the Zappos of marketing software. The customer-support service we build around MEG is at least as important, if not more so, than the technology.
Q: Biggest challenge?
A: You don't take the entire company and move everybody behind the new thing. We've put a . . . wall between the two teams. Our MEG team is now 15 people and our base business team is 20 to 25. We have 12 people here, and the rest are in Ukraine. I'm basically running two businesses, and Stuzo is funding development of MEG. Eventually, we believe, the two will mesh.
Q: Why Ukraine?
A: They have abundant technical talent and know math.
Q: MEG customers?
A: Duke & Winston, a clothing brand, is one we can say.
Q: Cost of services?
A: Stuzo is a service [biz] and you hire us to do a project, say, a marketing campaign. The average project costs $35,000 to $150,000. MEG is software-as-a-service. There are marketing apps we believe every business should have, social [media] and related feeds, and those are free. We're building premium apps and we're going to charge a subscription fee for those ranging from $15 to $180 a month.