While most people think of brick-and-mortar stores as traditional industries being disrupted by startups, for Hongwei Liu, catering to brick-and-mortar was an opportunity.
Hongwei Liu is the co-founder of MappedIn, a Waterloo-based startup that creates indoor navigation for mall operators, which includes a mobile app and touchscreen kiosk. While this may seem like a simple solution at face value, Liu went on The Disruptors to talk about how MappedIn actually solves a more complex issue of data fidelity — for example, the marketing team and the owners of the mall itself will often have different maps.
“Our real customer and our real product is actually focused on the mall operator,” said Liu. “For them, the biggest challenge is actually managing their data.”
While MappedIn originally wanted to deliver its platform across a variety of industries, the company is now focusing on the retail centre. “We’re not really disrupting them so much as helping the disrupted,” Liu said. “Retail is this $4 trillion dollar a year industry that is losing one percent to ecommerce.”
— Bruce Croxon (@bruce_croxon) November 6, 2015
Three years ago, when MappedIn was on Dragon’s Den, The Disruptors co-host Bruce Croxon had the chance to invest in them. Croxon ultimately decided not to invest because there didn’t seem to be enough traction at the time. “A lot of these early stage companies, the biggest challenge that they all have is distribution,” said Croxon when asked by co-host Amber Kanwar if he regrets not investing. “They’re targeting all these big companies that aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to add new costs, technology, and innovation into their malls.”
Watch the whole pitch below:
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