Scotty Thomas, 57, is the CEO and co-founder of local business success story, Epicuest Platform Pty Ltd, which he runs out of its Ocean St, Maroochydore HQ with a team of three other co-founders, including Chief Technology Officer Billy Bowyer, 39.
Founded in 2015, Epicuest has gone from strength-to-strength, from humble beginnings, to servicing national brands within Australia and ambitious plans to go international in later 2019.
Here, Scotty (pictured) talks us through the ethos behind the business and how, as a Sunshine Coast-based enterprise, the co-founders have had to overcome numerous obstacles in their quest for global domination.
Q: How would you best describe your business?
Epicuest is a local area marketing and messaging platform which empowers franchises and multi-location businesses to conduct local area marketing the right way. Franchise brands and multi-location businesses are saving hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars each month using our platform.
Our top three business benefits our clients tell us are most important to them include:
- The ability to efficiently run scalable national campaigns from their head office.
- They can easily maintain brand integrity and messaging across the group.
- Our business empowers the franchisee and individual locations to run highly relevant and localised campaigns.
Q: How and when was your business established?
After running our own digital web agency for more than a decade, as four co-founders, we realised the email marketing and tools we were resellers for to service our franchise and multi-location businesses did not meet the challenges of local area marketing at a grass-roots level or provide the necessary scale for companies’ head offices. We then embarked on building the Epicuest Platform in 2015.
Q: What is your company vision?
To be the No.1 marketing software platform of choice for franchise brands, buying groups and multi-location enterprises within the next five years, both nationally and globally!
Q: What is your business niche?
The Epicuest Platform is a powerful email marketing system supported by SMS messaging, beacon proximity marketing and notification tools for national and global brands that are franchises and multi-location businesses. Retail, property developers and tourism are the sectors which we are concentrating on.
Q: What major projects are you working on? When will they be launched?
The Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk project officially launches on Tuesday, February 19. This has been 18 months of development that will enhance the tourist’s experience of the Skywalk using our BeaconNear® proximity technology. Our Rainforest Skywalk App has been designed to enhance visitors’ experiences as they walk through the rainforest by presenting information and points of interest notifications throughout their journey onto their smartphones!
More than 60 per cent of Skywalk visitors are international tourists, for whom English is not their primary language, so the information provided throughout their walk will be available in English, German, Japanese and simplified Chinese. Once downloaded, the Skywalk App will automatically detect each visitor’s language settings on their smartphone and display the appropriate language for them. All the content has been translated precisely and accurately by humans, not by using Google translation.
Q: Who are your major clients?
Office Choice, United Franchise Group Australia, Signarama, EmbroidMe, Fully Promoted, INTERSPORT, Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, Transworld, Imperial Hotel Eumundi and AutoPlus.
Q: What do you love most about your business – what are you passionate about?
It’s enormously rewarding and gratifying to be told by a client that what we provide them with is having a really positive impact on their organisation.
Q: What challenges have you had to overcome as a Sunshine Coast business?
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get too much traction or interest locally in the early days of our BeaconNear® proximity technology and we had to look outside of the Sunshine Coast region to find an organisation that was prepared to take a gamble on us. We have been very fortunate to have been introduced to the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, a family-owned tourism business who believed in us and worked closely with us to develop this innovative solution to enhance their visitors’ experiences. We are hoping this will lead us to find a like-minded tourism business on the Sunshine Coast which is prepared to work with us to deliver exceptional experiences for their visitors.
Q: What are the secrets to your business success?
As a start-up that has been bootstrapped from day one with no investment, we have been faced with many obstacles and enormous financial challenges over the past four years. What sets us apart is our great team of four co-founders who have demonstrated true grit, determination and an unwavering belief that we are making an impact and are solving some big challenges faced by our clients.
Q: Do you need investors?
Yes, 2019 is the year for growth and are seeking the right investors to help us fast-track expansion and growth.
Q: If you could change one thing about the Sunshine Coast what would it be?
Local internet reliability and speed still rates very highly as a major challenge. There are still many areas on the Sunshine Coast from which it is very difficult to operate a business that relies 100 per cent on a fast and reliable internet and mobile network.
Q: What is the best business or life advice you have ever been given?
You can’t be you if you’re trying to be somebody else!
Q: Any famous last words?
I believe the two most important attributes and characteristics needed in being an entrepreneur are grit and the support of family and friends.