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FaceMe: Shaking up video calling

FaceMe's team

(L-R) Danny Tomsett (GM product development), Mark Christensen (managing director) and Richard Rogers (GM sales and operations), the force behind FaceMe.

Local startup FaceMe may have spun out from Hitech Solutions, but it’s going to be much bigger than its parent company, managing director Mark Christensen reckons.

Its browser-based video conferencing technology came about after feedback that traditional communication products were expensive, difficult to use and inflexible.

But now it’s possible to conference from anywhere, even via a tablet or smartphone – no downloads required.

“You can send a link to anybody in any location and they can come in as long as they have access to a browser and camera,” he says.

“We’re out to change the whole paradigm and open up the standard. Like an email or a voice call, you would expect it will get through to anywhere in the world.”

From concept to first release, FaceMe was 18 months in development.

It has now been in the market for a year and the business employs 28 staff.

Customers hail from a range of fields, from general business through to education and healthcare.

Many exporters also use FaceMe to build and enhance relationships abroad, says Christensen, overcoming the issue of isolation.

The FaceMe technologyAlso impressed were the judges of the recent BNZ/Virgin business challenge, which sought out a New Zealand business with passion, creativity and innovation in spades, and the potential to go gangbusters offshore.

FaceMe walked away with the grand prize, snagging a cool $100,000, free Virgin air travel, and other non-monetary benefits.

The team has been busy “working all the angles” and getting on track for a big year, talking to incubator The Icehouse, taking up mentoring from BNZ executives, securing spots at numerous international trade shows and booking flights to Singapore, Dubai, the UK and the US.

What they’re really looking forward to, though, is meeting Sir Richard Branson himself and picking his brain.

What lies ahead? Ramping up the Australian presence and rolling out a new product release this month that’s entirely proprietary, rather than incorporating elements of overseas software.

Christensen says FaceMe is committed to internationalisation and can be a true multinational run from New Zealand.

“It’s not like to have to go base ourselves in the States because of the type of technology we’re offering.”