Mantella VP

Founded: March 2012

In 5 years there will be billions of amazing devices connected to the internet.  Everything from our lightbulbs to our cars will be connected enabling amazing features we haven’t even thought of yet.

But where will customers turn when things aren’t working?  Will they spend hours aggravated in forums wading through noise and searching for a contributor that knows what they’re talking about?  Will there be a call center that can afford to answer their questions?

No, neither of these will deliver answers for the mass market at the scale of the Internet of Things.  The CrowdCare solution combines an app where customers can ask their questions with a cloud based solution that will utilize all of the settings from the mobile device with the customer’s question to deliver the best answer.

Q&A with Ian Collins, Co-Founder & CEO

Where did the inspiration for your company come from and how did you get started?

In 2002 Jeff and I founded Mobile Diagnostix, the world’s first mobile data customer care solution, which we sold to Bitfone/HP in 2004. In 2011, after calling a carrier for help with my smartphone and spending a frustrating hour on the phone manually troubleshooting, I realized that customer care technology hadn’t evolved in 10 years, but mobile OS’s like Android had become far more complex to diagnose and fix. I knew there had to be a better way to deliver smartphone technical support to the billion smartphone owners out there, so I started CrowdCare to harness the power of mobile mavens around the globe to simplify and automate mobile device customer care.

What is the most important advice you’d give a first time entrepreneur?

Know when to ask for advice & when to ignore it.

Why/how did you become an entrepreneur?

When working for someone else, you generally have to keep your ideas to yourself. You’re paid for a certain function, and that rarely includes making huge improvements in anything, even if you’re sure you can do it. Your boss will quickly get tired of hearing you talk about making big changes. I couldn’t stand the frustration. As an entrepreneur, the only limit to my ideas is in my ability to build a team to turn them into action.

What do you look for from an investor besides money?

#1 and the easiest thing to get is connections (customers, partners & more money), #2 and less likely is company strategy/direction, #3 and what you’ll almost never get is product support. You’ll hear promises for all 3, but you’ll probably just get #1. With MantellaVP, we get all three.

What or who inspires and motivates you?

The people who have cashed out a ridiculous amount of money but still start another company, that’s something to admire.

Favourite lunch in King West?

Have to go with the all day breakfast at the diner at the Thompson Hotel (the Counter).

Favourite Pub/Bar in King West?

Rooftop at Gusto