Note: This is a guest blog post by Märt Ridala from Estonia.
I interviewed Valentin Ivanov, the founder of Bizi, which is a new startup launched in Estonia last week. The service Bizi offers could be called “Estonian Twitter” with some minor modifications – possibility to add video and pictures. Valentin is an Estonian entrepreneur with international experience, having spent the last decade working in IT developing online applications for the mobile, gambling and entertainment industries in positions ranging from developer, technical manager to Chief Executive Ofﬁcer. Valentin is also Founder and CEO at Yaika.com, which enables anyone to start their own live TV or radio channel for free. Let’s hear it from Valentin.
1. What is BIZI in a nutshell?
BIZI is a life-moments exchange network. Through BIZI, we aim to unite family members, friends and just other people together via letting them share their short news, feelings and emotions as short messages, small photos or 15 seconds long video records. All this can be done very easily over web, mobile and (very soon) over SMS as well! All this can be done free of charge and will stay free.
There are lots of ideas how to use BIZI for both personal and organizational purposes; either commercially, or non-commercially. Those, who will keep an eye on our press, blogs and other forums will find a lot about it very soon.
2. Why should a person use BIZI instead of Twitter?
The most important reason to use BIZI instead of any other foreign service is the opportunity to speak in your own language to others, who want to do exactly the same.
BIZI offers a bit more than just a Short Text Messages Exchange service – our features are a bit different and definitely more innovative than Twitter, Facebook.com or Orkut.com have. Thus, providing a list of features for real micro-blogging, BIZI lets users to enhance their text posts with 15 seconds long video-audio or just a voice record right from their webcam and microphone. Or, users can add a photo or any other illustration instead!
While developing, we were trying to cover all the needs and requests of our friends, colleagues and also those people, who live in our country and use Twitter, Friendsfeed.com and other similar services over the Internet. BIZI has been made in Estonia and for Estonia.
3. Is BIZI meant for Estonian market? Do you have plans regarding other markets?
As for now, BIZI has been made for Estonian market only. Regarding extending BIZI to other markets, may be one day…
4. What is your general opinion about making local copies of global social-networking services? Is it reasonable to make them? Why people prefer the local copies?
To be very honest, creating BIZI is quite an old idea, which was growing inside me for quite a few years. But as I expect nobody will believe me, I will try to answer your question as-is: my general opinion of bringing something extremely good to local countries in local language and tuned up to be mentally local as well is definitely excellent. How much reasonable is to create such projects is normally a business question to the one trying to that. My reason is a longing for something exciting, something that I can use personally in a home way, and the opportunity to share it with my friends and relatives – people I love and people I want to be part of my life. With all our projects – both BIZI, Yaika.com and the others we are heavily working on – we want to bring a grain of positive emotion to people, to make them happier, more friendly and open.
Now, answering why people prefer local copies, I would first like to ask you back – why do we always prefer everything to be “in my language”: a recipe in the medicine shop to be easily understandable, a movie to be either fully adopted or enhanced with subtitles? Why do we normally prefer everything to be “in my way”? Just because we always prefer to feel ourselves much more secure and comfortable, when we are fully after the situation.
5. How does BIZI plan to make money?
We expect BIZI to get profit form selling advertizing and receiving
sponsorships. Once in the future.