Norwich and Swaffham-based 99Squared are called on to work on Big Issue download
12:00 24 October 2012
©Si Barber 2010. No Syndication. No useage in any media without direct permission of Si Barber
A Norfolk start-up company hopes to revolutionise the way people interact with magazines and adverts with their latest scanning software for mobile phones.
99Squared, based in Norwich and Swaffham, has developed a payment platform for The Big Issue, which enables people to buy a digital edition of the magazine from a street vendor by scanning a QR code with a smartphone.
It comes as the company looks to put the finishing touches to a second product, KUOOB, that transfers personalised advertising from newspapers, magazines and areas of shopping centres directly to people’s phones and electronic tablets.
Johannes Ahrenfelt, who co-founded the company with Pip Cartwright last year, has already worked with insurers Standard Life, Southwold brewers Adnams and the Nolcha fashion week in New York to market their brands using QR codes and smartphone technology. He said: “On the back of the work we did with Standard Life, The Big Issue heard about us and asked us to develop a specific product for them.
“You can scan the QR code on your vendor’s badge with a smartphone and pay cashlessly through Paypal. As soon as you pay for the edition it downloads to your phone.
“50pc of the money goes straight to the vendor and 50pc goes to The Big Issue company. The Big Issue is now encouraging the vendors to get their own bank account to receive their Paypal payments.”
At present, The Big Issue are trialling the new payment method across Exeter for six weeks until a decision is made whether to roll out the software nationally. Meanwhile, Mr Ahrenfelt, whose company has turned over £19,000 since 2011, said he began developing his concept for the KUOOB after seeing how mobile phones transformed the way people shopped. The product, set to be launched on November 1, will use near field communication that will allow shoppers to use their smartphone to touch a cube in a shopping centre, or scan a tiny dice in a magazine, to send personalised adverts to their phone.