Celly launches its DIY network

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013

BY LINDA BAKER

0513 FOB Launch Celly
Russell Okamoto, CEO of Celly
// Photo by Adam Wickham

Does the world really need another social network? If it’s a network that focuses on the social good, doesn’t bombard users with ads, and allows people to start and host their own networks, the answer is a resounding “yes,” says Russell Okamoto, CEO of Portland startup Celly. Founded in 2011, the company lets organizations, groups and individuals create “cells”: free, text messaging-based mobile social networks for group communication. So far government agencies, schools and nonprofits have taken advantage of the service. Teachers use Celly for student assessment, while groups such as Doctors Without Borders are interested in tapping the mobile network to collect health information from rural populations. In lieu of onsite advertising — “We don’t believe people want to be spammed,” Okamoto says — Celly aims to monetize by selling enterprise subscriptions. How will the company succeed in an industry fraught with competition? The days of centralized social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are numbered, Okamoto responds. “That’s all going to go away, and there will be a new reality where people want to own data, host it on their own machines and selectively talk to each other,” he says. Not that there aren’t challenges ahead. “We’re up against some of the richest, most powerful companies in the world,” Okamoto acknowledges. “You could say we’re foolish or we have a winning strategy.”

COMPANY: Celly

PRODUCT: Social media platform

CEO: Russell Okamoto

HEADQUARTERS: Portland

LAUNCHED: 2011

GRAND AMBITIONS: “I’m a 46-year-old with a daughter who is a high school student. I’m not a 20-something trying to build frivolous Snapchat-like things. Social enterprise is woven into the DNA of our business plan. We wanted to build something game changing.”

MONEY TRAIL: Secured $1.4 million investment led by Oregon Angel Fund in February. Five employees, including co-founder Greg Passmore. “We don’t have that many paying customers yet, but we have a lot of fans.”

 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 Thomas at NE1UPGuest 2013-05-15 04:05:12
Thay's awesome, really love seeing all these other startups succeeding, especially fellow Oregonians!

Now I wish I could interest them in taking my NE1UP.com domain and maybe rebranding, lol.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

The Carbon Calculus

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.


Read more...

Transportation Fairness Alliance holds demonstration in Pioneer Square

The Latest
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
IMG 3367BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.


Read more...

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

5 companies react to lower fuel prices

The Latest
Thursday, January 15, 2015
thumb-shutterstock 233787049BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Consumers love the savings they get from low oil prices, but how has business been affected?


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS