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

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Portland’s long-distance bike commuters

The Latest
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Matt KellyresizethumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Pushing the extreme.


Read more...

Loose Talk

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

When gossip crosses the line.


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


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