Home Back Issues May 2013 Celly launches its DIY network

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

What I'm Reading

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nick Herinckx, CEO of Obility, and Jake Weatherly, CEO of SheerID, share what they've been reading.


Read more...

Knight Vision

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Travis Knight wants to release a movie a year. Can he pull it off?


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

The 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon 2014

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
14BY KIM MOORE

Proud, diverse and underpaid.

Pride in their organizations’ mission, fairness in the treatment of women and ethnic minorities, flexible work schedules — these are just a handful of workplace characteristics that employees of this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits appreciate about their organizations.


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Pete Friedes

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

082714-thumb friedesbookTom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.


Read more...

The Backstory

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

In our cover story this month, Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, discuss their rapidly growing businesses and Portland’s red hot food scene. The conversation provides an interesting lens through which to explore trends in the grocery store and restaurant sectors.


Read more...

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


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