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

Behind the curtain: What students should know about accreditation and rankings

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 04, 2014
120414-edurating-thumbBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?


Read more...

Corner Office: Steve Tatone

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.


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...

Corner Office: Marv LaPorte

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


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