Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business. – Woot, A WiFi-based Social Networking Service!


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I got an email from André Mlonyeni, CEO of Ground Control Labs introducing his company’s social networking service Moot connects people within the same WiFi network, usually around a location – such as cafés, school campuses or libraries – and allows them to interact with one another and share stuff peer-to-peer. One of the best things about Moot, Mlonyeni points out, is the fact that “as no mobile operator or ISPs are involved… users will not be monitored by any third party.” Cool stuff.

The Moot team currently consists of five people – three developers, one marketing guy and Mlonyeni – based in Oslo, Norway, three of whom are former employees of Norway telecommunications service provider Telenor. It turns out Mlonyeni himself was Telenor‘s former chief of research. “We’re a small company trying to bring social networking out of the virtual space and into the streets,” says Mlonyeni. “The main idea behind the concept is giving people new impulses based on the place they are and the context they’re in and the tools for broadcasting their personality and file sharing.”

“Therefore we designed this application for local interaction, where people can chat, share and express themselves digitally to other people in their physical surroundings.”

The key benefit for the user, Mlonyeni says, is the ability to communicate digitally with his surroundings without having any prior knowledge to the details of other people. “All Moot users nearby appear on the screen available for communication and sharing. Another benefit is that Moot is totally free. We are targeting the ‘Facebook-generation’.”

Moot is currently in beta. Mlonyeni shares that one key challenge it recently overcame was to ensure good encryption and authentication for its users when they communicate locally and directly with each other without a server. Their key growth strategy moving forward is to penetrate more terminals and platforms, and develop a user profile page that provides users with a history of their Moot events.

It’s a social networking service of a very different take, and not purely Web or mobile- focused like most others. Moot may target Facebook users, but I can see it used in other ways – It’ll kick ass in a classroom, or in a seminar or workshop.

Moot is funded by Norwegian investors to the sum of around US$1.3 million to date.

PS: I love its branding and the cool artwork!

andre mlonyeni

André Mlonyeni,

Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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