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Startup aims to provide brand web-conferencing services

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Markee marketing material of what a video conference meeting could look like. | PHOTO COURTESY MARKEE

WILMINGTON — New startup company Markee has its sights set on leading the revolution of customer relationship management (CRM) software, creating a new option for sales and customer relations firms.

Launched in May 2020, Markee offers a customizable virtual space for businesses with features like video conferencing, chatting, paywalls and the ability to customize its look for branding. It can also offer the ability to share content internally and externally.

From creating central spaces for sales teams to meet with customers to selling interactive event packages under a company’s own name, Markee CEO Craig Doig said this platform has the ability to reimagine sales and customer management tools.

“People see Markee as an event tool, and they see it as just a straight Zoom replacement. Where we want to be is with the Hubspots and Salesforces, but CRMs right now are a very back-end process,” Doig told the Delaware Business Times. “But there’s a major component missing: the front-end. The most important thing that these tools allow you to do is to interact with your customer.”

The seeds were planted for Markee while Doig was serving as chief operating officer of Short Order Production House in 2018, when one of its customers was looking for a content management system to share content internally, and wanted to walk away from their video contract. Short Order whipped up a system, which prompted the Fortune 500 company to buy it, Doig said.

“We let it percolate, and we agreed to lift it out of Short Order. The COVID hit, giving us the tailwind. We’d been playing with this infrastructure, and started to learn we could plug in video conferencing, polling, synchronous and asynchronous chatting and polling,” he added.

Markee started first with less than $100,000 in capital which included funds from friends and family, and with the leadership at Short Order at its back. By this point, Doig said the company has raised $600,000, and with partnerships with venture capital firms like Chicago-based OCA Ventures and Boston-based Atreides Management, known for investing in game-changing tech like SpaceX. 

The pandemic also gave Doig and his team the opportunity to connect with partners to gauge interest level to take Markee to market. It has grown organically as a video conferencing tool, but Doig said it really shines for branding purposes.

For example, when you set up a Zoom call, the Zoom logo will be visible in the corner of the screen. Not only does Markee have no logo visible, but it offers businesses to include their own.

Right now, Markee is working with Trellist Marketing and Technology in Wilmington and California-based companies The Future Party and NVE Experience Agency, a marketing firm with clients like Prime Video and Adias. More locally, the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce has used Markee for virtual events and dinners, and the Eastern Seals of Maryland and Delaware has used it for internal meetings and external events.

Over the next three months, Markee’s 10-person staff aims to finish and refine the product, which includes an overhaul of the interface, and gearing up its marketing strategy.

“We’re going to talk to people in the sales and support relationship management space and figure out who to target,” Doig said. “The good news is that because we closed that round of funding, we have some breathing room.”

In the long game, Doig, who moved to Delaware a few years ago from California, said he wants Markee to become the go-to replacement for Slack, Zoom and other similar tools for companies in the First State.

“I believe there’s $10 million in recurring revenue annually in Delaware, and it’s very important for us to stay here. We have the flexibility and right now, companies do have a tremendous say in what tools we can offer,” he said. “While Zoom and WebEx are faceless, I’m right here, and we can deliver. I will personally walk that relationship for any Delaware executive.”

By Katie Tabeling

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