Founded in May 2013 by former HTC employees Michael Coombes (pictured left) and James Atkins, Kazam is a UK startup that aims to create affordable mobile devices for the European market, ranging from slim smartphones to rugged mobile phones.
Based in Mayfair in London's West End, Kazam has grown over the past two years to have a presence in 15 European countries and now employs 180 people.
V3 shone its Startup Spotlight on co-founder Michael Coombes to find out more about Kazam's history and how he developed the company since leaving his position of head of sales at HTC UK & Ireland.
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Why did you choose to develop Kazam?
The mobile market might be competitive, but it is also stagnated, full of brands all doing and offering the same thing. Kazam believes there is a real opportunity for a new mobile brand to disrupt the status quo.
We are passionate about delivering a truly useful mobile experience that doesn't stop once you've bought the phone.
Tell us how you got your business off the ground?
In November 2013, Kazam launched its first range of phones. We have since grown into one of the fastest-growing new mobile phone brands in Europe in less than 18 months.
This has been achieved by forging partnerships with Europe's biggest retailers, operators and mobile virtual network operators. Kazam also launched with its differentiated proposition - Kazam Rescue, cracked screen replacement and three-year warranty - which has been a very attractive selling point.
What technology do you use?
Kazam mobile devices are available on both Android and Windows Phone.
What level of funding have you received so far?
Kazam Mobile Ltd is funded by a group of private equity investors, who have previously launched and operated successful mobile telecommunications companies and technology businesses.
Some of their current investments include Nichefinder, a research and development company specialising in developing and customising mobile phone devices and tablets.
What challenges have you encountered to date?
Launching any new brand is challenging, particularly securing mainstream awareness. However, we have made significant strides across Europe.
Kazam is now present in 15 European countries, most recently opening up in Belgium, Netherlands and Greece.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business to date?
The launch of the world's slimmest mobile phone, the Kazam Tornado 348, which has generated significant buzz, as well as sales across Europe.
What do your employees do to relax or have fun after a busy day?
Every Friday we encourage our teams to finish early, relaxing together over a drink and a bite to eat.
What is your favourite thing about running your own startup?
Every day is different, whether it's developing a new product, defining a new marketing plan or meeting with a new retailer.
If you could emulate the success of another startup, which company would it be?
Kazam is keen to do things differently, rather than emulating others. Our mantra is "to innovate in areas often overlooked", which means challenging the industry status quo, questioning how things have traditionally been done.
Do you work remotely, in a shared environment or have your own office space?
We have our own office space.
Smart or casual?
Coffee shop of choice?
Le Pain Quotidienne.
Beverage of choice?
Kazam Life B6, our candy bar phone.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
Kazam works with a host of networks and partners, which fit with and are complementary to our organisation.
Can the government and the technology industry do more to support UK startups?
The government has a fantastic campaign to support UK startups with 'Make Britain Great' and Kazam is excited to be involved.
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