Flomio started as a side project to get me out of my corporate job. I was working at Motorola doing R&D for the government and public safety market. After 12 years of building bleeding edge prototypes and watching them sit in the lab, I knew there had to be a better way. Wireless technologies were getting added to consumer products at an accelerated rate and in several occasions I could build things at home that were just as good as what we had at work.
So I set $20k aside and linked up with a friend, Tim Ronan, who was doing freelance work for ad agencies. We came up with some ideas and potential customers to pitch. It was late 2010 and the biggest pain for the OOH ad industry at the time was proving ROI in the face of extremely efficient digital ads. We chose to focus on Proximity ID solutions that could track consumer engagements and report them back to a cloud data store. Seemed like a good plan but I was pretty unfamiliar with the web stuff I knew we would need.
I thought of reaching out to John Bullard, who I met while he interned at Motorola and was now at Microsoft. I remembered John had built a couple Facebook apps and figured he could help with the web part. He was interested so I hired him to help build our first product. The system consisted of RFID wristbands that would automatically post data to associated Facebook accounts. I used a jailbroken iPhone 2G, an RFID reader over RS232, a level shifter, and a battery pack to read the RFID tag IDs. John setup a REST API to listen for posts from my app and log them to a database. A web app would then match the tag IDs to Facebook tokens and post pre-set messages to the relevant news feed.
Things worked well for demos but every customer we showed it to wanted something slightly different and we could never get good traction. A local accelerator, IncubateMiami, thought they could help. By then NFC was becoming popular in Android phones and so we focused on building infrastructure that could allow web developers to deploy rich digital-to-physical applications without getting tripped up by hardware.
After a year of work and no revenue or outside investment, things started to cease up. I was working on the project alone and seeing where to take it. I often used our stack to compete in hackathons and was contemplating some other accelerators. Flomio was accepted into the Techstars Cloud 2012 program and that’s when things started happening. Today the company serves over 1000 customers ranging from single developers to large enterprises. We help them procure and integrate the best Proximity ID technologies in order to deliver personalized and contextually relevant content in friction-free fashion.
Where did the name “Flomio” come from?
Our first product offered a dynamic way to reflect social engagement by way of physical interactions. We often referred to it as “flow” or “flo” for short. Internet of Things companies typically use the “io” suffix to signify bridging the digital and physical (e.g. Twilio). So I started with that and added the “m” to join the two. Like a signal on an oscilloscope, the “m” squiggle symbolized the marriage of “flo” with “io”. Simple to remember and with an available domain, it was an easy choice.
Flomio was built through the hard work of dozens of people. Our culture is one of never giving up and getting it done. Those that could handle it have earned the team jersey of Flomie for Life.
We’re making it happen in Miami Beach, Florida. Come by and say hi!
7171 Bay Dr. Ste 9
Miami Beach, FL 33141