enplug: A Startup With Big Dreams

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

It’s not easy starting out in the digital signage business, but for Kevin Ko, David Zhu and Navdeep Reddy, co-founders of enplug, a young startup in the Los Angeles area, it has been nose-to-the-grindstone since last year in a effort to perfect their offering of digital signage for small businesses.

Kevin Ko

The three all attended universities in California, and then Reddy worked for computer hardware company Zotac while Ko and Zhu spent a couple of years playing poker professionally before launching enplug. They and their team have a mix of knowledge of software development, digital signage and business management.

We interviewed Ko about enplug’s current status and its aims.

“We want to make sure everything we do is solid and stable,” says Ko, adding that the whole process has been a learning experience complete with the usual spate of surprises and delays.

Enplug’s aim is to put inexpensive but secure digital signage into local small business venues with a network solution cost that even the ordinary Mom-and-Pop-size company can absorb. To do this, it is using Android-based tablets, its own software, and contracting a local contractor, Yes Electric, for installation. It is also looking at using something like Raspberry Pis in its aim for low cost scalability.

In addition, enplug offers advertising creative – recognizing that most of its target audience couldn’t afford an ad agency, and many don’t have the money to buy expensive newspaper and TV advertising. At the moment, its staff is also selling both sites and advertising.

And it will be offering a free 30-day trial with its DOOH solution? That offer on the company website is currently on hold, as a mapping system on where its products are located or being located.

“We’re using Google Maps and we’ve had a few technical issues and have to do some tweaking before making them live,” says Ko.

Asked why the company wrote its own software, Ko says that cost of software from big software companies was a factor, along with the fact that the team simply didn’t like some of what was out there.

“We just wanted to develop our own so we could also put in what we want and with our own safeguards,” he says. “But right now, our focus is all sorts of ways to develop analytics that make sense for our target audience. No matter how small your business is, you want to know who sees your advertising, how many see it, and how it affects sales. Analytics is a big part of our company’s vision.”

That is one of the reasons why, although enplug’s original deployments were in restrooms, the company decided that there are other locations better located for tracking the audience of its potential clients.

So, while there are still a few kinks to be worked out, enplug is now pretty well ready to become a full-fledged network, with its eye initially on expanding across southern California.

In the meantime, Ko says, “One of the goals of the company this year is to have a first Series A round of financing. It’s for the next stage of our growth.”

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