By Chelsea Rice**
A little-known Perth start-up company is about to challenge the big players in Australia’s ultra-competitive mobile services market.
MeU Mobile will officially launch in Perth this month and is aiming to take a top five position in the Australian telco space within two years.
MeU’s founder is Brodie Rice, of Highgate, who started his career at fellow WA start-up Westnet, which was later acquired by iiNet.
MeU is a mobile virtual network operator, which means it offers mobile services through infrastructure and networks that are owned by other providers.
MeU will be using the Telstra infrastructure and network.
Mr Rice says MeU is a brand aimed at young Australians, primarily 18-35 year-olds.
“This is a brand for people who are tired of the big mobile brands. For those who are social, digitally connected and smart with their money,” Mr Rice said.
Recently MeU teamed up with newly Australian technology promoters Yonder and Beyond.
“The introduction to Yonder and Beyond was by chance through our PR company which also had Yonder and Beyond as a client,” Mr Rice said.
“I had always had an aversion to outside influences to what was essentially a close-knit group that brought MeU to what it was, but after meeting Yonder CEO Shashi Fernando it was clear that we had closely aligned beliefs and goals. Just 24 hours later the partnership was cemented.”
Yonder and Beyond will be investing A$400,000 and Mr Fernando will be taking an active role in MeU after recently coming on as a partner.
Mr Fernando has previous success in the UK market, where he founded the UK-based mobile video specialist company Saffron Digital, which was sold to smartphone giant HTC in 2011 for £30 million.
Mr Fernando also sat on the HTC board for a number of years.
“This incubator was really about where I could help with my contacts, where my team could help with their experience, and where we could really help new businesses, not just being an investor but sitting down with the these founders and actively getting involved,” Mr Fernando said.
“We like MeU mobile for many reasons. Brodie’s Key Message to me was, ‘we will lead on product and differentiate on service’.”
MeU currently has a live customer base that is being tested and vetted, with the official media launch due to happen on May 15.
“The reason behind our slow approach with the launch is because we have such a big focus on customer service and we need to ensure that our member services team are capable with scale,” Mr Rice said.
**The author of this story is the sister of Brodie Rice.