Gerry Brandon - Eplixo
Launching a new product in direct competition with an established heavyweight may strike fear into the heart of many a start-up.
But, Gerry Brandon -- a self-confessed 'entrepreneurotic' -- is ready and willing to weigh in against Google.
Brandon, the founder of pharmaceutical firm Alltracel, has developed technology that incorporates instant messaging, blogging and other networking techniques to allow several users to work together on a single project -- at the same time.
He believes his Eplixtreme platform could potentially revolutionise the way organisations work throughout the world, cutting costs and increasing productivity.
The only catch is that its arrival coincides with the launch of Google's online collaboration tool Google Wave.
In its favour, however, is Eplixtreme's compatibility with the Windows operating system - something Google Wave doesn't have.
Brandon sees the arrival of both products in close proximity as a happy coincidence -- proof that the market is ready to take e-mail to the next level, allowing online users to collaborate and work together on the same documents.
"For us, the introduction of Google Wave has validated the platform that we've been working on. It has actually given us more credibility, and gives Google's competitors an opportunity to look at an alternative," said Brandon.
Developed over three years, Eplixtreme combines social networking with online collaboration, incorporating instant messaging, blogging and other networking techniques.
The Eplixtreme suite, launched in January 2008, includes communication, creative and productivity tools that can be used in online, mobile and desktop environments.
It allows users to create, edit and share documents, images and videos in real-time.
Brandon established the company four years ago after stepping down as ceo of Alltracel.
The subsequently sold to medical technology firm HemCom for e26 million. Brandon is using the proceeds of the deal to finance his new venture.
Eplixo has a lean operating structure, employing just three staff directly. The bulk of the work is outsourced globally to developers as far afield as Bulgaria, Uruguay, Poland, Slovenia and India.
"Finding contractors on an international basis is very straight forward, and as simple as going to Google.com or Freelancers.com," said Brandon.
"Most of the challenges we face have got to do with ensuring that the existing development teams we have contracted understand the vision of what we want to get out there."
Eplixo sells primarily through existing IT suppliers, as part of their own product suites.
"We use their marketing expertise and, in turn, they have an instant boost to their suite of products," he said.
Eplixo -- Brandon's eleventh venture to date -- is pre-revenue. "I love the adrenalin of actually starting a business, and building it to the point of profitability," he said.
"With Alltracel, it took me five years until it started to generate revenue. We are only three years into this. I would say realistically it will take about another year to get profitable.
"At the end of the day, it's all down to realistic perspective of what it is that you actually have."