Thursday, May 15, 2008

Best of Barcelona-Mobile Startups to Watch:Codilink

BARCELONA -I'm starting a new initiative this week, where I'll be highlighting local mobile/web companies based in Barcelona and track their achievements and future plans.

First off the starting block, is barcode scanning experts Codilink, set up by Ben Chesser and 2 other partners 4 years ago and now operating in Spain, UK and Mexico.Their main line of business are M-coupons, M-loyalty schemes and M-ticketing through the use of 2-D barcodes and count among their clients Audi, L'Oreal and Heineken. The company can now lay claim to having rolled out over 34 million barcodes worldwide.

Barcodes come in 3 formats, QRs (mainly used in Japan), Datamatrix and Bidis (the common name used in Spain). Bidis differentiate themselves by having been specifically designed so as to be scanned from a mobile phone screen, so are seen by some as being the more sophisticated solution.

Codilink prizes itself on its technology that allows its scanners to read any format of barcode, thus reducing investment costs for marketing campaigns.It also believes that developments in the Mobile Wallet concept (see earlier post) will accelerate the demand for barcode-based ticketing and vouchers. Already, Codilink established an agreement in Mexico with large scale cinema operator Cinepolis to replace paper tickets completely with an on-screen mobile barcode.

The future? Codilink is looking to expand rapidly in new markets and is eyeing India with particular interest (it has already conducted market tests there) and at the same time is attracting interest from OEMs looking to buy into barcode technology. Rumour has it that an offer from Motorola was rejected but that new deals could be in the pipeline...