(Photo by Melissa DiPento)
Joyce Co. doesn’t call itself a venture capital firm, but it has funded a handful of startups since opening in Wilmington in 2007 — all in-house.
The organization — which works to find a problem, come up with a solution, bring the product or platform to market, de-risk it, raise capital and build a team to create the final product — has applied its formula across a number of consumer and technology fields.
The company, says founder Chris Joyce, produces two to three companies per year.
They don’t always pan out, but currently, the organization has two successful (and vastly disparate) startups on deck: Exert, a coolant marketed to menopausal women that helps regulate body temperature, and Movy, a public and private direct video messaging service available on Android devices.
The app — which serves users who can’t video chat at the same time, but still need to interact and visually collaborate — was soft launched in January and released in May.
“We view conversations as having value,” Joyce said.
Joyce and I tested this out last week during our interview.
Even though I have an iPhone (Movy will be available in the iTunes App Store in the next six to eight weeks), I was able to receive his video message via email. I clicked on the link in the email and there was his video message.
About 50,000 customers, both here and abroad, use Movy. Android devices were chosen, Joyce said, because about 85 percent of people internationally use Android, compared to about 40 percent who use the devices in the United States.
Currently, Android users can communicate easily via Movy. When a video message comes through to the recipient, he or she can record a video, which will be sent back to the original creator. Other Movy users can be added to the conversation at any time, Joyce said. And Movy messages are unlimited in the length of time. Videos already on a user’s phone can also be uploaded and shared.
Currently, about 30 people work for Movy.
Six people work in the Wilmington office. Joyce Co. is looking to expand and grow Movy, and plans to add about 20 additional tech jobs in Wilmington, including engineers, software developers and marketing/PR reps.
“We create everything and we’re growing,” Joyce said.