Manoj Nair, CSO of BUZZI and Swarming, welcomes me into the offices of Swarming Technologies, next door to Milwaukee’s Oriental theatre on the East Side. Walking past walls in vibrant orange and blue, development teams hard at work, Manoj gives me a rundown of Swarming before we discuss the company’s new product BUZZI.
About Swarming Technologies:
Swarming started out in 2011 as an e-commerce development agency providing online retail solutions for midsize to large companies. They expanded their services through a partnership with IBM, the successful deployment of a learning management software RISE, and other developments that can be found on their website. After some unsatisfactory experiences with e-commerce, the team at Swarming was able to develop a new technology that they were excited to share with me.
Buzzi emerged from a need to improve online shopping experiences and help retailers understand the best methods to engage with their customers. The partners Ian Baxter, CEO of both of BUZZI and Swarming, and Manoj had learned from creating e-commerce websites that caches of user interactions were going under utilized, stagnating data could be easily repurposed and personalized.
Enter Buzzi, an open source platform that provides in-house developers meaningful uses for re-engaging online users. Buzzi’s team can then handle all the unmentionables that come with managing huge aggregates of data: this includes managing access to data, organizing data flow to specified users, and providing real-time error handling.
The team at Buzzi found aligning resources and getting organized to be their greatest challenge. “It’s like the saying, ‘Building an airplane when you’re already in the air,’ you have to be quick to prototype, test, and then get on board ASAP,” Manoj recalls laughing about trying to get Buzzi off the ground.
On Staying in Milwaukee:
Ian and the team have many connections in Milwaukee, so setting up Buzzi here was a no brainer. “If you plant your business in a garden of connections, you’ll see successful growth,” Ian noted.
The team is adamant about supporting Milwaukee’s community through long-term engagement and hopes that by bringing success stories they can encourage other businesses to have a bigger vision for their city.
For Buzzi, stationing in the Midwest was ideal when hard work and tenacity is the foundation of it’s culture. “Hard work is really important to what we’re trying to accomplish, we always need to be in the startup mode to be nimble… This culture of giving back has helped me sustain this,” Ian admits, attributing much of his success to the work ethic and community of Milwaukeeans.
On Advice for Startups:
Ian and Manoj agree that becoming an entrepreneur isn’t for the lighthearted and you got to be a little crazy to take risks. “I never had a formal job after high school, I’ve always been in startups, always loved where the problems were,” recalls Ian on asking him what it takes to become an entrepreneur.
Ian notes that Swarming was a 7 day a week, 12 plus hour a day job and at times he felt like a mad scientist. “You really got to have a level of tenacity and perseverance where you’re 100% in it.”
Many thanks to Manoj, Ian, and the rest of the team at Buzzi for this opportunity to learn more about their mission and help inspire the rest of the Milwaukee Startup community with their story. Check out their website at Buzzi.io.
Startup Spotlight is a summer series and collaboration between Pomelo Productions and Startup Milwaukee.
Author Alycia Griesi is the Lead Graphic Designer and Content Creator for Pomelo Productions. Alycia works remotely in Salem, Wisconsin, and spends most of her free time baking, biking, and playing with her dog Vinnie. For article inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.