From Russia with Love26th January 2013
A visit from Russia brings collaborative working & new ideas to Spotamo
Georgi Mahmurov, a student of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and member of MIGIMO business incubator, came together with Chris Cooper & Edward Millen, to form a partnership that’s set to last a lifetime.
As a 4th year student he has co-founded AlmaCard.ru - an exciting discount programme built by students, for students. The service enables its members to receive offers and discounts in and around Moscow’s cafes, bars, restaurants and retail stores by simply showing their membership card at point of sale. He and his business partner Nickolai Demidchik have already been working with major brands in Moscow such as Topshop, Accessorize and CASCO - one of Russia’s largest insurance companies. They have already issued 3,000 membership cards to students and say the service is proving to be very popular.
Whilst here in Rotherham, as part of the Rotherham Youth Enterprise scheme, ex-call centre trainer Chris Cooper & self-taught software developer Edward Millen have together formed Spotamo.com. The pair originally met in an online chat room for technology enthusiasts when they were just 13 years old. They set out to create an interactive shopping experience; involving a free smartphone application to provide discounts and offers to shoppers through social networking. The duo have already partnered with over 50 independent businesses in South Yorkshire and have started to expand into surrounding areas, with a long term goal to provide the service internationally.
Chris Cooper explains, “Working with Georgi has really benefited our businesses and within minutes of meeting him, we started to share new ideas and discuss our current challenges. Our businesses are very similar and we are both at similar stages of growth. It was reassuring to hear how Georgi created AlmaCard.ru and has been successful in working with major retail brands from the outset to rapidly grow his business. His experience working with larger companies in Russia and his guidance has really helped us to tweak our existing plans and goals to grow our business here in the UK.”
Georgi also said, “Meeting Chris and Eddy at Spotamo has given me a new insight into using smartphone technology. The AlmaCard was created to provide an easy to use, no hassle loyalty programme for students in Moscow. After seeing how Spotamo embraces technology with their free mobile app, it made me realise how I could reduce the costs of issuing cards and provide a better service, by integrating new technological solutions. It has inspired me to work on further advancements with Alma. I look forward to working with Spotamo to share my experience of working with larger retailers. It’s been an incredible experience and I am very grateful Rotherham Council and (his University) MGIMO, to be given this opportunity to collaborate internationally.
Amanda Parris, Project Manager for RIDO’s Soft Landing Zone, visited Moscow 3 weeks ago to develop the relationship between RIDO and MIGMO. She added, “It’s fantastic to see two start-up companies come together to collaborate and share their experience at the Century Business Centre. Both parties expressed how beneficial the exchange visit had been and we are keen to continue to develop our efforts with international students as part of the long-term plan for RIDO’s Soft Landing Zone. We wish them the best of luck and look forward to seeing both businesses grow.”