First there was Yahoo! to democratize libraries. Then came Travelocity, to democratize airfare. Validas could be the next big thing online, to democratize cell phone service plans.
Validas’ idea is to be an independent resource for analyzing the performance of mobile phone contracts. “The market is staggering and it’s only going to get more complex,” COO Dave Chalmers said. “The plans aren’t going to get any easier to interpret.”
Anyone from individual users to companies of hundreds of employees could use the service; larger enterprises already use consulting companies like Accenture for such work, he explained.
Next week, the startup will announce its first significant customer, DVD rental kiosk specialist The New Release. The company operates more than 2,200 kiosks in the U.S. and Canada with more than 2,500 total wireless lines and an 800-page monthly bill. The kiosks are connected by cellular air cards, with The New Release saving a projected $200,000 per year by realizing it didn’t need unlimited data plans for every location, officials said.
Validas hopes to sign deals with multiple Tier 1 carriers within 12 months from now. Also planned are new features such as threshold alerts and opt-in data sharing for marketing purposes. Venture capital is also on the horizon, with Validas hoping to raise $5 million to $15 million by the end of this year. Expansion beyond North America is also likely.
Notably, competitor BillShrink.com could face legal issues because it uses a customer’s username and password to access account data, which works but may break the major carriers’ terms of service, Chalmers said.
BillShrink could not be reached for comment this morning.