SMB Support Systems Player Holonis Preps Its Debut At SxSW

As veteran tech observers debate whether the Austin digital media fest is “over,” this local market e-commerce startup is betting that this is the right place, the right time for its debut.

As thousands of interactive companies will descend on South By Southwest’s Interactive showcase this month, former biotech executive Richard Hollis believes that his new venture, Holonis, will standout primarily by zeroing in on small-to-medium sized businesses.

Richard Hollis
Holonis CEO Richard Hollis

Billed as a “digital marketplace,” Holonis is far-removed from Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals, the San Diego biotech company he co-founded in 1992. Holonis is focused on providing engineering and support systems for SMBs’ content distribution, Search Engine Optimization, social media marketing management, and analytics.

As Mashable considers whether SxSW Interactive has “jumped the shark” in terms of its wider cultural influence, Hollis is certain that the crowded event being held from March 13-17 is only starting to command the attention of businesses outside the tech bubble — namely, SMBs who are still exploring how to approach interactive marketing.

With customers increasingly accessing business info on many devices and across many locations, building a clearly defined and discoverable digital presence is crucial. Hollis hopes that his pitch to SMBs, who tend to look for simpler and more cost effective ways to run their digital profiles and programs, will inspire use of Holonis’ platform.

“Holonis empowers essentially any business to execute a comprehensive digital strategy,” Hollis says. “And we think South by Southwest is the perfect place to launch and get the word out.”

GeoMarketing: How do you pitch Holonis to a small business owner who might not be particularly “online savvy?” Why do businesses need this in today’s world?

Richard Hollis: Businesses need a digital strategy to capture customers online. They just do. And it is very confusing and difficult to capture customers online without automation and without the integration of fragmented software tools not designed to work together. Holonis simplifies the complexity of succeeding online with an integrated system where all the tools work together to capture traffic. In today’s digital economy, competing for customers with a digital strategy is mandatory.

How does location data and online listings information play into a business’s overall digital presence? Why is it important today?

For service-based companies geo-marketing is mandatory. Search engine algorithms are designed to provide the best answers to a query and the more specific a company is tied to a location, the better the search result. A company servicing a specific location within a defined area will generate a better search result for the consumer.

How do you see the digital presence space evolving? What’s to come in 2015?

It is forecasted that online commerce will continue to grow, and the Holonis marketplace provides the automation to enable businesses of any size to succeed.

A marketplace that provides each business a digital space with powerful software tools embedded into a networked marketplace is designed to capture and engage with customers driven by data and analytics. It is an ecosystem that democratizes the internet of commerce.

Every business in 2015 needs to go digital, but many are overwhelmed with jargon and complex technology — Holonis solves this complexity with simplicity and empowerment.

How do you expect Holonis to evolve in the months following the SXSW launch?

The platform has listening technology and we will constantly adapt. Future versions will integrate many more features already planned: such as, ticketing, reservations, supply chain management, and lead scoring. The platform will never be complete, it will always grow, evolve, and adapt.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.