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WeddingWire Embraces Mobile with New Apps

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It’s no secret that consumers are progressing more toward digesting the digital world via a mobile device. Many studies claim that Americans now consume digital media through mobile phones far more than any other mediums. So it’s not surprising that WeddingWire, a D.C.-area startup constantly pushing the limits of technology and innovation, is embracing this industry shift.

The company, led by ex-Blackboard co-founder Tim Chi, recently launched three new apps – WedTeam, WedStyle and WedSocial – to round out the before-, during- and after-wedding experiences for engaged couples. These new apps complement WeddingWire’s already massive mobile presence from its primary namesake app.

“One of the things we started to notice a couple years ago was mobile taking over a larger and larger percentage of how people access the Internet,” said Chi. “We saw the same thing happen on our site as well. So today over 50 percent of people accessing WeddingWire comes from a mobile device.”

Now, as the big day gets closer and even passes, the new WeddingWire apps make it the most special day possible. WedTeam lets engaged couples source vendors on the go, much like they could do online. WedStyle brings to mind the Pinterest model letting couples – most likely the future bride – source wedding ideas and post images to get crowdsourced feedback on items like bouquets, decorations and dresses. Lastly, and perhaps most innovative, WedSocial plays on the disposable camera concept where guests take their own pictures for the bride and groom to keep. This app just brings it to the digital world and makes collecting the photos much easier and real-time.

Mobile has been a focus of WeddingWire’s since 2009, but more recently they’ve made it a priority, said the CEO. “We’ve spent the past couple months trying to understand exactly what we could put out to the marketplace from a consumer perspective that would really hit the nail on the head and help brides continue to plan and execute their weddings efficiently.”

At this point, there isn’t anything Chi could think of that engaged couples planning their weddings couldn’t do with WeddingWire’s four apps. Of course some tools like seating charts are better suited for larger screens, but users can plan most of their weddings – at least in a supplemental way – on the go.

“Our goal is nothing more than to ensure that people have access to what they want, when they want it, and that they don’t have to think about the device that they need in order to utilize it,” Chi said. Going forward, he added, “We as a company continue to be a mobile first thinking company where we want to understand how to build technology that really helps make planning and executing the event really easy.”

While WeddingWire has a huge reputation for its service as a leader at the intersection of wedding planning and technology, it’s a relatively low-key company otherwise. Chi said he’s a proponent of focusing on making his customers and employees happy to build a great business – you know, one of those companies doing awesome things without patting themselves on the back too much.

Nevertheless, the company got its due applause recently. Late last year, WeddingWire was recognized as the second best job creator in Maryland by Inc. and a top 100 company in Deloitte’s Fast 500. Chi credits this to his company’s great and unique corporate culture, which he’s been focused on since founding the company in his living room.

“The reason why corporate culture is so important is because companies that want to attract and retain the best talent need a reason for them to stick around.” After that, he said, “the rest will take care of itself.”

Because WeddingWire is such a booming business – a revenue growth of 75 percent year over year – and an attractive place to work, it nearly doubled headcount last year alone and is again searching for new engineers to bring on board.

“2013 was a real breakout year for us and we were really happy to get those [awards],” he said. “How we got there really begins and ends with the people that we’ve been able to bring on board.”

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