How a Personal Mobile App Developed into an Award Winning Mobile Media Company

Sander MunstermanThe NextWomen is proud to present an expert for its mobile theme month, founder & CEO of XS2The World, Sander Munsterman.

Before the iPhone changed the smartphone industry, inventiveness with mobile was key to solving practical problems. In 2007, Sander Munsterman and Jan Willem Vaartjes travelled to China where they were confronted with a significant language barrier. To tide them over, they recorded several standard phrases on their Nokia N70s as they carried their phones with them everywhere they went. They could then play these phrases back via the loudspeaker to convey a destination to a taxi driver or place an order in a bar, for example.

The First Mobile app for the Olympic Games

Back home, these useful phrases inspired them to create an application for mobile phones - a technology they both very much believed in. The timing couldn’t have been better with the Olympic Games in China looming. A city guide, complete with photos, tips and handy phrases to playback was created for Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, among other cities. Aptly named XS2China, the publicity surrounding the launch of the app was explosive. De Telegraaf, AD, NRC Handelsblad, NOS Journaal, RTL Nieuws; the national media catapulted their innovation into the spotlight.

Though downloading mobile apps in those days was difficult and time-consuming without the presence of an app store, brands were starting to see the potential for such a product. Commissioned by advertisers, Sander and Jan Willem further developed the city guides into a platform, starting with the event guide for the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, and rebranded the expanding company to XS2TheWorld.

XS2TheWorld was founded

Shortly thereafter, and together with renowned global agency Ogilvy, they created an event and city guide app for the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament sponsored by Guinness. This particular mobile app brought XS2 international recognition and also instigated a long business relationship with Scott Seaborn, then Head of Group Mobile at Ogilvy, and as of this summer Executive Creative Director at XS2. It also resulted in many international awards, including Cannes Lions and wins at the New York Festival and London International Award.

Brandbuilder with mobile apps

XS2 has now evolved into a connected media company, as the way that people engage with media has changed. It is grounded on an international team of mobile marketing experts and creative technology specialists, working with truly great brands to help them embrace this change. These include international brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Fanta, as well as national brands like Kas Bank, NTR, Bataviastad, I Amsterdam, Wegener and Sanoma. In only a couple of years, the team has grown to more than 35 people. Today they celebrate their 5th birthday with a splasing party in Amsterdam.

In the coming weeks, as part of The NextWomen mobile theme, XS2ALL shall describe examples of successful mobile strategies XS2 has enabled.

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