Toni Horn and Julian Marquardt-Baladurage met whilst they were completing their master’s degrees at Hult International Business School in London. Following their graduation, the future business partners entered the corporate world. They quickly became discouraged with the traditional framework of large organisations and formed an enterprise of their own. “We decided it wasn’t for us,” says Toni, 25. Instead, the pair opted to pursue a business opportunity they had identified whilst they were at university — a gap in the market for a transparent technology consultancy.
The team of two founded MBJ Integrated Technologies, which is a London-based end-to-end mobile app and development agency. MBJ tailors their products to the exact needs of their clients and makes the satisfaction of their clientele a top priority.
App and web development in London has become a service charged at astronomical prices and is typically not in line with the budget of an early-stage startup. Toni and Julian recognised this major opportunity and used lower pricing models as a competitive advantage. “We found that businesses were fed up with abstract pricing models — costs that seemed to be plucked out of thin air,” Toni says.
Branding with the .london extension
Toni, who is originally from Berlin, has lived in London for more than five years. He and his partner established their business in London and wanted to make sure they took advantage of the .london extension. Toni explains:
“As experts in digital, it’s vital that MJB has an extremely strong web presence. I chose the .london domain name extension as it not only locates us, but provides good branding. We actually pre-registered the extension with GoDaddy a year in advance as we know how important a part domain names play in today’s digital world.”
He recommends that other business owners strongly consider their online brand presence as well: “I would advise focusing strongly on finding the right domain name to reflect your organization.”
A different approach to business
“As a London-based technology consultancy, we set out to provide specialist advice and delivery of digital products at a lower cost than competitors,” Toni says. “This has naturally attracted startups as our main customers.”
In addition, Toni says MBJ is the only development agency known to have an online pricing calculator, which further builds upon their desire for full transparency. “We found that competitors will quote based on what they can get away with, rather than requirements, so the calculator is there to give customers a definitive price,” he says.
The biggest challenge Toni faced, he says, was building a portfolio and growing his experience to attract clients.
“But we’ve managed to build the right team, growing from two people to 28 employees,” he says, “and are looking to now stabilize before we expand into other global regions.”