Zevvle, a new chapter

Hi all, I wanted to get in touch to introduce myself, I’m James Davis one of the Founders of the REAL Family of companies, as Nick mentioned we have recently become the 80% owners of Zevvle and we are really excited about what the future holds for the network.

The first thing I wanted to say is how much admiration and respect we have for what Nick has achieved with Zevvle. I was introduced to Nick when we were in the planning phases for setting up our own MVNO and we were interested in what the possibilities were in creating an app. Without hesitation it was made clear to us that Nick was the person to talk to about this and I can see why!

We did a lot of market research and Zevvle stands apart as being a breath of fresh air in a crowded market and this has come from Nick having the integrity to stay true to his vision coupled with the talent and determination to be able to make it a reality. I’m sure you can understand how keen we were that the Founder of Zevvle remains one of the owners as we embark on this new chapter.

So what are the plans now? One of the things I’ve been most struck by is how engaged, supportive and insightful Zevvlers (that was agreed upon as the word, right? :smile:) on the boards in this community continuously are. Prior to creating a profile I’ve read many of the discussions and have learned a lot from doing so, so thank you! With this in mind, if you’re willing, it makes perfect sense to reach out and see what you would do if you ran the network and take every response as chance to help shape the future for the network.

We are very respectful of what has been created here and are keen to keep an open mind of what the future holds. We’ve also decided to hold off on any senior hiring decisions until we have completed full research and finalised our plans.

We are in a good position of not needing to make immediate large changes to the company’s goals. There are some things we are fixed upon, for example becoming a BCorp. For anyone unfamiliar with the BCorp movement you read more https://bcorporation.uk. Why did we decide to become a BCorp three years ago? We find it one of the best resources available to assess how we are performing against our core values and provide us with a clear direction of how we can improve. Hopefully this doesn’t come across as too much of a brag but It was since becoming a BCorp for example that we won awards at the business culture awards two years running, decided to donate 20% of our profits to Charity and our environmental credentials have improved significantly. Ultimately most businesses claim to be ‘ethical’ these days but what ways do we have as consumers to know what’s ‘under the hood’ of these companies?

We believe passionately that business can (and should) be a force for good in the world. We have various ways we demonstrate and guide our ethical conduct as a business and BCorp is one of these. All REAL businesses share one common ethos: they must balance a focus on people, profit and purpose and Nick has built a network that is in harmony with this. We work across many industries, but each company has its own identity and with this in mind it’s important to us to retain Zevvle’s uniqueness and character. At the same time, it’s important that we grow the network and with these goals in mind we would be really interested in hearing your perspective on any or all the following questions:

1. What do you love most about Zevvle?

2. If you could change one thing about the network, what would it be?

3. If you were made MD of Zevvle tomorrow what would your vision be for the network?

If you would rather not make your response public, please feel free to direct message me. I’m also really keen to hear any other points you would like to make and will be checking back frequently in case anyone has any questions I can help with.

For anyone who finds the time to answer these questions, as a thank you we will make a £20 donation to a charity of your choice so please let me know either on this discussion or private message which Charity you choose and I’ll let you know when we have made the payment.

Finally, we are planning an open day in June / July and wanted to extend an invite to all Zevvlers, either in person or remotely (whichever you prefer). We will be discussing all things Zevvle and setting out exciting plans having collated all your suggestions and it will be great to meet as many of you as possible either in person or through zoom. In terms of venue, we will find out where is most convenient for the most of you and will locate it there. We have some ideas on how we can increase the impact you have as a community on the future of Zevvle that we are keen to share with you soon.

Thanks for your time in reading what’s turned out to be a rather long message. I intend to become an active member of this community and promise my future posts will be snappier :smile:

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Welcome James, and congratulations :blush:

Can I come?

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Thank you! And yes, absolutely :smile:

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  1. What do you love most about Zevvle?

The fact it just works and gets out of my way. There are no “upgrades”, nor “offers” nor dozens of convoluted pricing plans or add-ons. It stays in the background and takes money when needed, just like your electrical or water bill.

  1. If you could change one thing about the network, what would it be?

Decoupling of numbers from the SIMs and all the possibilities this offers down the line. I’ve had several conversations about this with Nick and I’m sure he can tell you all about it. Unfortunately this requires significant investments into in-house infrastructure - it’s not something you can do as a thin MVNO.

  1. If you were made MD of Zevvle tomorrow what would your vision be for the network?

Slightly more marketing, in a respectful & non-obnoxious way (don’t spam your existing customers about this). It’s a good product that deserves to be better known.

Down the line, branching out into fixed-line internet access (DSL and FTTP) would be nice too.

we will make a £20 donation to a charity of your choice

Keep the money!

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Howdy, Thom here an ex Zevvle customer (I left around the time that packs of data was added and PAYG was being phased out.) I left for a few reasons, such as using too much to have PAYG be good value and not enough to make a pack worth it.

Another big thing was Domino’s Pizza, they kept spamming me with SMS offers, I couldn’t unsubscribe as Zevlle don’t (or didn’t at the time allow texting shortcodes) this is a big issue to me.

I am open to rejoining in the future and have been keeping an eye on everything going on in and around the world of Zevvle.

I love the customer service and that I can but a face to the names, how open Nick is on the whole process and how human it feels.

Allowing texting shortcodes, this was a major annoyance to me and something that if hasn’t already been done needs to be soon.

I’d want to be as open and honest as possible, invest in customer service and try pushing the boundries of what a MNVO can be, break the stereotype of it just being “another network.” I feel the B-Corp status is a good way to do this and a big step in the right direction.

(I’m being naughty and typing this from work, heading off for lunch and I can’t find the draft option.) :wink:

I’d like to see an option of an app too, a website takes more clicks to get to, open and login to than an app.

Overall the network seems to be going from strength to strength, adding more features than the network I jumped ship to. I think I’ll be seriously considering my options once I’ve got my payback for helping on the other networks forum and can move away as they’re going the way of the dodo!

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Hi James, Welcome to the Zevvle community.

Generally Zevvle sits in the background and I don’t need to worry about it much.

Where there are issues or bugs, the agility to be able to respond quickly has been refreshing compared to other operators who can be slow to respond, or very dismissive of suggestions.

The random personal touches such as the Zevvle logo hand drawn on the SIM card. Though as you scale up, that’ll be something that will be harder to do at scale.

How scale up a little? Ensure there’s a rota and multiple people able to answer support queries. Good quality support is something a segment of customers will pay for. But have to be careful that you don’t try to scale too quickly that you lose quality support.

A network with fair pricing that’s simple to understand with no special intro offers. An API or other vis method so that your data about calls, data usage etc is easily accessible and can do more advanced things that other operators don’t allow. Easily able to share data with the family, whilst being privacy preserving (e.g. not being able see detailed call logs of other people). Auto charging/discounting a reasonable amount based on usage, thus always competitive without needing to worry about am I on the right tariff, though equally need a way to cap monthly costs.

It’s auto draft magic, so just come back to it, even on another device as I’ve done.

The web app works like a normal app too. I’ve added it to my phone’s Home Screen and it keeps me signed in. It also works with my password manager too. Wouldn’t even notice that it isn’t a dedicated mobile app. Web apps should be far more common than they are.

I’ve had some surveys e.g. from the hospital or bank that I couldn’t answer due to the inability to send to short codes. Luckily I’ve not had an issue with spam that can only be unsubscribed through a short code. Android messages app can now do spam filtering which helps for that situation.

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Thank you for this excellent feedback @Rjevski, much appreciated :pray:

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Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughtful and insightful points @thom_horne it’s hugely appreciated! I’ve noted them all and we will be taking them into account whilst planning the evolution of the network.

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Thanks for the warm welcome @smsm1 and great feedback, I’ve noted it it all. I’ve read a lot of what you’ve posted on these forums and thank you for how supportive and helpful you always are.

Definitely agree with your point around customer service, we will be training up a team to ensure we have continual support available on these forums and to be on hand for any customer service enquiries. Thanks again!

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Thanks, the other item which hasn’t been much of an issue for me personally due to not travelling much in the past few years thanks to the pandemic, but also I tend not to travel much outside of Europe, but would stop others from using Zevvle is the lack of international roaming.

What’s the plan with the referral links, as it looks like an old one I have no longer works and just says “Not found” in plain text.

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Hey Thom :slight_smile: as Shaun mentioned, you can add it to your home screen on iOS/Android and have it work like a normal app. Take my bias with a handful of salt, but I do prefer this…

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Has it been discontinued? Because it worked just fine a year ago in Europe.

EEA roaming is alive-and-well! It’s data that’s never been available in the rest of the world…

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Hey, another person who left (mostly as I wanted a phone on contract). Although I may be slightly regretting that as Tesco Mobile’s spam control seems to be non-existent!

Stuff like this forum where people aren’t scared to talk about how these crazy phone networks actually work. Also seeing Nick constantly iterate and improve how an operator “app” in one form or another should work.

WiFi calling, although I know that’s due soon. Apart from that a really nice and easy way to have additional phone numbers. Just being able to separate business and personal stuff alone would be fantastic, and I guess fairly unique.

The first thing would be to aim to make the network profitable. It’s a bit of a boring one, but it would mean Zevvle would be here to stay for a while.

My main concern with “REAL Family of companies” is I can’t find anything about you online. Do you guys have a website or anywhere I can find out more about you?

On the other things mentioned, a donation to Dog’s Trust would be great :slight_smile:

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Hi @kennydude, that’s great feedback thank you! Great choice of Charity, I’ll ensure that donation is made swiftly.

You make a good point about the website and one we are addressing, the REAL Family website will be live by the end of this month. In the meantime I’m sharing some more information for you below, please feel free to ask if you would like to know anything else.

The founding company in our group was REAL Fundraising, that we formed in October 2009. You can find REAL Fundraising’s BCorp profile here. The other companies in the REAL family of companies are REAL Pay, REAL Jobs, REAL Calling, REAL Business Services and now REAL Mobile, trading as Zevvle.

REAL Family is the parent company that decides to invest in or form new companies. Our goal is to grow the market share of ethical businesses in their chosen sector and to give a launchpad to ethical entrepreneurs by investing in businesses and ideas that we think can be a force for good in the world.

With much apathy and inactivity (and worse) from Governments at such a pivotal moment in the world we believe that facilitating the growth of both conscious businesses and Charities has never been more important.

I was the MD of REAL Fundraising for 10 years until 2019 when we decided to put the REAL Family plan into action, it is my role now to identify new ethical businesses to invest in or form, so if anyone reading this has an idea themselves or knows of anything that meets our criteria that would benefit from some investment (or just some free ideas and support) please let me know!

A large proportion of my time from now on however, is dedicated to ensure the success of Zevvle so once again thanks to everyone who has given such great advice so far, both on here and by direct message :pray: :blush:

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Where does your finance come from? Just out of interest!

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Hi @Gaoler, we are self funded. We haven’t borrowed money for any of our investments or businesses. Each company pays money to REAL Family Ltd each month, specifically for the purpose of future investments.

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Would you never even consider borrowing, or would you ever consider something like Triodos crowdfunding?

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Thanks!

We wouldn’t rule it out @Gaoler if the circumstances were right.

Do you know much about Triodos crowdfunding. I didn’t know they had a crowd funding feature before reading your post.

  1. What do you love most about Zevvle?

The way it started, the fact it’s not “big evil multinational companies”, the multiple family SIMs under a single account, the nice app UI (haven’t tried the website just yet!), the fact it was run buy two people and it felt very personal (the Christmas cards etc… were lovely :smiley: )…
Mainly the extra SIMs sharing a single balance is awesome :smiley:

  1. If you could change one thing about the network, what would it be?

Hmmmm, that’s a difficult one! I wouldn’t want Zevvle to change that much honestly. Everything is pretty perfect for my needs…

  1. If you were made MD of Zevvle tomorrow what would your vision be for the network?

Keeping the spirit and friendly nature of Zevvle alive, maybe working out some sort of adverts get you credit system (like samba mobile used to have) for emergency top-ups or maybe some kind of “overdraft” allowance to preset ICE contacts, Uber etc… so you are never afraid of not being able to get help in an emergency!

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