Sramana Mitra: What happens after that?
Mattias Larson: Then I landed in Stanford, Connecticut. That’s where my US journey started. I still worked for that same Swedish software company. They are yet to open an office in the US. They needed someone with technical expertise in this particular product. I came in over to train. It was a very technical solution.
Sramana Mitra: How does the story arrive at the DefinitiveDeals story?
Mattias Larson: Maybe we spent too much time on this early part. I worked for this company for a few years. I went through the dot com boom in 1999 and early 2000s. I also worked with this company through the dot com bust. When the company started doing not so great, that’s when I decided I needed to freshen up my skills in web development. I needed to get into something different. I felt I needed some sort of a project. I didn’t just want to do some random project. That’s when I decided to start an affiliate site called DefinitiveDeals.
Sramana Mitra: What year was this?
Mattias Larson: 2005.
Sramana Mitra: What did you have in mind in terms of specs for this website? What were you doing to do with it?
Mattias Larson: It wasn’t meant to be anything. I was more like a hobby. Again, I wanted to spruce up my programming skills and understand web development better. I needed something to work on. I had come across this type of business just through reading magazines and what not. It started off that way. I had no intentions of ever doing anything with it but traffic started to come slowly. I thought, “Maybe, this is something I can actually make some money out of.” One thing led to another and I decided to give this a shot. I primarily started doing paid search using advertisements – Google AdWords. That’s really when the business started taking off. It was 2007 when things started moving.
Sramana Mitra: You were tinkering basically. You were getting practice on your chops for web development. Obviously, at some point, this turned into something more serious. Let’s pick it up at the point where it’s becoming more serious. You’re starting to feel like you were going to do a business out of it. What business did you think you were going to do?
Mattias Larson: Keep in mind, I was developing this site while I was still working for my employer. Again, we didn’t have that many projects, so I did this on weekends and nights. Like I said, it was only when I started seeing traffic coming in to paid search that I decided to give this a go and try to do a business.
Sramana Mitra: What were you advertising? What kind of paid search traffic were you trying to recruit?
Mattias Larson: DefinitiveDeals is a deals and coupons site.
Sramana Mitra: Was it that even when you were starting?
Mattias Larson: Yes.