Sramana Mitra: Even though it was registered in Delaware, you were running the company in Denmark?
Steven Boye: You can say that the company’s engineering department was running out of Denmark. It’s actually the same today with Soonr. All engineering operations are done here in Denmark. All the financial, PR, HR, and business development operations are done in Silicon Valley.
Sramana Mitra: Are you the CEO of the company?
Steven Boye: No, I am the CTO of the company. Martin was the original CEO when we started the company. Initially, it was just the three of us.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s go back to that point when you were starting. You said you got funded right away.
Steven Boye: No, we actually started working on the company in the summer of 2004. When we were working for Merant, Merant was absorbed by a company called Serena in March 2004. They bought Merant because there was one product they wanted and basically shut everything else down. Part of what they shut down was this Danish development I had started in 2001. I think we were 8 to 10 people at that time. It shut down, so we were out of jobs in the summer of 2004.
There were some really interesting things going on in the industry. The Nokia phones were coming out. The Internet was prolific. Everybody had a computer. We started thinking that it must be possible to do something with mobile devices, browsers, and computers. We started working in that area and figuring out how we can make something interesting and fun out of that. Then towards the end of 2004, we got some angel money from friends.
Sramana Mitra: That angel money got you going basically?
Steven Boye: Yes, that angel money got us going. For the first nine months, we didn’t have any salary. What we also had going for us was a lot of the people that we had worked together with were still interested in working with us. They were working for us in their free time. They weren’t founders but they helped initially with the promise that if we get something going, we would hire them later. They still had daytime jobs and they would work for us in the evening.
Sramana Mitra: When you got the angel money and the three of you were starting Soonr, what was the original concept that you were going to build the product around?
Steven Boye: At that time, we didn’t have a final product in our minds. I would say we were experimenting. We were experimenting with connecting mobile devices to home computers through our cloud servers. We actually tried to see if we could use Skype to do conferencing with the phone. We tried to do things where you could access a Word document from your own mobile device. That’s what we started with.