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Competing with Box and Dropbox: Soonr Co-Founder and CTO Steven Boye (Part 5)

Posted on Friday, Apr 24th 2015

Sramana Mitra: That brings us to what?

Steven Boye: Now we come up to 2006. We actually got funding from a company called Clearstone Venture Partners in LA. During 2006 to 2008, we also got Intel Capital and Cisco as strategic investors. Now, we started getting real money to build the company.

Sramana Mitra: What was the basis of that investment?

Steven Boye: At that time, the product had synthesized more into a cloud-based service for online backup and collaboration. It then became much easier to raise capital.

Sramana Mitra: That really is the investment thesis on which you started to get financing. This product was already out there and was getting traction?

Steven Boye: Yes. We then had white label partners that we were selling to. In 2008 or 2009, we got our first real deal where we would do online backup. The technology built was a cloud service. By then, the mobile applications space wasn’t really that hot. People thought it was interesting that you could look at your work on your Nokia phone, but the layout and form factor wasn’t really nice.

Then, Apple launched iPhone. Once Apple launched iPhone and iPhone started picking up, it changed the whole game for us. Suddenly, it became much more feasible to do something interesting. 2008 and 2009 were years where we built our infrastructure and we built products in those areas. We were fumbling around in the sense that we were trying all kinds of different features. We were trying different ways of selling it using telco carriers and direct sales. Now we have financing to do that.

During this time, we were also building out our engineering team in Europe and other functions of the company in Silicon Valley. An important turning point came in 2009. We caught the eye of AT&T who signed up a big contract with us. At the same time, we also got a new investment from HighBar Partners, which is our main investor today. They came in 2010 and had been the main investor in the company ever since.

Sramana Mitra: The AT&T deal was a white label OEM deal?

Steven Boye: Yes. During the following years, we started getting a lot of revenue from AT&T. We also signed other telco carriers in Europe and North America. We also have a white label deal with Cisco.

Sramana Mitra: The primary market strategy for cloud-based backup product is white label solutions?

Steven Boye: Yes, it is. In these years, we were mainly only doing white label. We weren’t pushing our own. We did have a brand but we used it, more or less, as a free offering. We actually didn’t charge money for that.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Competing with Box and Dropbox: Soonr Co-Founder and CTO Steven Boye
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