Sramana Mitra: How many telcos do you have as customers today?
Steven Boye: I think we have three today. AT&T is the biggest. What we’ve learned is that telcos are hard to work with. They are good once they engage, but it’s really a long sales cycle. In the years since, several things have happened.
In 2010 to 2012, we basically found out what it is that Soonr is. Soonr became less of a telco solution and more of a cloud collaboration solution. Then we also launched Soonr for enterprise. In 2011 and 2012, the focus of the company became clear. It has been such a shifting landscape and you basically had to try and pivot all the time to found out what makes sense at any time. We have gone through quite a few pivots as you can probably tell over the years.
But during 2011 to 2012, we started focusing more and more on the file sync-and-share. That is what the company is today. It’s a Soonr brand. It’s file sync-and-share. It’s 100% business and enterprise customers. There’s no free products anymore. We’re only taking paying customers. We’ve been very laser-focused on that in the last three to four years. That is how we make our mark.
Sramana Mitra: The new product strategy that you are describing puts you in contact with some of the hottest companies in Silicon Valley. Tell me more about competition and how you position against that competition.
Steven Boye: You’re absolutely right. When we started this, the competition wasn’t as fierce and direct as it is today. One of our problems was we haven’t gotten as much investment as Dropbox or any other these other companies who have had $300 to $400 million in investment. Then again, we haven’t lost as much money as they have. It is a tough battle.
I would say our main winning strategy is that we are white-labeled, we have a pretty stable product compared to the competitors because we’ve been building the cloud part and the client part for more years than most of our competitors. We haven’t been able to capitalize on that. That is mainly because we haven’t done as good a job as they have on the marketing and business side. For better or for worse, we are an engineering company. Most of our expenses have gone to engineering. Our engineering aspect is very strong. In the early years, we’ve had a hard time making a good enough impression on marketing and PR.