Sramana Mitra: Were you doing this for a green shipping company or an idea that you came up with yourself?
Demitri Memos: Our third partner had already started that.
Sramana Mitra: How did he get plugged to you guys then?
Demitri Memos: He was introduced by a mutual friend. He had built this website on his own in his basement. At the same time, he was teaching at a university here in Greece. What he did was he created a map, and he offered the map to anyone with ship position data and who could connect to the service to send the data. The data was displayed on the map as a mash-up.
In any case, this got some traction and became a popular service. In 2012, it had become too big for him to handle on his own. He was looking for someone to take over and help him out with it. We met, and on the spot, decided that we would continue together. Over the next six months, we closed the digital agency business and switched the whole team to Marine Traffic. We switched the team from a services company to a product. At that time, we had 20 employees. We spent a year with the platform. At the same time, we developed a business plan. We added the SaaS angle to the website, which until then, was a free website.
Sramana Mitra: I’m trying to understand how you structured the company. Did you bring this guy into the digital agency? Did you start a new company with him? How did you bring this together and how did you move forward as a combined entity?
Demitri Memos: We set up a new company in London. There were three partners – my partner from the previous company and this new partner. The Greek entity was acquired by the UK entity. We closed down the business but not the actual company. We focused entirely on the products.
Sramana Mitra: Now the company that you put together is a company registered in London that owned all the intellectual property. What happened to the digital agency?
Demitri Memos: We closed that and sold the clientele to another company.
Sramana Mitra: I see. Another Greek company?
Demitri Memos: Yes. We decided that on the spot. For the next year, we focused on rebuilding the platform and technology. We worked on the monetization of the service. This is where SaaS comes in. We relaunched at the end of 2012.
Sramana Mitra: In 2012, you relaunched the whole thing with this product as a ship tracking software.
Demitri Memos: It was actually end of 2013.
Sramana Mitra: What was the financing of all this? Were you doing this all self-financed?
Demitri Memos: It was self-financed. This was sustained by the leftovers of the digital agency revenues.
Sramana Mitra: Were you and your partners based in England?
Demitri Memos: All three of us were in Greece.