Every week we publish an interview with a start-up. We ask five questions, hoping the answers will give you inspiration and new views. Well, actually six questions, since we also ask the start-up to who he or she is passing the mic to.
As I’ve promised you last week, I will interview the start-ups who participated in the start-up rally of PLUGG 2008. This time I’m interviewing Joonas Pekkanen from Floobs. That’s a Finnish start-up which enables anyone to setup their own live internet and mobile TV Channel. The advantage of this streaming video service, compared to competitors like Qik, is that it’s Java-based. So theoretically, the Java client is easily exported to a large number of mobile devices. Our WebTipr from Finland, Timo Paloheimo, has written a good overview of this promising start-up. Here’s their own story.
How did you come up with the idea of Floobs?
“We had been discussing different ideas with my co-founder Kai Lemmetty since the end of summer 2006. By winter we found ourselves discussing more and more often on the subject of live video and its possibilities. One evening we just suddenly realized that everyone will be carrying a video production tools in their pockets in the form of smart phones very soon. In the end of January we set-up the company and started working on the first draft of the business plan, recruiting key people and looking for seed funding. Our idea is to allow anyone to set-up their own live mobile Internet TV channels – streaming live content from mobile phones, web cams, DV cameras and mixing that with pre-recorded content.”
What was your biggest challenge during the development process?
“We were very lucky with finding the right people in the beginning and have a history of often finding ourselves in the right place at the right time. I can think of any single challenge that would have been hard to overcome. There are good news and bad news everyday – that’s what’s great about being an entrepreneur. Time management is always a hard issue, when there’s an infinite number of things to do. I often tell people who are planning to set up a company to make sure they have at least 1 or 2 co-founders with complementary skills before starting out – that has worked well for us.”
Can you describe the Finnish start-up culture compared to Silicon Valley?
“The start-up culture is picking up very quickly in Finland and is very much concentrated around Helsinki, in my experience. We prefer to focus on the positive sides to being located here, rather than moan about the negative aspects. Finding good developers is probably easier here than in many places. Helsinki is one of the most expensive capitals in the world (7th most expensive actually according to the UBS Prices and Earnings survey last week), but good talent is not overpriced. The government provides R&D loans to cover a good part of the salary costs and subsidies for travelling and visiting conferences (like the Next Web!) are helpful for the bootstrapping entrepreneurs. There is a good spirit of comradeship between Finnish entrepreneurs and a lot of more or less informal meet-ups and gatherings starting to take place here. Being from a country that speaks a language that nobody understands also gives companies a chance to try out stuff locally and e.g. not have to worry about scalability issues until rolling it out in English. It also forces us, of course, to think globally from the beginning.”
What will be the influence of your start-up on the next web?
“From our point of view, the next web is a mobile one. The future of user generated media production and consumption is on the mobile – people need to share what they experience in real-time, whenever and where ever they are. We have only seen the beginning of how users and communities are producing and sharing content . Only too often I find people who think that YouTube is the culmination of the development, although the revolution is just beginning. People are only starting to have the phones and data connection needed and the signals we need to interpret are still weak. Floobs is bringing the tools to everyone reach to fuel the next media revolution.”
You can make up this question yourself!
Where can we meet?
“At the Next Web, of course ;-)
Me and my co-founder will also be at the MIPTV conference in Cannes from 7th-11th April for the Content 360 competition, the Red Herring 100 Europe Finals in Malta on the 14th-16th, the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco and the Communication & Mobile Applications Forum in Stockholm 28th-29th April.”
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