Every week we publish an interview with an Asian based start-up. We ask five questions, hoping the answers will give you inspiration and new views.
This time we’re interviewing CEO and co-founder Thorben Linneberg of OrSiSo, a Singapore based startup.
OrSiSo is an Adobe AIR based application, allowing you to organize your friends, update your status, connect, and merge social information. They have rapidly been adding social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Friendster, Twitter, AIM, MSN Messenger and Yahoo messenger.
To be fair, I wasn’t that excited to be reviewing another social activity spider, as there seem to be many out there. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the original and useful concept of this application, and great execution of it.
Besides smooth setup, I’ve had a first time experience to get an overview of all friends from my networks, and I could rank them from “inner circle” to “outer circle”. Besides well executed overview of friends, the status update is compelling too. Although I’ve never actually felt ‘home’ in any AIR program (missing a decent menu bar items and high CPU usage of the Adobe platform), I am tempted to use this application in the future to avoid a cluttered desktop full with social media application. Find out for yourself. Read more about the OrSiRo application and the company behind it:
How did you come up with the idea of OrSiSo?
“The inspiration behind OrSiSo came from my growing frustration in trying to keep up with all the different Social Networks, managing memberships, interacting with the same friends on different networks. Many times, I missed events, simply because i forgot to log into that particular network.
At the same time, the amount of mails, pokes, zombie wars and other notifications and requests in my inbox became overwhelming.
The idea of a tool where all this information would be centralized and prioritized grew in my mind, and in October 2007 I decided to put these ideas into a business plan and present it to a group of experienced angel investors and close friends in Asia Pacific.
Remember at the time… Open Social API’s didn’t exist, and almost all networks were stuck in the “walled garden” approach to growth.
Today the industry has moved towards openess and this has helped our progress greatly.”
What was your biggest challenge during the development process?
“The biggest challenge during development was to translate the vision of OrSiSo into a cool application that everyone loves to use everyday. We have been working very hard on this, and we believe that OrSiSo already has a lot of unique features that are very appealing to Social Network Power Users. Like intelligent filtering, sorting by closeness, uploading albums from OrSiSo to Facebook”
Can you describe the Singapore start-up culture compared to Silicon Valley?
“The start-up culture of Singapore is evolving very fast. There are a lot of great tech and internet start-ups in singapore now… and the investment climate is getting better all the time. Due to our location and proximity to India & China, Singapore based startups have an advantage in creating innovative solutions for these huge markets. The only disadvantages of not being in SV is the lack of visibility to Valley based investors and partners. So far we are getting support from government initiatives to fund our growth and we have been able to raise some seed funding from a few experienced angels in the Asia Pacific region. No other country i know of, has so much to offer to statups. Having said that, it is important to be present in the eco system of the Vallley, and we are planning to set up at least one of our business developement offices in the Valley after this next investment round. We may however keep our main development office in Singapore, as we can develop at very competitive rates as compared to the US.”
What will be the influence of your start-up on the next web?
“We are witnessing a shift in how the web is used. No industry, no business, and no individual is untouched by the proliferation of social networking usage.
It is true that Social Media is enabling us to share and communicate in new and revolutionary ways, but its also true that it’s pulling us apart into a fragmented mess of communication systems that are incompatible with each other!
We build OrSiSo to pull it all back together, to free users so they can get back to the fun of socializing, without having to spend more time on organization.
Just like search engines became necessary to navigate and find pretty much anything on the Web, Something is needed to help “guide” users to make sense of all the Social Networks data and activity.”
How are you going to monetize OrSiSo, what partners are you intending to work with?
“We have several revenue streams for Orsiso: highly targeted advertising, subscribtions (pro version, Mobile versions) for example.
Also we are in the process of building a client for TV. We are launching Orsiso with partners that offer internet, mobile, and TV services… covering the big 3 screens. Our backend intelligence SocialCraftTM will log behavioral patterns cross platforms and cross devices, giving our industry partners a totally new and fresh look at how effective their services are. At the same time we will wrap social networking around their offerings in a way that blends the brand delivery into users social stream in a seamless way.”