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This article was published on September 10, 2012

Dov Moran invented USB flash drives, now he’s vying for the smart TV market with Comigo [Interview]

Dov Moran invented USB flash drives, now he’s vying for the smart TV market with Comigo [Interview]
Paul Sawers
Story by

Paul Sawers

Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.

Not many people can lay claim to being the inventor of one of the most recognizable and ubiquitous “gadgets” in the world, not to mention a billion-dollar exit. But Dov Moran can.

Moran was the Israeli founder and chairman of M-Systems, a company notable for developing the first USB flash drive, called the DiskOnKey, way back in the late nineties. This actually followed the development (and patenting) of the first flash drive back in 1995, called the DiskOnChip.

In 2006, data storage behemoth SanDisk snapped up M-Systems for a cool $1.5bn, and thus the company was no more. At the time, Dov Moran said:

“Joining SanDisk is a great opportunity for our shareholders, employees and partners. It strengthens the foundation for the continued growth of the business we have built together over the past 18 years. We are proud of creating true value and I have no doubt that the joint organization will continue creating innovation, value and success.

We are pleased that the acquisition of msystems is now complete and I would like to thank our shareholders, employees and partners for their faith and unwavering support throughout this process.”

So, what do you do when you’re cash-heavy and have a penchant for innovation and disruption? Launch another company, of course.

From the ashes of the M-Systems acquisition rose Modu, an Israeli mobile phone company that produced the world’s lightest ever mobile phone, a record seemingly verified by Guinness itself. In addition, the phone let users personalize their handset’s look and features through a range of enclosures, known as Modu jackets.

However, the company fell on bad financial times and announced it was closing its doors in February 2011, though Google was on hand to take on some of its patents for a little over $4m.

All this leads us to IBC in Amsterdam, where The Next Web caught up with Moran for the launch of his latest venture, which goes by the name of Comigo.

What’s Comigo?

What is Comigo, you ask? Well, it’s a smart set-top box (STB) built on Android, accompanied by a customized dual-sided remote control. The STB and associated mobile apps (it’s a multiscreen platform) connect to the company’s back-end servers which gather and analyze data to enable personalization, whilst enabling support for an array of social interaction.

We were privy to a demo at IBC, and it does seem like a very compelling proposition. For example, you can enter a show’s Facebook Page, chat, invite friends to watch and stream the show to other devices – a tablet or smartphone connected to the home network.

And if you’re watching, say, a game of football it automatically detects the teams playing and offers context-specific e-commerce content, letting fans buy merchandise related to those teams through the platform. Alternatively, you can elect to throw (virtual) tomatoes at rival fans (friends) during a match.

That’s Comigo in a nutshell, at least.

The Next Web managed to catch a few words with Moran at IBC yesterday, where we not only discussed his latest venture, but also his former glories with M-Systems, Modu and his involvement with the Israeli startup ecosystem.

“Actually, I wasn’t very happy selling the company to SanDisk, but sometimes you have to deal with the investors…you have to do what’s right for the investor, not what’s right for you. It’s a public company,” said Moran When I asked him about his billion-dollar exit.

Also, when I asked him whether he held a lot of pride about his flash USB drives, well, Moran was all about the future – and this applies to all his ventures. “I terminated Modu at noon, and at 1 o’clock I thought up Comigo,” he said. “Whether you fail or succeed, I’m on the new stuff….that’s my focus, my target, my excitement, my life.”

Anyway, here’s the interview in full:

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