The company of the day is Qbox.com based in Korea. Qbox indexes the entire inventory of streamable music on musician profile pages of the major social networking sites including MySpace, YouTube and Bebo. You will find below an interview with Ian Kwon, and the Co-Founder/COO of the company. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Ian Kwon, the Co-Founder/COO of Qbox.com
Who are you?
My name is Ian Kwon, and I’m the Co-Founder/COO of Qbox.com. Qbox indexes the entire inventory of streamable music on musician profile pages of the major social networking sites, including MySpace, YouTube and Bebo. We make it easy for users to search, organize, share, and listen to the vast catalog of free and legally available online music straight from musician pages. Qbox is essentially the ultimate aggregator of the tens of millions of tracks available for streaming across the social Web.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘company of the day’ per Microsoft?
I feel very excited and honored to be the most promising ‘company of the day’ per Microsoft. It would be a true recognition by a world-class technology company of Qbox’s disruptive innovation in the online music industry.
What did you do before creating your company?
I co-founded a company called MediaSpot, in 2000 while I was still in college. (It was an online marketplace for traditional advertising inventory). After 2 years of my first entrepreneurial experience, I realized that I needed more training to become a more effective business leader. So I finished school and joined Bain & Company as a management consultant. After spending 3 years at Bain, I came back to the Internet industry and worked as a business development manager at NHN, the leading Internet search engine in Korea.
How did you get the idea? What s the genesis?
Being a music enthusiast/entrepreneur, watching new/emerging trends in global music industry encouraged me to start my second startup. I was surprised to know that many indie musicians post their music on MySpace and directly communicate with their fans, rather than going through the major music labels. I thought this new trend would provide key clues to the future of the music industry. So I decided to jump in and to lead the change to come.
What do you sell? What is your company’s mission?
Qbox’s mission is to let people enjoy music for free while musicians are fairly compensated. For music fans, we provide the free/legal way to listen to music online. For artists, we offer the way to monetize their music online.
What is your market?
Online advertising targeted at music fans is our core market.
Any clients? References? Partners? You want to quote?
We launched into public beta in June 2008. Since then, we’ve received very positive feedback from the leading media outlets such as Mashable and Cnet.
Funding history? VCs? BA?
We’re privately funded through friends and family. We do not have any institutional investors as of October 2008.p>
During the last 5 months since beta launch, our user base has been rapidly growing from 86+ countries.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We have 9 FTEs and 9 PTEs (“partners”). Of the 18, 12 are developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what? Where?
Not at this moment. But we plan to hire some developers and marketers during the first quarter of 2009.
Which platform are you building on? Why? ( No taboos)
We use C++, PHP, Java. And we use MS-SQL for our database.
Do you have any Software IP? Is there something that you’re the only one to do on the market?
We have patented IPs:
1) Link-2-Music is the only way to listen to music on any web sites. Please watch the video guide at http://kr.youtube.com/watch?v=AMeaCPbQTI4 for detailed information on Link-2-Music;
2) Our Qplayer is also the only one to stream music in different social networks at one interface.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet areas?
I think there are huge opportunities in the disintermediation of value chains in many industries and the monetization of illegal digital contents. Companies who can exploit these two trends have great potential, I believe.
Looking for funding? If yes, how much?
Yes, we’re looking for Series A funding of $2~3 million.
What about the BizSpark Program? What do you think? Are you going to join? Why?
This is a great chance for startups like us who want to do business globally, and I’ll be happy to join this program. As a pre-VC startup, resources and support from BizSpark program will be invaluable. And the fact that we’re joining the network of promising young companies will also motivate our employees and partners.
Any advice to young Software entrepreneurs?
1) Don’t focus on the technology itself only. Focus on user experiences;
2) Be active in looking for opportunities like BizSpark. (especially when your company is in an early stage)
Anything else you’d like to say?