Startup of the Day – sobees

The company of the day is sobees, based in Switzerland. sobees is the perfect desktop companion for online social networks. You will find below an interview with François Bochatay and Vincent Rithner, co-founders of sobees. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!


Interview with François Bochatay and Vincent Rithner, co-founders of sobees

Who are you?

We are François Bochatay and Vincent Rithner, co-founders of sobees – my social desktop aggregator.

How do you feel being the most promising ‘company of the day’ per Microsoft?

BizSpark being a global network, of thousands of promising startups, we are very proud to be recognized in this way.

What did you do before creating your company?

François was working in the financial industry as program manager. Vincent was senior consultant at Microsoft.

How did you get the idea? What s the genesis?

The idea was born about 2 years ago just after WPF was released. We knew there would be a great potential for rich applications combining the web on the desktop. Today, social networking sites have exploded, they all have APIs and users are increasingly using desktop apps to interact with their social networks and update their statuses (22% of all Tweets are posted from desktop apps according to Tweetstats).

What do you sell? What is your company’s mission?

sobees is the perfect desktop companion for online social networks. sobees offers an easy unified user experience to access, organize and share information from the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, Digg, Flickr and Youtube, directly on the desktop.

What is your market?

We target mainstream users but our initial market are tech-savvy people who regularly connect to social sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN.

Any clients? References? Partners?

We lauched at Demo 09 and are a Red Herring 100 Europe Winner.

Funding history? VCs? BA?

We just closed an Angel round of financing and are now looking for Series A funding.

Growth? Internationalization?

Both growth and internationalization are our primary focuses this year. We are focusing on the US market, which is was a consideration in launching at DEMO. We are now preparing to grow by opening a subsidiary in the US.

How many employees do you have? How many developers?

We have currently 6 full-time employees, 4 of them are developers.

Are you hiring? If yes, what? Where?

We are hiring talented developers in Switzerland and business developers in America. We are a dynamic team; we developed, with a very small team, a full-featured solution. We are now looking to hire developers of verticals of sobees for devices such as Netbooks, phones.

Which platform are you building on? Why?

We are building on .NET 3.5 SP1 WPF and Silverlight 3 for the power they give us to develop fast. The only limitation of the technology is the lack cross-platform compatibility (we already support XP, Vista and 7), Silverlight 3 is, however, enabling us to reach new platforms such as Macs.

Do you have any Software IP? Is there something that you’re the only one to do on the market?

We have a patent pending. We are the very first to aggregate as many services as we do on the desktop. Our platform enables us to add additional services very efficiently. For instance, it only took us a single week to integrate Facebook Open Stream API, making us the first application after Facebook partners to integrate this functionality.

Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet areas?

There are great opportunities to build rich native applications connected to the cloud. We are also convinced that the instant web is becoming a great resource. We are following very closely the advent of better search and trending tools for this resource.

Looking for funding? If yes, how much?

We are now looking for Series A funding.

What about the BizSpark Program? What do you think? Are you going to join? Why?

We joined the day after BizSpark launched in Switzerland. It is a great program, with many benefits, chief among which are the free resource which enable us to save precious money.

Any advice to young Software entrepreneurs?

I would recommend to start small, focus on just one service and iterate. We learned as much by building a small Twitter/Friendfeed client as we learned building sobees alpha. The combination of both experiences helped us a lot in providing the current sobees. Among other things our experience enables us to produce applications with great user experiences at very low costs.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you, Bizspark, for giving us the resources to grow efficiently.

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