AIRTAME, the best startup of CES 2014

AIRTAME, the Copenhagen based startup has just made it in Las Vegas by winning the “Best Startup” category of Engadget, while their (still running) Indiegogo campaign also made them the most successful crowdfunding startup of Denmark.

I was having a Skype call with the Hungarian Co-Founder and CTO, Attila Sükösd.

EU-Startups: First of all: congrats, it’s an amazing success story! Could you please shortly define what is AIRTAME?

Attila: Thank you :) The shortest description I have: “It is a wireless HDMI dongle that you can plug into your TV, monitor or projector, and wirelessly display your whole computer screen.”

EU-Startups: We all have heard about similar solutions, just like Google Chromecast, what differentiates your solution from all the others on the market?

Attila: Chromecast is mainly optimised for services like Netflix, focusing on sharing media contents. Our solution is about screencasting, providing a much better quality and less latency. I would also emphasize our open source approach, all of our competitors are trying to close the users into their own systems.

EU-Startups: What is your story? How did you personally end up in Denmark as a Hungarian?

Attila: I moved to Denmark in 2001 with my mother, at the age of 12, when she got a temporarily-based research job here at a University. Her contract got extended a couple of times, finally turned into an indefinite one, so we stayed.

EU-Startups: How did you meet your co-founders?

Attila: I was studying computer science at the Technical University of Denmark, focusing on embedded systems, where I’ve met one of the now co-founders of my earlier startup, an IT consultancy firm. Part of that firm was Jonas Gyalokay, in charge of marketing, now CEO at AIRTAME. I have been working on the idea for more than a year, as a hobby project in my free time, when I told Jonas about it and he immediately saw the potential and we started thinking together on how to make it happen. When we were about launching the crowdfunding campaign, we needed a professional video and started working with Brian Kyed and Marius Klausen from Moving Monday and we decided to team up for AIRTAME. Peter Ørntoft is the 5th guy who joined us as the Creative Director.

EU-Startups: Jonas’ family name sounds really Hungarian.

Attila: Yes, his grandfather on his father side was Hungarian who left the country in ’56 during the revolution.

EU-Startups: How did you get started?

Attila: In May 2013 we started working seriously on the campaign that we were hoping to launch on Kickstarter in August. In order to do that, we needed a British or US company and bank account, so we invested time and energy into organizing these things in Great Britain, which took roughly a month. When we had everything ready, Kickstarter was simply not responding to us, even though we were pinging them at each and every channel, so we decided to use Indiegogo instead and the project went alive on 20th November (Kickstarter finally came back to us a couple of days after the launch, but that was too late). We’ve never regretted turning to Indiegogo instead, as we’ve received very good support from them, they’ve put us in contact with a number of interesting people, such as someone from NASA, and they were also the ones to invite us go to CES even after official registrations for exhibitors were closed.

We knew that we needed to get contributions immediately to get it started successfully, so we’d mobilized our whole network to make them ready for the great launch and we managed to get 35.000 USD on the very first day. Within 12 days we reached our goal, 160.000 USD and thanks to our success at CES and certainly the visibility we gained with that, today we have more than 830.000 USD and the campaign is still ongoing.

EU-Startups: What are the next steps?

Attila: Beta testers need the product in March and the Indiegogo contributors in May. We are going well with the development of the software prototype and are also about hiring 3-4 software engineers now. The hardware is a bit more challenging though, so we’ll need to travel to China within 3 weeks to test and see manufacturers. The other guys are working hard on PR, marketing, distribution and sales related issues and we also gained lots of attention at CES from companies like Samsung, Tesco, LG, Apple, Toyota, Panasonic, Google and so on, so we also doing the follow up calls these days.

EU-Startups: How do you see the future now?

Attila: We would like to build a strong brand, so are not planning to sell the company at this stage. We are actually full of ideas on how we can further develop the solution. Just to mention some things that we really would like to solve in the close future: the product is not supporting mobile platforms at this stage, can be used only by desktops, we need to work on it as soon as possible. We would also like to focus on business and education where the needs are different compared to the individual usage in living rooms. The third thing that I can mention is cloud computing and gaming: our solution could make games like Call of Duty possible to be played on a mobile or a tablet while actually being streamed from a server.

EU-Startups: And finally, where is your name coming from?

Attila: Well, we tried to find a short, easy-to-remember name that is also free all over the social media. We checked hundreds of options and somehow ended up with this. :)

EU-Startups.com: Thank you for your time, I am simply amazed by your successes! Let me wish you all the very-very best for the coming months and being a contributor myself, I am looking forward to receive the dongle in May from you :)


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