HomeDenmark-Startups"It is a wireless HDMI dongle to display your whole computer screen":...

“It is a wireless HDMI dongle to display your whole computer screen”: Interview with Attila Sükösd, co-founder and CTO of 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 at Engadget, while their (still running) Indiegogo campaign has also made them the most successful crowdfunding startup in Denmark.

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

First of all: congrats on the amazing success story! Could you please shortly explain what AIRTAME is about?

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

We have all heard of similar solutions, like Google Chromecast – what differentiates your solution from all the others on the market?

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

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

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

How did you meet your co-founders?

I was studying computer science at the Technical University of Denmark, focusing on embedded systems, where I 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 had 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, so we started thinking together on how to make it happen. When we were about to launch the crowdfunding campaign, we needed a professional video and started working with Brian Kyed and Marius Klausen from Moving Monday (Update – May 2023: The startup seems to be no longer in business under this website, and we therefore deactivated the original link), and decided to team up for AIRTAME. Peter Ørntoft was the fifth person to join us as the Creative Director.

Jonas’ family name sounds really Hungarian.

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

How did you get started?

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 organising these things in Great Britain, which took roughly a month. When we had everything ready, Kickstarter was not responding to us, even though we were pinging them on each and every channel, so we decided to use Indiegogo instead and the project went live on 20 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 mobilised our whole network to make them ready for the great launch and then managed to get $35K on the very first day. Within 12 days we reached our goal of $160K and thanks to our success at CES and certainly the visibility we gained with that, today we have more than $830K and the campaign is still ongoing.

What are the next steps?

Beta testers need the product in March and Indiegogo contributors in May. It’s going well with the development of the software prototype and we are also about to hire 3-4 software engineers. The hardware is a bit more challenging, 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 are doing follow up calls these days.

How do you see the future of the company?

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 would really like to solve in the close future: the product is not supporting mobile platforms at this stage and can be used only by desktops. We would also like to focus on business and education, where the needs are different compared to individual usage in living rooms. The third thing that I can mention is cloud computing and gaming; our solution could make it possible for games like Call of Duty to be played on a mobile or a tablet while actually being streamed from a server.

And finally, where does the name AIRTAME coming from?

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

Peter Kovacs
Peter Kovacs
Peter Kovacs is the Co-Founder of Global Startup Awards, xLabs and IseeQ . He contributes to EU-Startups with founder interviews and stories, mostly from the CEE region.
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