For SoonR Time To Refocus

[qi:012] Sooner or later, every start-up has to figure out a way to make money. SoonR, based in Campbell, CA., faced the same problem and by refocusing the company has come up with a potential money maker. It has done so by shifting its focus away from its whiz-bang features, and instead zeroing on the mundane back-up-and-restore aspects of its product offering.

Their product allowed you to access documents and other files from your desktop on your mobile phone. In addition, SoonR offered over-the-air editing and allowed you to manipulate the documents and send emails. SoonR had hoped to make money by offering a premium service that cached your files in the cloud so that you could access your files in case your home computer went on the blink or you lost connection.

This caching-in-the-cloud feature has been recast as a “constant backup and restore,” and is resonating with wireless and broadband carriers, especially those who want to sell premium services to small-and-medium sized businesses.

That doesn’t mean that the company is going to stop offering its application, it is simply focusing on a different market segment. SoonR has signed up Nordic telecom giant TeliaSonera, which is going to white label SoonR as its EasyBox package (which included web hosting and hosted Exchange.) Similar deals with other carriers are in the works.

The consumer market might be sexy, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Patrick McVeigh, who recently took over at the CEO of the company told us, “The market for Mobile web 2.0 is still ways off and there are still too many hurdles for the end user. I haven’t seen any company in the consumer mobile web space that isn’t a science experiment.”

For now SoonR’s “strategy is to go with carriers or large partners such as WebEx who already have existing billing relationships,” said McVeigh, who till recently was the CEO of PalmSource and was also one of the co-founders of wireless ISP, OmniSky. One can’t fault the company for taking a more pragmatic (and money making) approach.

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