Q&A with Tomer Dvir, Soluto CEO, about the ‘PC Genome’ and the company’s $10.5 million funding round
TechCrunch Disrupt 2010 winner Soluto makes “anti-frustration” software that utilizes crowd sourcing to find solutions to PC problems and for maintaining healthy systems. The Tel Aviv–based company was founded in 2007 and recently closed a $10.5 million funding round.
Dvir: Many PC users are frustrated by their PCs, and Soluto’s goal is to make them happy. The burden of supporting the unhappy people falls on the shoulders of a very small group of PC techies, who put a lot of effort into helping their family, friends and co-workers. Soluto helps these super-users help themselves and others, in an easy, quick, fun way.
Soluto’s “anti-frustration software” is a downloadable Windows application. At the heart of its technology is a learning system that automatically finds solutions for PC frustrations, based on crowd sourcing. Soluto detects various problems affecting the PC user experience and, based on advanced technology, pinpoints and analyzes what obstacles are standing in the way of the user.
Soluto uses the same technology to determine which actions users took that had a positive effect on their computing experience. For example, terminating a certain processes or reconfiguring certain applications can dramatically improve the behavior of a particular piece of software. This knowledge is learned automatically by Soluto’s technology and is then shared with other users suffering from similar problems.
Insights from the data gathered by Soluto are stored in the PC Genome, Soluto’s knowledgebase of PC frustrations and solutions, built for the benefit of all PC users. This data will not only help Soluto’s users, but will also help software and hardware vendors to build better products, for the benefit of all.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind Soluto? Was it just the result of many frustrating experiences with PC technical issues?
Dvir: We founded Soluto in 2007 with the goal of bringing an end to the frustrations PC users encounter, using advanced technology combined with collective user wisdom. As PC users from a very young age, we were simply tired of being so frustrated with our PCs. And it’s not just us–many of the PC users around as were unhappy with their PCs.
A few basic things just didn’t make sense to us: why our PCs didn’t do what we asked them to, when we asked them to; why our PCs became increasingly sluggish and unresponsive, the more we used them and so quickly after we bought them; and why we had to think twice before installing additional software, for fear that it might have a negative effect on our PC performance.
We realized that we could build a technology that could undo this state of affairs. And so we did.
SUB: What are your target markets and how are you marketing Soluto?
Dvir: With over 1.5 billion PCs in the world, Soluto’s main target market is the far too common unhappy PC user.
Until today, Soluto didn’t invest even one cent in advertising or PR. Winning first prize at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2010 gave us initial recognition, and since then our marketing has been based on word of mouth.
Soluto is spread by computer techies. Representing just a small percentage of the PC consumers out there, techies, the ones charged with supporting the rest of the PC-using population, have taken to Soluto as a tool to help them support the users they support. Just by installing Soluto and solving his own problems, the tech-savvy user can bring happiness to friends, family, coworkers and millions of frustrated PC users around the world. For techies, this often means no more putting out fires, no more troubleshooting, no more long (and frustrating) phone conversations, and no more emergency house calls. They can help all the users they support with two words: “install Soluto”.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took to establishing it?
Dvir: We founded Soluto in 2007. It all started I got together with my old friend Ishay Green (our CTO) for a beer on the beach in Tel Aviv. The stars aligned, the idea was born, and the rest, as they say, is history. Since then we started developing the technology that three years later won us the title at TechCrunch Disrupt NY. We have continued to develop and recently launched a new version of the software with new features. We intend to keep on developing new and interesting stuff and we don’t intend to stop until PC users the world over are happy.
SUB: What is the PC Genome, and how is it different from the standard PC knowledge base?
Dvir: The PC Genome is Soluto’s unique knowledge database of PC frustrations and solutions, built automatically through the usage of Soluto software, for the benefit of all PC users. The PC Genome automatically gathers the anonymous statistical data at the heart of each “frustration” (i.e. each time a user gets frustrated with his PC because it’s slow, becomes unresponsive, or in some other way upsets him).
Similarly, each time a Soluto user successfully solves a PC frustration, that solution’s technical data is also gathered in the PC Genome. This knowledge is shared with the world via Soluto’s software and will be made available in much more detail via the PC Genome web application that we plan to release in the near future.
SUB: You recently closed a $10.5 million funding round. How do you plan to use the money?
Dvir: We intend to put the new funding toward the development of new solutions that will make people happier with their technology (both PCs and other platforms). We also intend to put some of the new funding toward the further development of the PC Genome.
SUB: Why was now a particularly good time to raise a second round of funding?
Dvir: We have several big products in the pipeline that we can’t wait to develop. We would have continued to grow with our former stream of funding, but at a slower pace than desired. This new infusion will enable us to develop and expand our offerings to users much more quickly and give us space and time to grow innovatively and creatively.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more funding in the next six-to-nine months?
Dvir: We don’t.
SUB: What have been the most significant challenges to building Soluto so far?
Dvir: The biggest challenge so far has been scaling our solution to suit the enormous number of unanticipated downloads we got a short time after TechCrunch Disrupt 2010. This meant we had to temporarily divert time and resources from developing new features. We were back on track after awhile, and we plan to release some exciting stuff soon.
SUB: Where do you see Soluto in about a year from now?
Dvir: We have some big plans for this year. Much of it I can’t reveal just yet, but I can say that something exciting for our techie users is on its way. Besides that, we plan to offer PC users more solutions to more frustrations, as well as offer solutions to frustrations encountered by users of other platforms. There are billions of frustrated technology consumers around the world and we want to make them all happy.
Soluto – www.soluto.com