There have been other companies that tried to sell Linux desktops and laptops on a "don't worry about a thing; we'll administer them for you, no problem" basis. Not a lot (maybe none) of those companies have survived, as far as we know. Will Transforia manage to make it big? Or at least become profitable? We'll see.
Robin Miller: Today we have a Linux based entrepreneur with us, Joey. Joey, how do we say your name?
Joey Amanchukwu: It’s Amanchukwu.
Robin Miller: Amanchukwu. I understand you're from a foreign country called Raleigh, North Carolina.
Joey Amanchukwu: I wouldn't call it a foreign country, we’re known for great basketball teams, the home of NC state, but yes, I am from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Robin Miller: Okay. And you live now in California, speaking of foreign places. And your company, it says here, because I have it on another monitor... your website is Transforia.
Joey Amanchukwu: Transforia.
Robin Miller: And what you do is you lease or sell , or lease by the month, Linux-based computers with cloud storage and you just have total control. You just send it over and plug it in and that's it, right?And you told me you used to work for Red Hat so this is sort of a natural evolution.
Joey Amanchukwu: Yeah. I did four years of Red Hat. I was on the sales team and Red Hat really was a good experience for me because I had a chance to see how operating systems, how they work.
Robin Miller: Right.
Joey Amanchukwu: And call it kind of the building block of building corporate infrastructure if you will. And of course during 2007, I was there, there was this massive number of companies moving to Web 2.0, all social companies and Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP was kind of the big, big thing and I got a chance to experience all of that growth. And of course that experience of course has kind of led me to start Transforia, because I think that some of the same technologies that built this crowd infrastructure can be bought to the traditional desktop where traditionally Microsoft has maintained a 90% market share. They are still using traditional technologies. There really has been no innovation there. I think technology is available that could really help customers break away from that and free themselves from proprietary software and some of those traditional challenges.
Robin Miller: And Microsoft has of course taken Office and put it online and your Red Hat based computers can run that, can't they, online through the browser?
Joey Amanchukwu: Yes, they can. So we support Office 365, Google apps, there is also other Software-as-a-Service technology that you can use from the Web browser. I mean, if you look at what's happened in the marketplace, a majority of the business applications have started to move to the Web browser. You know salesforce.com, Workday, Zenefits, Zendesk, [Coopa], you name it. And so my take is that as we continue to see this technology getting embraced in the enterprise, more and more apps being accessed via web browser...
Robin Miller: Alright. And how about training, do you have to do much?
Joey Amanchukwu: Well, the idea was to simplify the operating system enough so that the user can just click a button, you are clicking the upper left hand corner, you tap activities or applications, you find your web browser and there you are. Yeah, there could be some challenge for people who are fairly novice computer users, right. But for those who have used a computer, I think it's fairly easy to get up and going from day one.
Robin Miller: Are you making a living? Do you have a decent customer base yet?
Joey Amanchukwu: Yeah, so we got started two years ago and we currently have pilot customers. We are still pre-revenue. The idea is to continue to make sure that the product is enterprise-ready, build out our support group. And then from there we’re going to start raising capital, which we just kicked that off here recently. But we're still fairly young, just into this business and the future looks bright.
Robin Miller: But did you get any seed capital to help you get going?
Joey Amanchukwu: Well, ironically I used my own money. During my career as a sales guy I did well for myself and I decided to save all my commission checks. And when the idea kind of presented itself to step away from Dell and start Transforia, I had enough capital to kind of get the company going. And right now, I think we're kind of at a point where it's time to scale, and raise money. And so the idea now is to search for a way to raise capital to grow the company.
Robin Miller: Okay, so you're getting out, so you’re talking to people, what kind of response are you getting?
Joey Amanchukwu: Some investors are kind of like, well you're competing against the traditional Windows, Microsoft Ecosystem, we don't see this as being a viable business. Some are saying wow, the industry has been waiting for this for quite some time, but come back to us when you’ve kind of had a way to get more metrics around the sales cycle. Some people completely don't understand it. They've been kind of stuck in this traditional Microsoft or Apple world where you start talking about Linux and web browsers, cloud technologies, it’s kind of alien.
Robin Miller: Okay, wait a minute. I have a white beard. I am far from young. How old does somebody have to be, to have that “ Linux isn’t here yet” attitude? How old do they have to be?
Joey Amanchukwu: Well, when you have an environment where a majority of devices are running either Android or running Mac OS X, or running Windows, to say the word Linux kind of brings this thing of complexity, or of things of foreign nature. And so my take is that a lot of times, I'm pushing the envelopes and hey the internet runs on Linux, your Android device runs on Linux.
Robin Miller: Mine does.
Joey Amanchukwu: Of course. So, it's I think still just more educating investors, educating the folks in the industry to kind of give Linux a chance on desktop. I think now that the cloud is prevalent, I think it's time.