Getting rid of cable clutter and enhancing productivity is the goal with Airtame, a new wireless screen-mirroring dongle aimed at businesses and schools. CEO Jonas Gyalokay tells Dan Robinson how the Danish start-up's technology will help shape future workplaces
“Simply put, Airtame is an essential tool for unlocking the workplace of the future.”
So says Jonas Gyalokay, CEO of the Danish start-up that has created a dongle that can wirelessly project images from mobile devices on to bigger screens.
While billed as an innovative product for workplaces and classrooms, the Airtame is a relatively simple concept – a small device that plugs into the HDMI socket of any screen or projector to link up with smartphones and tablets, which require only an app to connect.
Connecting such devices to screens is now “like the flick of a light switch” using Airtame, says Jonas.
And though it may appear an expensive alternative to the Google Chromecast or Apple TV at 299 euros (£266), he contends its tech has far more professional capabilities that offer “greater potential for meetings, communication and productivity of a team in general”.
Not only is it a handy tool for displaying presentations designed on an iPad, but it can also be used in reverse so that meeting participants or students can view slides on their device.
Describe what the Airtame device does and why it’s needed?
We think people across business and education can use screens better.
Airtame unlocks the wireless capabilities of your devices and allows for easier collaboration and more participation within a classroom or office space.
When was the company set up and how has it grown since?
Airtame came of age during a record-breaking Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in 2014. We were able to raise $1.3m (£1m) within a few weeks.
Since then, we have continued to grow our market share, and sell Airtame into 20-plus territories. We’ve also doubled revenue year-on-year continuously.
We have an 80-plus global team of Airtamers. We are a young and ambitious team, all contributing towards the goal of helping customers worldwide use screens better.
As a Danish start-up, you are part of a thriving tech eco-system in the Nordics. Is there a sense that the region is on the cusp of something special right now?
The community around the Nordics is small but committed. The approach to design and craft has been here for generations.
But it’s only now – or, in the last ten years or so – that people elsewhere have really started to pay attention to it. It’s fantastic to see first-hand and be a part of.
We are always inspired by the next big thing coming out of our part of the world.
Also, the work-life balance and more humble approach for building an enterprise here is very admirable. We appreciate being part of that bigger picture.
Additionally, I should add that we have an amazing global team, with remote workers and an office in Brooklyn, New York City.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the continued efforts of our Transatlantic team.
What are the products you have and what makes them unique in the marketplace?
We have one hardware product – the Airtame ($299 or 299 euros per device – highly competitive within the B2B space).
But it’s not just hardware we focus on. We have teams dedicated to building improved app and cloud experiences, including the bold new world of digital signage and homescreen app integrations.
These added software elements are all included with the price of a hardware device.
Who is a typical Airtame customer and what would they have been doing before your device was available?
Every serious business or schooling institution has an IT administrator or project lead.
This is our key customer – someone who knows about the typical AV problems of their workplace and knows a great opportunity to fix them with a product like Airtame.
Installing Airtame helps you get rid of cable clutter within these spaces.
Connecting your mobile or computer devices is like the flick of a light switch. Simple, quick, intuitive.
Our customers have reported back that installing Airtame has helped them reduce IT support tickets by up to 80%. This is music to any IT admin’s ears.
How does Airtame differ from HDMI dongles like the Google Chromecast and Apple TV, and how do you justify having a much higher price point?
Airtame is not a consumer product. Chromecast and Apple TV are great for home use but fall short of the professional environment, where factors such as network-wide cloud management, customised signage, and secure connectivity are key.
Additionally, we also provide a platform-agnostic solution. Whatever operating system and product you have – from Android to Apple and even Linux – Airtame works.
Airtame is actually on the lower end of the price range when compared to similar B2B products.
We balance genuinely daring product innovations with high-quality support and network-wide maintenance, all at a competitive price.
How do you visualise a workplace of the future and what role will Airtame have within that?
Simply put: Airtame is an essential tool for unlocking the workplace of the future.
The current functionality already provides a much-needed upgrade to a wireless work environment, and we have some genuinely exciting launches right around the corner.
As the workplace changes, so does your Airtame product experience.
It’s a living, breathing product, with you every step of the way on the journey towards better workflow.
How much funding and investment have you received to date?
There is the aforementioned crowdfunding, and continual investment elsewhere, including the recent 1.15m euros (£1m) grant we received from the Horizon 2020 programme.
What does the future hold for Airtame and how big do you think your company can go to?
We are humbled by the success we have obtained so far in this journey, but the sky is very much the limit for us.
We believe that installing Airtame devices in any forward-thinking office environment will help unlock a greater potential for meetings, communication, and productivity of a team in general.
Beyond the functionality aspect, we think Airtame helps make a workspace look nicer and run more efficiently.
We have some huge developments on our product roadmap, and lots of things in the pipeline connected to integrations, partnerships and digital signage.
We invite like-minded companies of all sizes to join us on this journey and start using screens better.