This transcript is from a PodTech.net podcast at:
http://www.podtech.net/home/technology/1703/podventurezone-cozi-ceo-robbie-cape-part-2

Guest: Robbie Cape - Cozi
Host: John Ince - PodTech

John Ince - PodTech
Welcome to PodVentureZone, this is John Ince, your host. Our guest today on PodVentureZone is Robbie Cape, who is CEO and co-founder of Cozi. Welcome to PodVentureZone, Robbie.

Robbie Cape - Cozi
Thank you so much.

John Ince - PodTech
First of all, could you just share with us how you came up with the idea for Cozi?

Robbie Cape - Cozi
Well, it's interesting. Jan Miksovsky, my co-founder and I, actually didn't have an idea for Cozi when we got started, and I actually think that that's quite representative of the best way to build a technology company these days. Given that your primary resource is intellectual horsepower and just intellectual capital. We really started first with the decision that we wanted to build a company together. Jan and I didn't even necessarily know what area we wanted that company to be in. We were committed to this possibility that we could do magic together as a team. So that's really where we started back -- when we started to think about building a company together in the middle of 2004.

John Ince - PodTech
How did you narrow down the possibilities of what you guys wanted to do together?

Robbie Cape - Cozi
So, we started to talk that summer. I was at Microsoft, Jan had just left Microsoft, and we just started to look at trends, believe it or not. We looked at this very interesting trend and it probably was the kernel of the idea that formed, or a kernel of the vision that formed Cozi. We observed that there was this incredible movement of technology, from being focused in the office of the home, to beginning to move into all sorts of different areas of the home.

I always make this analogy that if you could somehow do a heat map of technology -- technology like process or power or memory or I/O or whatever, if you could somehow do a heat map of technology in the home over the last 10 or 15 years, you'd see a big red blip back 10 or 15 years ago in the home office; where people had their PC and their printer and their answering machine. Then you'd start seeing wireless telephones moving, they all had processors in them, and set-top boxes and game consoles moving into the living room. You'd start seeing red blips popping up in the living room, and then you'd start seeing a little bit in the kitchen and in the bedrooms, and you're basically just seeing -- and then you see broadband networks, wireless, deploy in the home, and then there's basically red everywhere, because now you have technology available to everyone in the home.

So we saw this incredible spread of technology from a hardware perspective into all of these different areas of the home. Yet, when we looked at that, we were amazed when we compared that movement to the sort of applications that were being built to leverage all of this technology. All we really saw was better TV watching experiences, with the set-top boxes, that better music listening experiences, also with set-top boxes, but also with things like the iPod, and of course better gaming experiences with things like the game consoles.

That's literally what we saw in terms of the applications that were built to really take advantage of this spread of technology throughout the home. We looked at each other and said, we can't believe that all of this technology, all of this hardware, all of this innovation around the spread of this -- people called the digital lifestyle, that all of that is happening simply to support a better TV watching, music listening, gaming experience.

If we look ahead 10 or 15 years, there's got to be more exciting things that people will be doing with these technologies, with these underline platforms. It was really with that that we decided that there was a place in the ecosystem, for a company that was focused on building applications that would be used by members of a household, throughout their household, in the kitchen, in the living room, in the bedroom, in the den.

That's really -- it was based on that thinking that I decided to leave Microsoft in January 2005. Then we went out and got some seat financing. We were going to focus on building the application of the future for the digital connected home, and it wasn't going to be about home automation. So that's really where we started, but we had no idea at that time, we didn't know that we were going to build PC based software. We didn't know that we'd build Web based software. We didn't know that we would build software for families. We didn't know that we were going to focus on calendaring and shopping lists and family management software.

We didn't know any of that. We discovered all of those things as we worked through the first six months of talking to families and doing what we call mom parties, just a lot of grass root research. Hearing what people needed in their homes, it was really driven by the need and by the customer, that we ultimately came to the conclusion that Cozi Central was going to be the first product, and that as a company, Cozi was really going to focus on making it easier for busier than busy parents to manage the chaos of their family life.

John Ince - PodTech
How did you come up with the name Cozi?

Robbie Cape - Cozi
So that's also an interesting story. We actually founded the company under a different name, and then when we brought on Maya Babish, who was our VP of Marketing. Her first job was to rename the company, because we always knew that Kasayka wasn't going to be the name that we went to market with. We looked at hundreds of different names, and of course you know that these days finding a great name is exceptionally difficult, because you're trying to find a URL that isn't taken. Cozi was a name, I actually hated the name at first, it felt just too fuzzy and warm, but it captured so perfectly the relationship that we wanted our software to have with the family. Software is this cold, untouchable and yet we were going to building software that we wanted to be warm and inviting and friendly and comfortable to the family. Cozi represented all of those feelings of comfort and the degree to which we wanted our software to become a part of the family.

So it ended up being perfect, and I've to say that I absolutely love the name. I couldn't be happier. We ended up having to actually buy the URL from a husband and wife that owned it in Vermont. I think that it was just a great, great choice.

John Ince - PodTech
Did you write a business plan?

Robbie Cape - Cozi
Probably not in the most traditional sense of the word. We spent a lot of time thinking and talking to people and getting feedback from advisors and talking to customers. Then ultimately when it came time to go out and begin fund raising, we actually didn't even have a document, at that time when we started, that captured all of our thinking. I'd say probably two to three weeks into the fund raising process, we finally had a few potential investors express an interest in an executive summary of our plan.

So only at that point did we actually sit down and put down in writing what we had been talking to people about for months. So at that point we put together a six page summary that covered all the basic elements that you'd expect a "business plan to summary". It was really just an executive summary of what we were planning to do with the business over the course of the next five years.

John Ince - PodTech
This concludes Part 2 of the interview with Robbie Cape, co-founder and CEO of Cozi.

Lancour. Thanks for listening.

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