Q: How did the founders meet? You mentioned Josh first pitched you on the idea. How did it all come about?
A: Actually, Josh was a bit later in the story. The concept belongs to Asghar Riahi, with the help of his family. Asghar and I live in a town east of San Francisco, and our kids were in the same Boy Scout troop, so I had met him several years before AtomBeam. I had been CEO of another company and had decided to step away from the day-to-day management of it and moved to a non-executive chairman role to consider a couple of career options (swearing I would NOT do a startup, BTW). But when my wife arranged for me to have lunch with Asghar, a brilliant, innovative guy with a lot of experience in big tech to provide advice on how to make a business out of his idea, I could not help myself. As almost everyone reading this can understand, I just thought it was so compelling that I could not say no.
After doing some research, talking to technologists, professors, and patent lawyers to get the all clear, I approached a wealthy friend and presented the idea. He also got it immediately, offered to invest, and we were off to the races. We built a successful prototype and soon after recruited Josh Cooper to architect the system. Josh is another brilliant guy who took a great idea and made it real. Like cryptology, the basis of our software is driven by mathematics. Josh architected the software, was key in the process of patenting it and continues to be a key driver of the development of the intellectual property. Three of his current and former grad students are also highly valuable contributors, as well as others, most notably Jim Frandeen, who is an amazing software engineer performing miracles on a daily basis. We have a great team that has evolved over time; we need to grow it to a degree, but the core is well established and strong.