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Pure Networks

Home networks seem to be the wave of the future, with more home computing users getting wired every day. But they’re not without headaches, as Pure Networks well knows.

Home networks seem to be the wave of the future, with more home computing users getting wired every day. But they’re not without headaches, as Seattle-based Pure Networks well knows. Co-founder Rob Bennett chats about potential, file sharing, and finding a better way.

How did the company get started?

We started Pure Networks in 2002 after I got together with another ex-Microsoft colleague and talked about how the home networking market has really taken off and the amazing potential of home networks, but how difficult they were for most people to setup and manage. We realized that there was a great opportunity to not only help people make their home networks work more reliably and securely, but also to open up new capabilities for using the home network to share information with trusted friends and family members.

What got you personally interested in doing this work?

I’ve always been the guy on the block that has to try out the latest gadgets and gear–everybody knows somebody like that. I started getting into home networking to make it easy to share files and printers within my house, and then ended up helping all of my friends set up their own networks. After seeing all the problems that people were having, I said, “There has to be a better way.”

Why do you think there’s a need for your services?

There are more than 10 million homes that have a home network today. That number is expected to grow to 16 million by the end of next year.

But home networks are still too difficult for most people to get working correctly. Even if they get the network wired correctly, things like sharing files between different versions of Windows is nearly impossible to get working. Our software will make that easier for people, and as a result, help broadband ISPs and network hardware manufacturers by reducing their support costs.

How is the company unique in the marketplace?

We’re focused on solving real problems for consumers, broadband ISPs, and network hardware manufacturers. We’re not trying to build a massive software platform that has no practical use–we’ve all seen too many early-stage companies try to do that and fail. We’re fast and nimble–we shipped our first product, Port Magic, to consumers within 6 months of receiving funding. Those are critical qualities for a company to succeed.

How is the company faring in the current economic climate?

We received funding from a local VC firm last fall and are expanding the team to build our next round of products. We just hired a new CEO who brings a lot of great experience from Intel. And we’re finalizing some large-scale distribution deals with major broadband ISPs and home networking hardware vendors. All in all, we’re really happy with the progress we’ve made and are excited for the future.

What are the largest challenges that you see in providing your service?

For a small company, reaching a large number of people is always a daunting challenge. Trying to do it directly is usually prohibitively expensive. The key is to build relationships with companies who already have large distribution channels to consumers. We’ve been really successful in doing this with broadband ISPs and networking hardware vendors.

Do you have anything in the works for the future?

We’re working on some new products that will continue to make it easier for people to set up and manage their home network, as well as use the power of their home network to do things like securely sharing photos and other personal content with their family and friends.

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