Ex-RealNetworks directors start Syntonic Wireless to help device owners buy content without data plans

Former RealNetworks execs Rahul Agarwal and Gary Greenbaum founded Syntonic Wireless in 2012.

Former RealNetworks execs Rahul Agarwal and Gary Greenbaum founded Syntonic Wireless in 2012.

To get the most out of a smartphone or tablet, you typically need to purchase a data plan in order to download content onto your device.

But what about those of us that like the hardware, yet don’t necessarily want to lock ourselves into a long-term contract?

Meet Syntonic Wireless, a new Bellevue startup founded by two former RealNetworks execs that has developed a cloud-based connected services platform that enables the coupling of content with cellular access.

The idea for Syntonic started after the founders became frustrated with the expense incurred from all the device data plans in their multi-device households.

“There had to be a viable alternative for providing anytime, anywhere access to our content,” said co-founder Gary Greenbaum. “[Syntonic Wireless] is that alternative, enabling new economic models for monetizing today’s ‘unreachables.’”

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Simply put, the company allows anyone in the mobile delivery value-chain — device OEMs, content providers, application developers, mobile operators — to sponsor or sell a connected service directly to customers without data plans.

Syntonic has several customer segments, including sectors like education, healthcare, enterprise and automobile. Its main target audience in the U.S. is tablet owners who want to realize the full value of their hardware investment without a data plan, however, the startup also does business globally.

“Outside of the U.S. market, where operator subsidization is less common, we extend our target audience to include owners of any mobile computing device — smart phones, tablets, PC’s, etc,” Greenbaum said.

Greenbaum, who was a director at both RealNetworks and Microsoft, started the company in 2012 with Rahul Agarwal, another former director at RealNetworks who most recently founded Adroit Business Solutions.

Syntonic has raised $1 million of a $1.5 million round and plans to hire aggressively in 2014 as the company launches its service offering.

  • Rob Green

    Great job Gary and Rahul! I hope you guys hit it out of the park. Great idea too.

  • David Kilbride

    Best of luck guys!!