Launch Conference Spotlight: Drund

Youngstown is an Ohio city that has seen better days, but the team at Drund is looking toward the future. This startup has developed an online platform and is showcasing its work this week at the Launch Conference in San Francisco.

“Drund is a cloud-based application platform that integrates a lot of cool web-based services and centers them around the user,” says Nayef Zarrour, vice president of Drund.

“It doesn’t require the installation of any software or the management of any hardware,” he adds. “It doesn’t matter if the user is working on their home computer, work computer, or mobile device. It’s the same environment across all platforms.”

This simplified approach to daily internet use not only creates a better environment for the end-user, but also is beneficial for software companies.

“For developers, it’s very costly to establish, deploy, and support an application on multiple platforms,” explains Zarrour. “We’d like to be the platform that developers go to for handling multiple platforms and multiple browsers.”

Zarrour acknowledges that there are both advantages and disadvantages to running a tech startup in Youngstown.

“Obviously, we were hit harder by the recession and a lot of manufacturing jobs have been lost,” he says. “But being in Youngstown has allowed us to develop a great relationship with Youngstown State and the low cost of development and low cost of living has been really beneficial for a tech startup. In Silicon Valley, it would cost maybe three times as much to rent an office or pay higher salaries.”

Despite the low cost of doing business in Youngstown, Zarrour says that retaining talent for recruitment has posed a significant challenge.

“A lot of the talented designers or developers from Youngstown State University graduate and move on, so we have this limited pool to pull from,” he said. “But we feel that our team is extremely strong and we’ve been able to meet all of the right people and establish the right connections in the community.”

Drund is showing off a fully functional product at the Launch Conference in San Francisco to network with developers, investors, and others in the startup community.

“Our goal at Launch first and foremost is to network with as many app developers and grow our community of developers,” says Zarrour. “We’re also looking to network with investors, so we’re here to try to talk with the right angels and right venture capitalists. We are funded currently, but are also starting to get into the stage of institutional funding. So we’re here at Launch to look at long term growth of the company as well.”

To learn more about Drund, visit