Experience sets Torsion Mobile creators apart - by Lynn Hicks, Des Moines Register
The secret to staying young, says Christian Gurney, is to always create.
“It keeps you active and alive,” he said.
Gurney, 48, is chief executive of Torsion Mobile, and Richard Kirsner, 66, is the chief financial officer. They’ve just launched Mojaba, a Web-based service that enables advertising firms and designers to create websites that are easy to read and use on a smartphone.
Their office sits on Des Moines’ Silicon Sixth Avenue, where hoodie-wearing hipsters build apps and scratch for startup gold. Gurney and Kirsner’s varied business and academic backgrounds set them apart.
“There’s a good chance we would understand a client’s business,” Kirsner said. That’s an understatement.
Gurney has a degree in anthropology and lived with and researched African Bushmen tribes. He and his father started a business representing race car drivers, and he served as president of CE Software, a now-defunct West Des Moines company. He’s worked at other tech firms as well.
Kirsner also ran CE Software, back when it was making games and applications for Apple II and III computers in the early 1980s. He has a degree in art and worked as a certified public accountant at several firms. The Des Moines native worked for a Rolls Royce dealership in Florida and a telecommunications firm in Dallas; founded a cable television provider in France; and owned and operated a film animation company in St. Louis and a custom acoustic guitar factory in New Hampshire.
The two have worked together since 2000. While on the cusp of retirement age, Kirsner left his job at an ad specialty firm to join Gurney full time a couple of years ago. The two overcame a barrier for many older entrepreneurs: pricey health insurance. Kirsner said he made it work by going on a COBRA plan until he turned 65. Gurney is covered through his wife’s job as a physical therapist. With help from friends, family and a grant from the state, the two have invested $350,000 in the company.
Mobile technology offers immense business opportunity, particularly globally. More Africans have access to mobile phones than to clean drinking water, according to Nielsen research.
“This is the biggest technological shift in the history of man,” Gurney said.
Read the entire article, “Young techies snag headlines, but most entrepreneurs are older” at the Des Moines Register.