Joel Ronning
Founder and CEO, Digital River

Joel Ronning is founder and CEO of Digital River. With a multi-million dollar e-commerce infrastructure, Digital River builds and manages global online businesses for tens of thousands of companies. Today the company counts among its clients industry leaders such as Adobe, EA, Kodak, Logitech, Microsoft, Philips and THQ. Annually, Digital River handles over $3 billion in online transactions.
Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Minnesota, Digital River has over 1200 employees worldwide. Prior to Digital River, Ronning successfully launched two other Minnesota companies. During his career, he has produced nine e-commerce-related patents.

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QWhat inspired you to start Digital River, a company that defined and continues to lead the industry in online software downloading?

A I've always been very entrepreneurial. Digital River is kind of the logical culmination of a whole series of companies that I'd started or been involved with for the past 25 years. One thing we do a lot of here is direct marketing. I had a direct marketing catalog technology company before I started Digital River. Prior to that I was a partner in a software development company and a product manager. I have nine e-commerce related patents.

QHow did you know that software sales and distribution would move to the Internet?

A It just made sense to me. The materials, the packaging, and all the stuff that was required to send a CD - or at that time a floppy disk - to someone's home, have them install it on their computer, and then throw it all away was very wasteful.

QYou started distributing free encrypted software in '94, then focused on the Internet in '97. Do you remember AOL -

A Flooding the markets with those disks?

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