How was the experience of exhibiting at CES? Did you get any good results from it?
Yes, we actually gathered a lot of great feedback and opportunities from CES. We had some investment prospects that now we are getting into. We are also having some pilot test preparations and we are now deploying some new features. So I am happy that it worked out for the good. It was a massive event for us.
Can you introduce about you and your company a little bit? (The technology behind and your background)
Of course! So, my background is mainly in finance and technology. This is the fourth company that I founded. I started this company mainly in an effort to protect vehicles when they were parked. Here, in New York it’s a big problem. There’s not a lot of protection for people that currently park on the streets. They often get their vehicles damaged. Specially in my case, I spent a few thousands dollars worth of damages in my car and I had no way to prove (to the insurance) who was responsible for it. So basically what our product would do is to grab the data from the accident so that a user can go to the insurance company and explain that someone (not him) damaged the vehicle. This type of product is relatively connected to a vehicle platform so what we are actually doing is creating this type of platform for vehicles that are currently on the road as of today. Our product typically makes any vehicle into a “small smart vehicle”. We do that by introducing all the components that vehicles would need such as front seat cameras and some specific features. Our great advantage is that we can just sit back and push software updates and introduce new services like: file insurance claims straight from the mobile app, create a contract commitment, accident prevention, parking assistance and a lot of other great benefits for vehicles that currently people don’t have.
What ignited the spark in you to start this business venture? Do you have any personal situation? Or with your friend? Or you just gathered data?
Yes of course. I suffered a lot from the consequences of the problem I’ve mentioned before. It took me 3 years to finally find a very specific vehicle that I always wanted, so after one week of owning the car, someone came and hit it and then left me with a 6 thousand dollars worth of damages.
So basically, every time that this happens the insurance companies charge you several hundred dollars of what it’s call “deductible”. Then the insurance bill goes up and that accident goes into your record, even though you are not the one who did it. Then, this becomes a very hard situation for the people involved. So I was determined to solve that. While doing some research, I didn’t find any other product that was able to protect drivers in the way we are protecting them now. In reality, having a vehicle is very expensive and most of the time families depend on their vehicles for their job or even their daily activities. There is an economic risk for vehicle owners, one repair bill can ignite a financial emergency within a family’s budget. So they won’t be able to survive or protect themselves from this type of situation. In the process of doing that, we discovered that we could help not only insurance companies but more importantly we can help drivers and families too.
What are the biggest challenges you experienced? What have you learned from them?
At the beginning everything was challenging. First challenge was trying to find a way to make the product really creative. I think Initially when I designed the product in my head was super simple. I told myself, we put sensor there, we put the camera here and we got what were looking for and then boom! we have a problem. A year and half later, I realized that it was a bigger monster than I ever thought it was. We were not only building software but also hardware, firmware, integrating cloud services, developing a mobile application. Each one of this things requires certain skills that you need. As a founder you need to find the right people, cultivate the right people. You suddenly have 7 different teams working together so you can get that one thing (the product) working correctly. That was a challenge that I think we all suffer from that. We will always have a next step to reach and in order for us to get to that the next step we need to grow and move forward.
I think another challenge that I found is understanding the market, being able to listen to the it. I’ve seen a couple of times at companies where the team goes to a meeting room and discuss these idea on how perfect the product could be and on how amazing the product will be once it’s automatically built by them and they go ahead with the launching. Then they found out that people don’t respond in the way they thought they will respond. This happens because they didn’t get that feedback in time and directly from the market. It turns out that you have to listen to what people want us to give them and get that immediate feedback. Let the market tell you, yes this feature is cool, it’s nice thing to have but is not something that we really need. So fighting on letting go of the idea that your product is your baby you will be reaching the emancipation of your genius per se. People won’t be able to tell you that they would like the product to be green and they would like it to be blue, so you need to know the average opinion of the market in order to be successful. Overall, cultivating the right people and listening to the market are some of the challenges I found along the road.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I think you need to be persistent. I think you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, it’s what I noticed from what I experienced every time. And you need to represent what a good leader should be.
These are the 3 different main sets of skills that you need to have to be a successful entrepreneur. Persistence, consistency and good leadership.Joel, CEO of HueCore
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I’ve never thought about that! (laughs) I think I have quite a few influencers that I learned from their background, from their stories and the experiences that they shared with me. I wouldn’t say that I had one particular person. I think I do try to surround myself with a specific circle of people that I can I always learn something from.
I always say that I’m the kind of people that always wanted to be the learning the most. So, I think in terms of influencer I think it might be one of my mentors and who used to be my boss at one of my previous jobs. His name is Sebastian Leoni, he used to be the Head of Sales at Bloomberg at that time. One thing that he always expected from me was to not to come to him with problems always come to him with solutions. This type mindset always forced me to sit down and analyze the problem, get a solution and then go a talk to him. He forced me to see what kind of problems we had and to find ways to solve them. And then he asked us to build upon the solution we found.
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
Uff! (laughing) 20 years! Well, one of the goals is to provide to drivers what Nest has done for homes. Nest initially was a connected thermostat but eventually they figured out that home automation had other needs and they created a connected doorbell with a camera. We pretty much have the same type of needs. Not everyone has a new model vehicle connected with these amazing features. They are plenty of not connected vehicles in the road (around 200M) that are not as safe and are not as convenient because of their limited functionalities. Some people don’t have the opportunity to buy a new vehicle or to get a high cost custom market solution. All this people are being left out of this market bubble so we want to bring a better option for them with great features.
Then being able to form and to allow the vehicles into an integrated smart city initiatives. We want o create more communication between these vehicles and the insurance companies and/or cities by providing direct feedback to them. We want to allow drivers and passengers to feel safer. We dream of this vehicles contributing to the community and that drivers can have the best technologies protecting their cars.
How do you define success?
Success for me would be that the majority of my customers are happy with the product and that the product is making a positive impact in their life!
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