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Name: Taylor Umphreys
Current Startup: brightblu.
Bio: I grew up in Silicon Valley my whole life, attended Menlo School, and then received my Bachelors in Electrical Engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara. I’ve held various positions at Palo Alto Research Center, Sonim Technologies, and NetApp over the years, including working in the Institute of Energy Efficiency at Santa Barbara. Directly out of college, I started the company brightblu with a few of my close friends from school. We were accepted into the Plug and Play Tech Center Startup Camp and spent the summer building the business. Brightblu is focused on making home automation simple, affordable, and accessible to every smartphone owner. We have a working prototype and are in the process of finalizing our first product.
Lessons Learned From Working with Friends:
My advice to founders is to make sure that everyone is on the same page. During the delegation process everyone needs to communicate and know exactly what is going on. The underlying principle everyone should understand is that the business need to come first. Business decisions shouldn’t affect friendships. You have to separate business from friendship.
Right now we don’t split roles based off of our titles, but I think when the business starts to grow we will split things differently. When that happens it will be important to make sure that everyone understands that decisions are making the business more accessible and successful. We have been very fortunate to keep our friendships close and also have functional business relationships.
Every morning is a completely different for me. We have a very small team right now and we are split between business development, product development, trying connect with advisors and adding to the team. What get’s us through is that we are very passionate about being here. We graduated together and turned down jobs and masters programs to work fulltime on Brightblu. What motivates us most is working on a product we truly believe with people we really enjoy working with. We think we really have something and are very excited to work. Every morning I wake up and pretty much work all day seven days a week. This business is pretty much everything for us right now.
- Alireza Masrour, VP of Investments at Plug and Play, has really provided us with a lot of direction and motivation. He has helped us build Brightblu from what we had right out of school into a business. We meet with him at least once a week to scope the direction that we are going and make stay we are on track.
- Frantz Lohier, CEO Intentionis, Former Corporate IP Strategist at Logitech, is our technical advisor. He has been helpful shaping the technical vision of our project. We were more reserved technologically before his influence. He enabled us to bring out more advanced technological capabilities in a short period of time.
Want to learn more about @brightbluteam? Follow their blog.