A Q&A session with Taylor Umphreys, Founder/CEO of brightblu. Taylor has advice for founders after brightblu’s successful pitch a
t Plug and Play Expo on September 13th, 2012. Read more about Taylor on his Founder Profile.
Can you introduce your vision for brightblu and explain what you are trying to with home automation?
At brightblu we are really trying to make home automation simple, affordable, and accessible to everyone with a smartphone. We are starting out with a smart plug that is completely controlled by your smart phone. You can plug any light or appliance into it and control it with your phone.
We are also trying to bring a app store environment to the home. Developers like ourselves will be able create apps to control the home in different ways.
Our ultimate goal is to revolutionize the home automation system industry. Typically home automation systems are very expensive and require a technician to install it in your home for you. We want to allow a user to go pick up a packet of our plugs and be able to set everything up easily through their smartphone.
You were recently named one of the winners of the Plug and Play Expo. Could you tell me a little about that?
At the Plug and Play Expo there were 30 companies pitching in front of 120 plus investors. We won one of the top three awards. It was a really great experience for us and is the kick-off of our institutional investment round. It was our first time exposing the company to VC’s and Angels. As a result we are working on follow up meetings with investors and trying to raise our seed round.
What does that mean for Brightblu?
We came directly out of college at UC Santa Barbara with a product and an idea. The 12 weeks at the Plug and Play Tech Center Startup Camp were spent developing brightblu into a business. Expo was really the culmination of the entire summers work: taking a project from school, turning it into a business, and now taking the next steps of manufacturing the product and building the team. We are hopeful to bring our solution to the market in the next few months.
Do you have any advice for founders going through the early steps of founding a startup?
Keep your head down and keep on moving ahead day by day. There are a lot of days, weeks even, that things don’t seem like they are going right. You have to continue to believe and have the passion and work ethic to push through the tough times. We are still very early on so there’s still a lot to learn, but even in our short time as a company, we’ve faced a lot of ups and downs.
What goals do you have for the upcoming months?
We are focusing on raising our seed round so we can build up our team. We also want to also continue strong with our product development. Right now we are about halfway through the design of our product and are trying to complete the look and the feel of it. We also want to ramp up our software development so we can launch in the next couple of months.
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