"Internet of Things," or "IoT" for short, both fascinates and frightens me.
On the one hand, I'm excited for the day when my refrigerator alerts me that milk is running low; but on the other hand, I envision this quickly devolving into a dark dystopia where the machines revolt, a la Skynet Takes Over or BSG.So it is with a mixture of enthusiasm and trepidation that we present our newest SOTW, Filament, a startup that is connecting equipment to the Internet. Putting aside my fears for a moment, these guys are working on very cool stuff, and just launched out of R/GA Accelerator, powered by TechStars.
I present to you Startup #14: Filament
In just one sentence, what is your company offering/what do you do?
Filament helps industrial companies make their existing machinery smart and connected.
Briefly, what makes you unique / different / special?
There is a lot of noise about consumer Internet of Things, but it turns out that the industrial side of IoT is more than twice the market size of consumer—including home automation and wearables.
Industrial products, like ours, require extreme reliability, very low power usage, and very long radio-range (up to miles) without using Wi-Fi or cellular networks. Filament offers all of these things.
We are the only turnkey solution to the smart infrastructure problem.
What is the one thing you love the most about running a startup?
This sounds a little masochistic, but I’ve come to fall in love with the extreme ups and downs that startups provide. It can be completely miserable, and it can be totally euphoric, but it is never—ever—boring. And I appreciate that.
What is the hardest or most surprising part of running a startup?
Just how important communication is to a startup’s success. If you can’t describe what your product does to any person—regardless of their tech knowledge, you’re missing out on huge opportunities for growth.
Do you have any success stories (big or small) you would like to share?
We had a Fortune 50 company contact us recently to help them with a wireless sensor network they needed. Their R&D team spent six months trying to build one themselves, and failed. And, they found us through organic search—unbelievable! I can’t wait until we start putting resources into marketing and lead-generation.
How, if in any way, has Foundersuite helped your company?
Like many startup companies, we used to track our investor contacts through a Google doc. This is ridiculous, so I looked around for a tool to help us with really simple investor tracking/CRM, and came across Foundersuite. Since finding it, I’ve got my entire investor list in there, and tracking them super closely. I love it—I just got back from a week of fundraising in the Bay Area, and it was so easy to track everything, that I was able to pack up the entire week with meetings and didn’t miss a follow-up with even one. I’m sold.
Finally, what is your best tip, hack, or piece of advice for entrepreneurs?
One of the tenets our team now lives by: less is more: whether you’re building an investor deck, writing marketing copy, or writing code, cut away all the extraneous fluff. Make it as essential as you can, and then take away another 5%. You’ll find all sorts of clarity and focus will emerge when you force yourself to these constraints.
Good luck to our friends at Filament -- we're rooting for you!