I used to have a don’t answer the front door unless you’re expecting someone policy until I “missed” an important delivery while sitting at my desk… that someone else had to make a special trip then wait in a very long line to retrieve. Now I have to spring to the door every time I hear the bell even if it ends up being nothing more than a flyer left on the porch.
SkyBell Technologies and SkyBell to the rescue! SkBell is a WiFi doorbell that not only lets you see who’s rung the doorbell, but also listen to and speak with that person no matter where you are – even if you’re not at home. The smartphone app makes it easy to choose whether or not to answer the bell.
More than just a camera, SkyBell is a great tool for communicating with friends stopping by or avoiding unwanted solicitors. The app gives homeowners greater control over handling visitors of all variety, while making it more convenient and safer to come to the door. Co-founder Andrew Thomas tells us more:
What inspired your current startup?
The idea for SkyBell was started with a desire to stay connected with our homes while we were constantly away on business or at the office. SkyBell lets you see who is at your door from a smartphone, and we realized this would empower homeowners whether they are at home or away. The idea of reinventing an old technology and improving one simple part of everyday life was very attractive.
What makes your startup so killer? How is it different from the competition?
The difference between SkyBell and other competitors is that SkyBell is more than just a doorbell with a video camera. SkyBell is the only WiFi doorbell with a motion sensor that can start a live video feed even if a visitor doesn’t press the button. SkyBell is also the only device with on-demand access (coming soon) that allows you to see out of the device at any time from the app. We’re also the only solution that has invisible night vision, the ability to operate below freezing temperatures, and is Made in the USA.
SkyBell was also named a 2014 CES Innovations Award Nominee for our elegant design and innovation in engineering.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are struggling to get their businesses off the ground?
Take a step back and look at the big picture. It helps to withdraw a bit and take the opportunity to see if you are missing something. Take the time to consider additional solutions to your challenge or other paths to launch your business. If you’re struggling with funding, consider options with crowdfunding. If obtaining customers is a challenge, consider what other companies are doing differently that you might be able to integrate into your efforts. Changing your perspective can reveal new ideas and spark the creativity needed to get your business off the ground.
And most of all… keep working hard.
What has been the biggest startup surprise for you (good or bad)?
The biggest surprise has been how much variety there is behind the demand for SkyBell. Customers of all walks of life have expressed strong demand and for a variety of reasons. We knew SkyBell would bring convenience, control, and safety to users, yet we have been overwhelmed by the response and the many ways people are benefitting from their SkyBell.
How has being an entrepreneur changed you for the better? How has it enriched your life?
Co-founding a startup and being an entrepreneur has been an incredible experience and it continues to enrich my life. I’d say one of the biggest changes is that entrepreneurialism and startups challenge you to constantly go outside your comfort zone. There are so many things to experience outside your comfort zone and you only learn them by doing it. Luckily for me, I am surrounded by great founding members who help me excel while outside that comfort zone.
What is the tech scene like where you live?
The tech scene in Orange County is a bit smaller, yet it is there. We don’t draw the same attention as LA and Silicon Valley, but there are good startups and tech companies doing great things. It’s great to be a new and fast-growing startup out of Orange County.
Where can our readers find you?
At the end of the day, what does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
For me, it’s all about the creation element. The great part of being an entrepreneur is deciding that you are going to create something from nothing. It’s always a challenge and requires a great deal of energy, yet it’s amazing to see those inputs result in something real. The journey of creating something is really the great part of being an entrepreneur.