Tag Archives: hardware

Calgary Alberta mcThings is Connecting Things to the Internet since 2014

mcThings is a full stack enabler in the IoT space. The platform that mcThings has developed solves the problem of collecting and sending vast amounts of sensor data to the cloud. The platform consists of three key technologies: ultra-low power hardware, mcOS and the mcCloud. The combination of these technologies allows customers to deploy and scale IoT solutions at a low cost and in as little as three months. The platform includes sensor modules with various connectivity configurations, gateways, software as well as Platform as a Services (PaaS) to manage all aspects of your project(s). Because of this easy implementation, no specialized staff is required for development allowing for a rapid ROI. Refer to the attached for further company detail.

McModule in a motion sensor
McModule in a motion sensor

Who started the company?
The company was started by Tom Groenland in 2014.
Do your team members have tech background? Seven of the 12 team members have a technical background and include firmware and software engineers.

How are you being financed?
Financing to date has come from family, friends and other angel investors. In addition, we have received government funding of approximately CAD $450,000 with respect to research and development activities. Strategic fund raising planned for mid-2017 in the range $5M- $10M.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?
The major challenge is the customer adoption rate – that is the time it takes for customers to understand the opportunities that IoT generally and our platform in particular offers, how it can be applied to their business and then to implement a solution.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?
Most employees have come from relationships with existing staff. This has been supplemented with the use of LinkedIn.

Who is your biggest competition?
Our major competitors are Electric Imp, Samsara, Particle IO and Helium

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues?
We are in various stages of proof of concept trials with several customers. We expect that most of these customers will move to large scale deployment of our devices resulting in the sale of between 10,000 to 100,000 devices per year and revenue of up to US $ 2.0 million per year and growing thereafter. Over the next three to five years we expect the revenue from our Platform as a Service offering to make up the majority of our revenues.

In what markets?
We expect most of our customers to be in the logistics and asset tracking / monitoring business – primarily mid-sized companies located in the US. Our secondary market is asset performance monitoring.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project?
The time to identify customers and bring them through the development cycle i.e. from the identification of the opportunity, completion of preliminary trials and then full scale implementation / deployment has generally taken longer than originally anticipated.

Video: mc-Things: Cochrane Town Company Overview

Toronto / San Francisco startup SnapEDA making it easy to build hardware

SnapEDA is a parts library for circuit board design. We provide digital content — similar to blueprints — that help designers bring products to life quickly. Our library is used by tens of thousands of hardware designers, from small shops to engineers at household names like Samsung.

SnapEDA is building the canonical library for circuit board design that every hardware designer will use. By providing ready-to-use building blocks for design, our library shaves days off product development time, allowing designers to focus on optimization and innovation. Tens of thousands of engineers worldwide rely on SnapEDA to design faster, whether they’re making smartwatches, drones, or robots.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

As an Electrical Engineer who wanted this product to exist, Natasha Baker (founder) decided to delve deeply into learning software a few years after graduating to get it off the ground. Once she did that, she recruited other engineers and computer scientists to take it to the next level. Team is now consist of 6 electrical engineers and a designer.

How are you being financed?

The company was initially self-funded, but we have since raised funding from investors.

Natasha Baker and SnapEDA team

Who is your biggest competition?

Our biggest competitor in “not invented here syndrome”. Traditionally designers have made their own digital content for circuit board design, right down to the generic bits and pieces. The hardware world has not yet embraced the modular, open source approach that software development has. And for good reason — unlike software, circuit boards exist is the real world, which makes errors very costly and time-consuming to resolve. However, once designers use SnapEDA and see its unique approach to verification, they don’t switch back to their old ways of doing things.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

With this project being Natasha Baker’s first startup, she has learned that startups have a lot of ups and downs. Think of it like a sine wave. Learn methods of bouncing back into the positive and you’ll be unstoppable!

Startup moved from Toronto to San Francisco

You were based in Toronto before but now you have moved to San Francisco – why is that? 

The company was started in Toronto. Both Natasha Baker and our product manager Mike Tang graduated from the University of Toronto from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) program. In the early days, the strategy was to recruit interns from local schools, including the Computer Science program at U of T, Computer Engineering at Waterloo and several designers from the New Media joint program between Centennial College and the University of Toronto. These students helped us bring things to life on a lean budget, and learned a ton in the process. To this day, we still consider them a part of our team, even if they have gone off to work on their own projects or in completely different industries.

Once we got into Y Combinator, we moved the company to the Bay Area for now because this is where a lot of semiconductor and electronic design software companies are based.

Website: www.snapeda.com