Be persistent on your goal and realistic about how much you can deliver.

Meet Moodnode at the startupnight in berlin

Please introduce yourself and your Start-up Moodnode to our readers!
Hi, I’m Michal. I’m a technology passionate working on a hardware, software and business development. Two years ago together with my friend Małgorzata – a former architect, currently delivering industrial, user experience and brand design for our project, we’ve founded Moodnode.

How did you get the idea to your startup?
It was back in 2014, my friend Mark just installed Philips Hue in his apartment. The idea of an easy retrofit home automation seemed appealing, but then Mark complained that as soon as he flips the switch on the wall, the Hue becomes unresponsive. That sparked the idea of putting the control into the switch, which is far better than having it within the light-bulb. Soon, I’ve learned there are several products that address that need, but they are all designed for the North American electrical/mechanical standard, and I was unable to find one available in Europe. The idea was simple – we do enable european users with the simple home automation light solution. It looked like a clear show.

Why did you decide to start a business?
First, we could clearly see the market opportunity as the new IoT trend in home automation was at the moment in picking up. Secondly, we were very inspired by the maker’s movement and the fact that in the second decade of our century, producing physical products is easier than ever before, and even such a small team as ours can make an impact. Lastly, we both felt we need to shift to a new challenge in our lives.

How does your company has developed since it was founded?
I created a proof of concept on the desk of my hotel room. It was big as shoe box, but it was doing the job. I used this prototype to attract Margaret and ask her to prepare enclosure design. Similar to the most startups we were working during the weekends and in the evenings. We first focused on creating the prototype – something we could show to our potential consumers and gather feedback. This took a long time – in May 2015, we still had no complete product. We quit our daily jobs and fully focused on Moodnode – I think we had simply realized that in a part-time mode, we would get nowhere. That worked very well! In September 2015, we had our MVP ready. We presented it during the Demo Day of HugeThing [pre accelerator] and allowed first people to interact with our product. I remember clearly the first person approaching our shiny, glass-covered-touch-sensitive-state-of-the-art device. That person was clueless on how to operate it. I reacted as every creator would react in this situation – I blamed the user! After that, there were twenty, maybe more, people that had exactly the same problem. We couldn’t deny the truth any longer: our user interface sucked. It’s hard to explain how devastating it was to our morale. We quickly got back on track and in February, we had our second improved version of the device. We have had run the second validation round, and then we knew our product was already marketable. Having our prototype and a complete business plan, we went on a hunt for an investor that would help us to bring the product to the market. It was tougher than we assumed. There are not that many investors feeling comfortable with investing in hardware. Moreover, most of them want to see that the company can generate revenue. It’s a kind of the chicken-egg problem: you can’t market the device without external financial support, but you also can’t get a financial support without marketing the device. Our runaway was ending with the last day of June, and we were hopeless – true startup near death experience. We had our last shot: the Startupbootcamp Istanbul selection days. It was an unbelievable event. Enough to say, I had one-on-one sessions with fifty mentors in two days. Exactly on 30th of June we were accepted to the program – it’s hard to imagine a better timing. Our runaway got extended and since then, we have been working closely with the fabulous team in Turkey and are looking forward to launching our product in the last quarter of this year.

What was the biggest challenge in starting your business?
For me personally, it was a mind shift from a mature corporate structure to a startup organization. I was always good at strategy and planning, but usually, I had a team that would execute it. As a person keeping an eye on the execution, you are more interrupt driven and act when things yaw from the original plan. With a startup, on the other hand, absolutely nothing happens unless you make it happen.

What is the USP of your Start-up?
We want to provide smarter home experience to people who will enjoy everything from setting up the light moods with one touch through automatic ambient tracking finishing on integrating it into the universe of IoT devices (Amazon Echo, SmartThings or Hue). The Moodnode is simple to install and does not need a hub or rewiring of installation. Just remove your old switch and replace it with our device, connect it to your WiFi and you’re all set.

Who is the target audience of Moodnode?
We are focusing on the people who love new technologies and gadgets. In particular, people with a software development background proven to be great people to interact with. They are very problem-solution driven and provide great insights on what they like/dislike about the product and usually, they also have ideas on how to improve it. At an early stage of adoption, you cannot dream of a better audience than that.

Why do you apply for the Long Night of startups in Berlin?
It looks like a great place to showcase our product, and it is happening at the same time as IFA, which is at the end the largest consumer electronic show in this part of the world.

You are one of few startup companies of the Long Night of Startups. How motivating is it for you and what do you expect from the event?
We are motivated by being chosen from a big group of startups that applied; it is definitely a recognition of our efforts, and it reminds us we are on the right path.

How important is this step for you? From the aspect that by many prospective clients and media attention to you?
We find it extremely valuable. We are trying to join at least one event every quarter. We would love to make it more often, as we are always getting back with something valuable: a customer, a partner or a supplier,

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Five years predications for a company that is working in a fast-pace changing environment is quite in the air, however we are having ambitions of turning Moodnode into a global brand.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Be persistent on your goal and realistic about how much you can deliver. Assume that you are alone on your path and build as little expectations of others as you can. Always have a plan B.

More information you will find here

Thank you Michal Rogowski for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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