Why don't we start by briefly describing your company's intelligent doorbell?
Chui’s first product is an intelligent doorbell that uses a blend of facial recognition and proprietary technology capable of learning with time to make our homes safer, and our experiences with connected devices seamless; Chui does more than enable a house that is smart – it shapes a home that is you.
How did you happen to come up with the idea for the business?
I had just left my corporate job in Chicago and booked a one way ticket to Casablanca Morocco which is where my CTO is from. We were catching up and reliving memories from college as well as digging into sites like Kickstarter to generate ideas. The more we talked about trends in the home we realized that everyone was innovating the inside of the home and making it smart but no one was changing the gateway or the portal to the connected home. We saw an opportunity to not only connect the front of your home but to make it intelligent to the point of recognizing visitors/yourself and acting based on identity.
Who do you consider your direct competitors?
Ring and Skybell are competing with us in the Smart Doorbell space. Ring has done an incredible job getting out there in front of the mass market and showing the world why its important to adopt technologies like these. They have inadvertently helped us do our market research although we have a slightly different approach as we are focusing more on intelligence by using biometrics (Facial Recognition) as a means for customization and access control.
When do you expect to generate income?
We have been taking pre-orders since last year and intend to fulfill those shipments early in 2016.
Did you get any venture capital to begin with or are you self funded?
We started as self funded and raised a small round of angel financing after completion of Boomtown Boulder Accelerator.
How long have you been in business and where are you located?
We started engineering the product in March of 2014 in Boulder Colorado and have since relocated to Dallas, Texas.
How many employees do you have and do you use virtual assistants?
There are 5 of us and we do not use virtual assistants.
I'm driven by a love for exploration and innovation. This has led me to be the Co-Founder and CEO of Chui, an intelligent device that uses facial recognition, machine learning, AI and other computer vision technologies. Chui has customers in over 30 countries and has been featured in TechCrunch, Forbes, CBS, WSJ and a few others.
I played Division 1 football at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and graduated with honors with a degree in Finance and a specialization in Alternative Asset Management. My journey to create Chui began three years ago, leaving Merrill Lynch Private Wealth in Chicago and booking a one-way ticket to Casablanca, Morocco to pursue my entrepreneurial vision: make technology accessible, personal, and trustworthy.
Prior to Chui, I worked on a startup in the mobile application industry. I've been fortunate to have lived on three continents and regularly participate in international communities for the advancement of global entrepreneurship. I've continued to share my story and vision through speaking at several events across the world from San Francisco to Barcelona.
What are your plans for the future of the company? Any new products on the horizon?
We have some exciting announcements in due time (I can't give those away yet!). We feel that our technology will create an environment that is as seamless as walking through a door. We firmly believe that biometrics is the future of authentication and authorization and with a product like Chui we are one step closer to breaching the nexus of convenience and security.
What do you consider your biggest challenges as a startup?
Attracting top talent to leave their comfortable job to come help disrupt an industry or thought process. As a startup there is no class you can take or book you can read that will give you the answers to your problems. You have to learn by doing and by making mistakes and by surrounding yourself with people who have been in your shoes before.
What one or two pieces of advice would you give someone who is developing a startup?
Listen, listen, listen! Listen to you customers, your backers, your investors, your friends and family. Aggregate everything people have told you and make your own decision based on all of the available information. At the end of the day you are writing your own story so make intelligent quick decisions that get you from point A to point B and if it was the wrong decision learn to never make that mistake again. Entrepreneurship is very much about continuing education and the best resource that we as entrepreneurs have is the available knowledge on the internet, in books and through relationships.
Where can people go to get more info on your product?
Thanks very much for your time.