Startup Spotlight: BluCloud
Startup Spotlight: BluCloud
Meet Daniel MCCormack – CEO – and Michael Morscher – Director of Operations of BluCloud, an IIoT startup with the mission of connecting stakeholders to their data.
GH: What is BluCloud?
BluCloud is an IIoT startup with the mission of connecting stakeholders to their data. Too often, expensive sensing equipment is deployed just to store data locally on the device, and someone needs to physically visit each sensor and manually aggregate and analyze the data. We eliminate the barriers to access regardless of the deployment size and location through our seamlessly integrated core hardware line of real-time remote data loggers and the BluBase cloud platform. In doing so, data access, analysis, and visualization become instant and effortless.
GH: What was your Eureka moment: how did BluCloud get started?
BluCloud started off producing sensor packages for agriculture and water quality projects after developing hardware around the concept of “modular technology” without a particular product in mind. As we were working with our partner environmental organizations, we realized that it wasn’t sensing instruments that the industry was missing, but a scalable and affordable solution to remotely access and act on sensor data. This inspired us to develop the first iteration of our cellular gateway devices, which streamed data in real time to a cloud database. Since then, we have expanded the capabilities of our hardware to operate over a variety of communication protocols and power sources to fit the needs of any deployment environment. And, we also developed our in-house cloud platform to offer more powerful analysis functionality that brings value to our industrial customers.
GH: How did you build your team?
We have a streamlined team of individuals who are highly skilled in multiple functional areas. This allows us to have a hardware engineer who also takes sales calls and contributes to the software for our cloud platform. Having our team members involved in multiple areas of the company allows us to internally coordinate seamlessly and be completely knowledgeable when taking on any role of external interaction. As we’ve grown our team, we have sought out people able to handle and thrive in this dynamic, and it has made us successful in growing the business even faster than we grow our team.
Daniel McCormack, CEO and Director of Engineering
Michael Morscher, Director of Operations
GH: What is your company philosophy driving your company culture?
The core values we operate on are durability, scalability, affordability, and accessibility. We know that these traits are paramount for any industrial solution to succeed in delivering insight and value to our customers.
GH: Startup life is full of failures and ‘make it work’ moments – can you identify how you bounced back from one of yours?
Our first gateway prototype, deployed outdoors on a proof-of-concept pilot, suddenly stopped streaming data during a torrential rain storm. This required an emergency site visit to troubleshoot and restore connectivity. We were glad to discover the weather hadn’t affected the gateway and wasn’t the problem, and made a configuration change which permanently resolved the issue.
GH: What did you learn from your first customers?
The needs of our first customers validated our design approach of making hardware and software adaptable to complex and changing use cases, and we have stuck with that approach since.
GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?
Boston has a great community of tech events and meetups, which bring together entrepreneurs, investors, industry experts, and everyone in between. For example, we just recently presented the BluCloud stack to Boston New Technology and got great feedback from the connections we made. Boston is also an environment very supportive and excited about technology ventures, which has definitely contributed to our growth and success.
We’re also very fortunate that Boston offers access to the industries our products cater to — water quality sensing agencies, infrastructure monitoring organizations, industrial process firms, and even agricultural groups are all within easy reach.
GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?
In reality, not much — Boston is probably second only to Silicon Valley in terms of high technology development and entrepreneurship. One thing we’ve noticed is that a lot of public organizations have been slow to modernize outdated systems and processes, but this is a trend that can be seen in many medium-sized cities today. It’s a phenomenon that results from having neither the flexibility of small cities nor the resources of large cities. The flipside of this is that many opportunities exist to help improve the technology that provides insight to the community, but it has taken a great investment of time and effort to get things moving.
GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?
The best piece of advice we’ve received was to develop an industry focus, even if our product is designed with universal adaptability in mind. This has allowed us to consider the particular needs of our target sectors (environmental, urban, industrial) when designing the product, and also helps us explain the purpose of our hardware and software by using tangible, real world examples.
In terms of bad advice, early on we were encouraged to apply our emerging hardware designs and communications technology to the development of products in the consumer space, such as modular tablets. We’re very glad that we ended up in the B2B-oriented direction and have been able to specialize on an IoT product stack with a patently flourishing industrial market.
GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?
In the last year, we have developed our BluBase cloud data platform and launched large-scale deployments with clients in the environmental and infrastructure sectors that have gone off without a hitch. One was a six-month pilot which demonstrated the extended battery life of our gateways and the ability to reliably transmit data from wells under the sidewalks of Boston, which was a resoundingly successful proof-of-concept of our entire system.
GH: What does the future hold for BluCloud?
We’re looking to focus development efforts on our software platform now that our hardware has been tried and proven in a full range of operating conditions. We’ll be adding even more integrations and features to help our clients gain even deeper insight into their critical processes.
In terms of our IoT systems, we’ll be deploying with a number of environmental organizations and industrial firms throughout this year and have more in our pipeline. Stay tuned at twitter.com/blucloudtech!
Learn more about BluCloud!