hutgrip

Just made it to GIGTANK!!!

Well, HUTGRIP made it to the awesome GigTank! I’m Bobi and I just arrived yesterday here in Chattanooga, TN. The place looks amazing, the Co.Lab is a very exciting and creative open space.
Well, I made it, but my bag didn’t, so I’m waiting for it now. The people are great and very welcoming. Everybody is excited about the summer long program, which starts officially on Monday.

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So… wait, what is GIGTANK?

GigTank is the world’s only accelerator on a living fiber network. It’s based in the Gig City - Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is absolutely living in the future. The city’s 170,000 businesses and homes are connected to one another by a $300 million, one-gigabit fiber infrastructure. It’s the smartest and fastest grid in the Western Hemisphere.

HUTGRIP is one of the startups that got selected to participate in the program. Other than the actual startups there are many amazing specialists and mentors coming here for the Summer.

The place is great for HutGrip as we’re very much depending on the super-fast and reliable internet infrastructure. Well, the whole Internet Of Things domain heavily relies on the Internet and of course on a bunch of other stuff. There has been a lot lately on the MQTT messaging protocol. Here is a nice piece telling the story of how it came to be: "REST is for sleeping. MQTT is for mobile". Other than this we have all these hardware components that are doing very good on Kickstarter. Hopefully they will streamline the adoption of all these new technologies and protocols. Check out for example the Arduino compatible Spark Core, they’ve made about $250 000 and they have just started their campaign. In HutGrip we’re looking more into the Software that would help people deal with all the data that is soon going to be available. The onegigabit fiber infrastructure is already setting the scene for so many new applications of these kind! Check out what’s coming next week:

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If you’re around, do come and say Hi!

It's all part of the game

Springboard - a very cool program for startups in the UK. I finally have some time to share our experience with it!

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First, I’ve been recently working on an Internet of Things project called Hutgrip. In one sentence hutgrip is about having total control over every device you own! Springboard was a perfect fit in my mind and for the first time in Europe they announced that they’re going to do an IoT Accelerator! 
(Take a deep breath!) Only IoT Projects! That’s amazing! It truly shows that there is a lot of interest in the field these days. The guys at Springboard totally did a great job at creating this program. They have amazing partners and mentors that are already doing great work in the field. We can all learn a lot from companies like Cosm, Evrythng, BoschRaspberry Pi and many others. This is actually the best part of the program - the mentors.

How did it go?

As I said above hutgrip was one of the finalists in the selectrion process. The final interviews were in London, a few weeks ago - among the top 20 companies from all the applicants. The program itself starts in Cambridge this March. Before the final meeting with their partners and investors we had 3 online calls with their team. We talked a lot about:

  • Where we are in the development process?
  • How are we going to take the product to the market?
  • What do we expect to get from the program after the acceleration period?
  • What the user experience would be?

So make sure to figure these out before applying and putting a lot of time in applications and calls and meetings, etc.

Wait, you know what the best part was?

We submitted our application by the end of 2012 and by the time we got to the interviews we kind of tweaked our business model. One does not simply change the idea after starting to talk to investors about it! You can only get them confused and … it’s over with you. Well after all we decided to be honest to ourselves and do what’s best for the project.
During that first month of 2013 we were actively working on validating what works and what doesn’t. Then more or less, it became clear to us that maybe going after mass market right from the start would be not only hard but maybe even the end for a small startup company. Surely there is no easy way to compete with the giants in the market today - companies like Bosch, Philips, etc. So we figured out that there is a much better opportunity in working with small and medium businesses that can use our platform to improve their workflows.

So hutgrip switched a little bit to building the platform that would help people by bringing smart connectivity to their old devices. We did this project with a small factory, where the people are producing machines used for melting metals. So using our platform we can help them automatically get remote control and monitoring of their machines. as well was notifications - like alerts that the worker would get in his or hers email when something happens with the machine or when an event is scheduled to happen.

This is very very different from the way we started when we were targeting the residential market. So lesson learned - before you rush into any accelerator program, be honest with yourself that you have truely researched all the options, all the possibilities and you are absolutely sure in every sentence you put in that application!

We’re still going to make this project open for the DIY community and everybody who has access to a controller like the Raspberry Pi would soon be able to try out the platform just from the website. 

So that’s from hutgrip - imagine IFTTT for the hardware devices around you, or LEGO for your gadgets and online services…. that’s what makes us get up in the morning! 

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We are happy to share with you that HutGrip qualified for the European semi-finals for a featured competition by the Global Entrepreneurship Week organization – Get In The Ring.

Over 1000 startups joined Get in the Ring worldwide through the national selection rounds in the participating countries. We were selected from more than 40 entries in Bulgaria to be one of the six teams competing in the national finals. For the finals, we prepared a 5 minutes pitch highlighting the development of our product, ongoing project and future plans. We had so much material to emphasize on, so many great people we worked with and projects we wanted to mention that we had to work hard to fit within the time limits. On the evening of the finals, we pitched together with some amazing projects in front of an international jury.

At the end, the judges announced their decision and … (drum roll) … HutGrip was announced as “one of the two best overall business concepts in Bulgaria during the national rounds of Get In the Ring” and as one of the two teams to represent Bulgaria in the next round of the competition: the international clash. We were also awarded plane tickets and passes for the final event of the competition that is the featured event to close the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Rotterdam. Last year, at the same event there were 800 people participating with more than 200 investors among them. Rotterdam, get a grip! HutGrip is coming!

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GigTank Impressions Day #1: 85 days until Demo Day!

We need connectivity, right? Maybe we even take it for granted, especially here, in the developed world. However when you look into the industry, things are different. Think about the manufacturing industries, things are not moving so fast there. Very often people don’t understand what possibilities can this connectivity bring for them and their business. Of course there are automation systems like Samsung and IBM that are helping large enterprises take the most of their data. However that process is old, it’s not easy to modify in real time, we need a more agile way to do it. Moreover, very often small and medium size businesses can’t afford such a platform. 

This is why we developed a platform to help people optimize processes and we’re excited to be part of GigTank!