Andy Mack and Ion Smith won the IOT/Smart home award as part of the Great British Technology Entrepreneur Awards. So, what’s special about their company, Cyberhomes?
Drill down and view Cyberhomes at its core level, and it integrates technology into single, easy-to-use control interfaces. That is to say, it integrates technology to make the home smart – and “we hope to hit the mass market,” Andy Mack told me.
At the moment, it’s the affluent end of the market. But, just as Bill Gates once said his dream was for there to be a computer on every desk – like that will ever happen – Andy Mack told me his dream is for there to be a smart home in every property.
When Andy and Ion started, their first project was for £25,000. That was a big deal. But they worked their way up from there, to a £100,000 project and now they are taking on a £650,000 project
“We don’t manufacture,” said Andy “and that means when you are taking on projects of that size you have to do your research, a lot of it, make sure you are totally confident with the products you use.”
But then Andy says he has passion for this. He used to work for the BBC and that taught him to be exacting, to apply high standards in everything he did.
He said that Cyberhomes has a portfolio of amazing products, but you have to invest in the future, and as tech changes, you need to be bang on the mark. “You have to be 100 per cent confident in the technology, as our customers depend on it.”
But it’s the dream that makes Cyberhomes especially interesting, they want to hit the mass market. And if they manage that, and bring smart home technology to everyone – or a least a lot of people.
Another interesting side to this business is that it is self-funded. Not for Andy and Ion hawking business plans around venture capital firms or business angels. They started small, and expanded organically; investing profits back into the business.
“We started in a garage in Oxford, within two years Boris Johnson opened our first showroom,” said Andy.
“Which entrepreneur, living or dead, does Andy most admire? I asked. “Steve Jobs”, he replied “as he started in a garage too.”
So, that was smart use of a garage by Jobs, and now smart phones in millions of pockets, how long before what started as smart work in a garage gives us millions of smart homes?