Category Archives: gadgets and IOT

2015 – The Future is Here

I woke up this morning with the thought “I can’t believe its 2015!”, but truthfully I can and I’m actually super excited about the year to come. In many ways, I feel like the future is here, now. We are always in a state of evolution, improvement, optimization, etc. with technology, but 2015 feels like its going to be like a tipping point.

On the personal front I’m committed to getting my body and heath put back together. My recovery from the back surgery almost two years ago is in a good place and I’m able to ride a little, swim and lift again. However I’ve put on almost 15 lbs since my bike racing days so I’ve got real work to do. I’m fired up about it though, and you can bet that technology will help keep me focused on my goals. I’m using LoseIt, Withings scale, my Garmin & Strava for starters.

On the work front I couldn’t be more excited about where we are taking Techstars next. Our recent announcements around the new Mobility Accelerator in Detroit and the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars are super forward-leaning programs that aim to bring tomorrow’s tech into the hands of consumers and businesses today.  These two markets, Mobility and Robotics specifically, are places where innovation means better safety, utility and environmental responsibility.  Its going to be a big year and I can’t wait to see what the companies come up with!

When I think about the state of the art in terms of IoT, home intelligence, and just sheer cool-factor, its hard to believe where we are when you stop and think about it. A few years ago when things like Nest and Dropcam were just hitting the mainstream we knew it was all coming, but its happened fast.  Sure, we don’t have jetpacks, hyperloop, and sadly there is no light rail between Boulder and DIA yet (cough, cough), but a 3.2 second electric sedan, AI for drones, touch-surface headphones, smart HVAC vents, smart sensors for your home and the like all tell me we are hitting a tipping point where the groundwork laid over the last few years in these areas of tech-driven efficiencies are going to reach a point where we really see the benefits as consumers. In fact, you don’t have to look much further than our holiday gift guide to see some really cool innovations that are hitting the market.

What’s also got me inspired is that I’m going to CES for the 1st time next week. I’ve always wanted to go and am excited to check it out, although I know its crazy and exhausting.  A good number of Techstars companies will be there, and I’m speaking on a panel on Wednesday about raising capital for your company, alongside some great folks from Qualcomm Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Silicon Valley Bank.

Bring on 2015! Perhaps I’ll get that jetpack after all.

Water leaks suck (and how to save yourself with Notion)…

When the floods came through Boulder in 2013, we were incredibly lucky to have avoided any major flooding.  We had some water seeping in through the foundation and some panic set in as it filled the mechanical room, but we pretty much dodged the bullet compared to the major issues so many of our friends experienced.

Our “flood” happened almost a year later, and sadly could have been avoided if we had a water detection system in place. We were in the mountains for the 4th of July and came back to find our dining room chandelier dripping water like a hose that wasn’t fully turned off. Turns out we had a toilet tank on the 2nd floor crack while we were away and it had spent the better part of the week leaking water. The leak managed to get through the bathroom floor, to the dining room ceiling, and then through the hardwood floors below.

So, in came ServPro with their huge fans and dehumidifiers (note: the house was now a balmy 90 degrees inside) to dry us out. We just, (yes…just in the two weeks) had the floors redone, but there is still painting and woodwork to be completed. Pretty sure it will be October before we’ve fully recovered.

What really frustrated me was knowing that the damage could have been caught much earlier and probably avoided if we had a good detection system in place. Turns out, there is a Techstars Boulder company called Notion working on this very problem. Too bad I didn’t have one of their prototype systems running. They are just about to bring their home intelligence system to market, which, of course can detect water leaks and send you real-time notifications. It also can detect movement, smoke, heat, and noise. Thus, I’m pretty anxious to get my hands on a Notion bundle and deploy these little sentinels.  I just backed their Kickstarter campaign so I could get the system a bit early.

FWIW, I had looked at some of the other systems out there but never pulled the trigger. The cost or the size of the sensors was a huge turnoff in this category.  I’ve got Nest, Protect, Revolv, Hue, and Dropcam so I’m loving all of the automation and convenience coming with these IoT devices.  However, one thing I’ve really noticed is that UI/UX really matter and that the system has to be truly smart. The Notion system will not just say “alert” in some room, but actually tell you what is going on (movement, water, temp, etc) so you know what you are dealing with. I think installing something like is going to be come pretty standard. Would be smart for insurance companies to offer discounts if you’ve got an early detection system in place like this, similar to what the do for home alarms.

So Notion, I’m a backer – now HURRY UP AND SHIP!