Connecting devices is becoming easier and cheaper, enabling the development of a new frontier in technology — the Internet of Things. Tech titans like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are already in the wearable game and new ways to bring WiFi capability to objects are materializing all the time.
Crowsnest Labs, a startup that originally emerged out of Syracuse, has developed a software platform to capitalize on this movement. Specifically, Crowsnest’s software allows users to send and receive data between devices in the cloud — everything from home appliances to cameras — and provide real-time diagnostics for each device.
“Our core mission has been to build great tools that can support and accelerate the creation of connected products, ” co-founder Michael Kruk said.
Kruk and co-founder Ian Wilson began their startup journey in July 2013 after creating an API for security cameras. The following year they brought on engineer Joshua Sorenson as CTO. Crowsnest then joined the Startup Labs accelerator in Syracuse and eventually left New York to join the Techstars 2014 class in Seattle.
“We’ve only spent a half day in the Seattle program so far, but already, it is clear how much this next step is going to benefit our company, ” they wrote on their blog at the outset of the program. “We are surrounded by new mentors and fellow entrepreneurs, and we are excited to take this journey together over the next three months.”
We caught up with Kruk and Wilson for this installment of Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Instant crash reports for internet-connected products.”
Inspiration hit us when: “In the summer of 2013, Mike had an idea where he wanted to put a camera on the collar of his roommates’ cat. We started playing around with different internet-connected cameras, and in the process of prototyping this, realized that there were a handful of tools we were used to having as web and mobile engineers that just didn’t exist for the Internet of Things. Since then, our core mission has been to build great tools that can support and accelerate the creation of connected products. We’ve been through a few different iterations of tools in this space over the past year, always honing around this mission.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Techstars Seattle 2014.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our team, and more importantly, the natural balance of our personalities and skills. The three of us blend years of engineering skills, startup experience, and a passion for the “Internet of Things.” We each bring different priorities and approaches to the company, and this helps us move fast without ever feeling out of control or at a loss for perspective.”