Alice Nell
December 1, 2015

Meet Cory James Hohs, CEO of Haas

Cory James Hohs is a great example of a proactive go-getter who left his day job at Nokia to start his own company: a multidisciplinary design consultancy on mobile app development & branding. At first, the company only focused on mobile apps, but eventually it also starting developing IoT connected hardware. In January 2015, Cory took part in our Introduction to Arduino workshop in order to develop HAAS, a device that knows when and from where emergency vehicles are approaching. Last May, HAAS was selected for a presentation at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna. It also was selected as a finalist for TechWeek, both in Chicago and Detroit.

How did you come up with the idea for HAAS?

My team and I wanted to make a connected IoT device for detecting emergency vehicles. We got the idea because I was almost killed by an ambulance while driving my motorcycle. We decided to go fully dedicated to and it became its own independent company HAAS.

When you took part in the Arduino Workshop at betahaus, did you already have the idea to start your own agency?

I already had the concept in the works - Janitor had a portfolio, a few clients, and an expanding team. I wanted to prototype a new product called HAAS, and TomorrowLab told me, "Well, you can make the prototype yourself if you know Arduino...". So I took the course.

 

hass

What is your greater vision behind everything?

For HAAS, we have a consumer device plan, but the long-term vision is to license our technology in connected motorcycle helmets, connected bicycle helmets, the autonomous driving/connected car, and even noise-canceling headphones. We recently took part in a technology accelerator in Michigan that focused on automotive. We came away with a strategic partnership with Faurecia - a Tier 1 automotive supplier. We are currently looking for funding to get us to the next round of our product.

When you compare Berlin to the US, what difference hits you first?

Back in the States, it's more common than not that people aren't really looking to help you unless you walk in with a promise of a "Unicorn" company or millions in funding already. In Berlin, I would simply ask people about anything I was interested in, whether it was about tech, a place to eat, where to see good art, and so on. And I would always get plenty of recommendations - even with my limited German skills. Starting a company, especially in technology, you need that open mindset from peers and leaders to help guide you - in my experience, Berlin has a much more open and cooperative sharing of ideas and skills than the majority of places back home.

What do you like about betahaus?

I love that the courses are for all levels, so if someone was a beginner in a course, those who were more advanced would always help the others. Plus, it wasn't a "I need to guard my project" vibe – it was much more of an inviting and open-learning atmosphere than what I've experienced elsewhere.

What’s your favourite Startup at the moment?

That's a tough question. I know it's cheating since it's not really a "startup", but I'd have to say Skully. I want that motorcycle helmet so bad! There's also a similar technology for snowboarding where you have an insert in your goggles that opens up displays for listening to music, seeing data about other friends, etc. I tried it once and I had to have it.

 

Check out www.haasalert.com to preorder HAAS and to find out what they've been up to lately. Click here if you want to become part of the betahaus community?

Well, both. Currently we offer the following two options: shorter publicly available Brand Playlists and long-form private Soundtracks for spaces. For both of them we work closely with the client to understand how sound fits into their brand DNA and what their audience is like.

We believe that the guests’ experience with a particular space doesn’t have to begin and end with their stay. The idea of the Brand Playlist is to be a public brand playlists designed to engage the customers before, during, and after their visit at a space. It’s always accessible for them and serves as a new, dynamic marketing channel.

The Soundtrack is slightly different. It takes sometimes up to weeks of work and is designed by a world-class artist, DJ, or tastemaker. For it we first work with you to develop a deep understanding of your business and style. Then we match you with the perfect artist, DJ, or tastemaker to create unique, always fresh playlists, custom tailored to match your brand. 

In both cases, we update them regularly based on guest habits and clients’ needs. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



The way we engage with the music community is something really important for us and honestly, what makes us different than other background music providers. A lot of the background music providers out there have internal teams of maybe five or six DJs that do all of the music for their clients. We aim to connect with the local scene and always work with local DJs. There's some kind of magic in finding the exact right artists for the brand.

And on the flip side of it, when we hire artists, we make sure that the project is also inspiring for them and that they would be interested in participating. We always make sure to pay them well. The whole project creates for them a new income stream that they wouldn't have otherwise.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

Yes! This was really fun. The objective with the betahaus "betabeer sounds" playlist was to showcase the community side of betahaus. There are so many cool, interesting people in the betahaus community and we thought a playlist could be a perfect way to not only help bring the community together but also show the diverse funkiness of the communities of Berlin and Neukölln, which is why Hazy Pockets, a longtime local Berlin DJ known for his eclectic mixes, was perfect for this project.

This playlist moves from bluesy 60s rock into surf and tropicalia, picking up momentum into Motown and onwards through some laid back disco tunes. Perfect for the betabeer events betahaus hosts monthly!


YOU’RE CURRENTLY ENJOYING THE SUN FAR FROM BERLIN. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES in berlin that YOU MISS THE MOST?

Oh, there are just so many! Like the Imren Grill for instance where you can find the best homemade Turkish food or Das Gift and Gordon which are both run by great music people. Kohelenquelle in Prenzleuer Berg is my favorite local bar (or rather kneipe). To satisfy my  techno / electronic records needs I always go to Hard Wax and one of my most special places is the Zions Kirche steeple, which has an awesome view of the city and a great Weinerei close by. 


You can see me around betahaus. Online, you can always check out my website and listen to our public playlists on Spotify. We’re also currently working on a collaboration with betahaus, so a special Playlist curated by is will very soon sound around the spaces in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. 

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