December 1, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?