To find out how the Internet of Things, crowdfunding and green energy can be brought together into a single device, we’ve spoken with Ksenia Vinogradova, CEO and co-founder of Flipflic. These aspects will also shape the future of tech, and will hopefully fill a larger part of our lives.
Beaglecat: Could you please tell us something about yourself, the company you run, and the reasons you love the Internet of Things?
Ksenia Vinogradova: I have been in Business Development managing people, money, and even chaos for more than 6 years. I have always loved the latest technology and as every woman, I admire automation if it can save me time or money. Now I am the CEO and Founder of a hardware startup working on a new smart home device – FlipFlic.
FlipFlic is a small gadget that clips on magnets to your existing window blinds. It is fitted with a motor, sensors, and runs on smart algorithms to control your blinds according to changes in temperature and time of the day.
BC: Since you’re not at your first crowdfunding experience, how great of an impact do you think this way of raising funds will have on the future of technology?
KV: Crowdfunding has evolved a lot since our first attempt in 2014. Now you have plenty of services, tools specifically designed for crowdfunding. Alongside with it you meet higher competition, and you need funding BEFORE crowdfunding as backers want to see HQ video, pre-manufacture prototypes and a solid team behind the product desirably working on the project full-time for a couple of years. Many backers got burnt on late delays, and now are experienced investors with higher requirements.
The core meaning of crowdfunding still remains: people basically vote with their money to decide if the product shall come to life or not. There is a boom of makers now because it takes less money and time to prototype any new object, and crowdfunding has played its role bringing those prototypes to market, so it is a closed loop now. In case of technology and hardware projects crowdfunding is being used as market validation and traction to attract further venture funding. As I see it, crowdfunding is no longer a place to fund the idea at the “garage” stage. It makes a good blend with other funding sources and now is nearly required step for a hardware startup seeking funding.
BC: Are there any downsides to surrounding ourselves with connected devices? Doesn’t minimizing human effort pose a danger at some point?
KV: Security and safe authorization questions are widely discussed on all IoT events and conferences. One should be realizing that connected home appliances and connected devices/cars/locks/cameras are as secure as your computer surfing the Internet, meaning “secure but hackable.” I envisage viruses and antiviruses for refrigerators 🙂 It is a normal process of technology coming to our lives. We will always meet some opposition but the driving pro- factors will always be saving of time and money, increased control and comfort.
BC: FlipFlic is a solar-powered gadget, and that’s one of the reasons it requires no maintenance. Do you secretly hope everything will run on green energy in the near future?
KV: Yes, I do. I am a big fan of green tech. And alternative energy is becoming widely available at affordable price. Let’s take solar panels – they decreased in cost and increased efficiency over the last 5 years. Five years ago FlipFlic was not possible and today we can include solar into the price.
BC: What do you think the world will look like in 2030, tech-wise?
KV: All window coverings will be automated! 🙂 Apart from connected everything we’ll be using virtual reality in our everyday life, education, medicine. Also I’m looking forward to my weekend space travels.
Ksenia Vinogradova is a Business Developer, CEO and co-founder of FlipFlic, a hardware startup that creates responsive natural daylighting solutions.