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|Articles - January 2014|
|Monday, December 09, 2013|
BY LINDA BAKER
Surj Patel has made a career out of bringing people, places and things online. Born in Kenya and raised in England, Patel helped launch the BBC’s first website in 1994. As a grad student at MIT’s Media Lab, he experimented with hooking up physical objects to the Internet. “What happens? You can tell the temperature in Spain; watch a coffee pot in Cambridge.” Now Patel, 43, is applying his engineering prowess to Smart Mocha, a startup that aims to “democratize” the fast-growing field of machine-to-machine technology. Existing “M2M” solutions — in which objects are embedded with sensors, then linked online for remote communications — typically require multiple purchases and integration services from different vendors. Smart Mocha rolls these complicated and costly processes into a package deal: Customers merely affix sensors and a base station, then pick up the data on a secured website, all for one monthly fee. “Companies don’t want to manage a huge chain of infrastructure,” says Patel. “We take the pain out of it.” Patel and his two co-founders are finishing up pilot projects in different industry sectors, including vineyards, where sensors monitor water conditions, and grocery store HVAC systems. The team is also seeking a $1 million angel round. “It’s very hard; we’re web guys going into the industrial market. That’s stodgy, not sexy.” But Patel is confident Smart Mocha is riding the wave of the next web revolution: Creating sensor networks for industry is a $200 billion global market, he says. Even that is the tip of the iceberg. “The ‘Internet of things’ drops the power of data gathering to nothing. We’re interested in interpreting that data. There will be an ecosystem coming.”
Company: Smart Mocha
Product: Sensor networks
CEO: Surj Patel
Origin story: Co-founder Steve Osborn came up with the company name after his wife handed him a mocha: a “satisfying blend of ingredients” — just like the product was supposed to be, Patel recounts. The original name was Glados, “an overbearing, artificial intelligence overlord that enslaved humans from a sci-fi novel. But we dropped that. I felt it was not a good brand transfer for what we wanted to do.”
Open source: “Around Christmas last year, I organized a Meetup group called ‘Thing Tuesday.’ This one gets regularly over 80 people. Some were able to feed back on ideas as we modulated them. One sits on our customer advisory panel. So we are very grateful to the community in shaping our company.”
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Oregon Business magazine has named the seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon. The rankings were revealed Wednesday night during an awards dinner at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland.
Friday, November 20, 2015
PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Thursday, October 01, 2015
PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Images from the big 2015 celebration of worker-friendly organizations that make a difference.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Molly Rogers believes she has found the solution to excessively syrupy cocktail mixes. She first just needs people to understand her product isn’t foliage.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
“What we’ve seen traditionally over the past few decades is a reduction of short line railroads. This is a rare opportunity to see a line being opened.”
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.
Friday, October 02, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
Our intrepid (and expecting) research editor finds the child care search involves long waiting lists, costly fees and no certainty of securing a place before she goes back to work.
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