This week we chat to Chris Herbert, co-founder of TrackR, the little tracking device to find lost keys, wallets or even cats!
Can you tell me more about you, your business and what TrackR does/aims to achieve?
I grew up with a deep interest in computers and surfing. These two interests naturally led me to studying electrical engineering at UCSB, famous for its engineering school and beachside location. While there, I created a variety of clubs and side ventures which also made me learn about entrepreneurship.
I started TrackR immediately after graduating in July 2009. The company has now 30 people located in Santa Barbara, California. TrackR’s goal is to give the task of remembering where items are located to computers. We do this by creating small BLE tracking devices and software that monitors the location of where items are. To date, we have shipped over 1.5 million devices all over the world.
What inspired you to start TrackR? (And what made you want to be your own boss?)
While on a surf trip with my co-founder, Christian Smith, we parked on the beach. When we came back from surfing, I couldn’t find my keys and the tide was rising quickly. The tide was actually going to be high enough to swallow my car and the tow was quoted to be around $1,000. Luckily two people with metal detectors came by and were able to find my keys. On the drive back, memories of always misplacing items around our homes came back to us and we brainstormed on a way to make items un-losable, a new way to have perfect memory.
What has been the biggest challenge for your business?
We started the company by bootstrapping and as being a consumer electronics startup company, we were always constrained by cash. The biggest challenge we didn’t expect to have to overcome is creating broad awareness for the digital inventory category while not spending large amounts of cash on marketing.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to anyone looking to start their own business?
Focus on customers and sales. Often people stay within their office and never talk to prospective customers or wait to actually begin the sales process. This is a mistake, you should start the sales and marketing process as early as possible.
Would you do anything differently if you could start again from scratch?
We initially focused on selling only to large retailers and OEM companies. We actually found our niche by approaching consumers directly and this demand from consumers pulled our product into retail.
What do you do to relax away from the hustle and bustle of work?
I enjoy surfing the thrill of surfing Sandpit in Santa Barbara and wine tasting with my wife.