Ecobee CEO and founder speaks to TechCrunch Live about CES, Nest and finding product market fit • TechCrunch

TechCrunch Stay hosted a particular, in-person occasion at CES that includes an extended dialog with Ecobee CEO and founder Stuart Lombard. This was our first in-person TechCrunch Stay, and I can’t wait to do extra. We talked about rather a lot — how a startup can maximize CES, the best way to construct pleasant merchandise and the way {hardware} startups can increase cash.

Nest loomed giant over part of this interview. Whereas Lombard and Ecobee declare to have produced the primary web-connected thermostat, Nest, launched 4 years after Ecobee, outlined the usual. After Nest burst from stealth in 2011, it pressured Ecobee to retool its sensible thermostat. As Lombard admits, Nest modified the trajectory of Ecobee. “[The Nest thermostat] taught us the distinction between eager to be good and truly being good,” he stated, including later, “It actually pressured us to retool and take into consideration what it means to be nice.”

And the early Ecobee merchandise weren’t nice. “We made quite a lot of compromises alongside the best way,” Lombard stated, displaying off Ecobee’s first product to the TechCrunch Stay cameras. The variations between the primary Ecobee and the primary Nest are putting: The place the Nest is constructed out of smooth steel and glossy glass, the Ecobee is all plastic. Certain, it labored properly but it surely lacked the identical attraction as the primary Nest. He says, in brief, as a startup, prospects want to like your organization and merchandise.

I hear this sentiment rather a lot on TechCrunch Stay. Nice merchandise enjoyment of stunning methods. The place the Ecobee supplied related performance, Lombard admits it wasn’t till the Nest hit the market that Ecobee developed a world-class person expertise and design.

I hope you may take the time and watch the present. It’s embedded under, and it’s a must-hear for {hardware} startups. Belief me, this is likely one of the greatest TechCrunch Stay occasions.

Watch your complete present proper right here.

Present Define


  • What’s it like for a {hardware} startup to be at CES?
  • What ought to a {hardware} startup purpose to perform CES?

Founding Ecobee: Creating a market section and competing towards Nest:

  • How can a family aim flip into an organization?
  • How does Stuart really feel Nest modified Ecobee, and the way can founders greatest make the most of competitors, particularly in advertising?
  • What does it really feel like when your organization lastly finds product market match?

How Ecobee continues to be profitable:

  • Why is it laborious for {hardware} firms to lift capital?
  • Why Ecobee took a major funding from Amazon, and what recommendation does Stuart have for founders speaking to Amazon?
  • How does Ecobee sustain with altering shopper expectations?

Fundraising for {hardware}:

  • Why Stuart advises startups to take a look at their buyer checklist for funding alternatives.
  • Why an organization ought to purpose for longevity in fundraising.
  • Why the simplest time to pitch a VC is earlier than you will have something to promote.
  • Why Ecobee tried to go public by a SPAC in 2020.

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