Three Years! – Looking Back…

bug_proto_groupThree years ago we received our first round of funding from Union Square Ventures, and a small group of private investors.  While it was not the “official” start of Bug Labs, it’s as good a date as any other since I don’t really recall anything more official.  So we use the date as our birthday.  Seeing the first investment hit our bank account was a big thrill.  It meant I could now make the move from wooden block model to real, working prototype – hardware + software + web services/API.    The picture here is our first working prototype, which included an ARM9 base + Mobitex wireless modem and three modules – motion, GPS and camera.

The path from wooden blocks to shipping product is a story in itself, and I won’t spend time on it here.   It would make a great series of future posts.  But suffice to say, it was a series of tall challenges, frustrating realizations, hard work and luck (good and bad ;) ).  Having had a twenty year career in software, I was not prepared for electronic component vendors telling me they would NOT sell me the parts I needed.  Nor the contract manufacturers turning me away because what we were doing was too strange.  Needless to say there are big differences between innovating in the world of bits vs atoms.  And, as I look back on the path we took, I see great value in it.  Mainly because we lived/live through a series of processes that are the norm for anyone looking to build an electronic device and bring it to production.  Why is that important?  First, we’ve been there and now “know that of which we speak”.  This “norm” is archaic and unnecessary.  It’s needlessly expensive, arbitrary and risky.  Second, because I started Bug Labs to help others avoid these very issues.

Later this week, I will talk about how we see the future…

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4 Responses to “Three Years! – Looking Back…”

  1. Jim Lindstrom Says:

    Peter – I was at the hardware startup panel at CBS tonight. I’m an engineer/MBA (used to be at Motorola, working on software defined radios; now at CBS) and have been following Bug for a while, on your blog and around the scene. I am particularly interested in using tech for social good, and I was really digging your talk about GPS Talker and your Human Rights Watch work. (Reminded me of Benetech’s HRDAG/Martus work.) I was curious how this related to Bug’s vision for itself. Is the goal to offer design consultancy to non-techie groups needing a product? And/or to craft custom Bug modules for people? Or was this sort of tangential to Bug’s (other?) core mission?

    Enjoyed hearing you. Talk to you more soon. -jbl

  2. Peter Semmelhack Says:

    Jim – thanks for the comment. Re our vision, we very much believe that technology should be much easier to use and apply to our everyday lives. It currently isn’t. That’s why we have terms like geek and propeller head ;) So I founded Bug Labs to try and make it all more accessible and even fun. We do offer services for non-techies – application design, hardware design, production support, etc. All of them are aimed at making our customers successful with technology irrespective of their background.

    Drop by the office next time you’re in the neighborhood. I’d love to hear more about how you’d like to use technology for social good.

  3. LIVEdigitally » Blog Archive » Bug Labs turns 3 years old Says:

    [...] CEO, put together two blog posts regarding the company’s anniversary.  Part one is a bit of a look back, analyzing the “hits and misses” the company’s made. Part two is a look forward, [...]

  4. Arnold Says:

    hi Peter
    While I am fascinated by the product I dont yet understand how it can be profitable.

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