Senstone is an intelligent wearable. And is the simplest of them all. And what does it do? Just one thing. It records voice memos, stores it to your app and transcribes it for you – in 11 languages. The wearable can be clipped to one’s collar, worn as a necklace, as a pendant or can be attached to a wristband. The wearable startup, entirely crowdfunded, is in its early stages and the company’s founder and CEO says many more intelligent features are set to be added to this device in coming times. Here is an edited version of M2MCafe’s talk with Senstone Founder Nazar Fedorchuk.
Q. Can you give us a little background about yourself?
I am Nazar Fedorchuk, the founder and CEO of Senstone. I have a legal background, I worked for the US DOJ project for 7 years and studied in Oxford, UK.
As everyone in the world, I too have problem remembering things, and it appeared that I am not the only forgetful person. Many people have this problem and need a handy button type solution to this. That’s how the idea of the tiny pin that converts voice memos into text was born.
Q. When did the idea of the wearable accessory Senstone came up?
The idea of the gadget came to me in the park when I was walking with my friend and discussing how forgetful I was. My managing work at US Department of Justice required creative approach and I worked a lot outside the office, traveled, walked and I did sports. This is where I found out that you need a gadget for voice recording, something simple and straightforward, something that would conveniently would let you capture your thoughts on the go.
Q. How did you start working on it? Please tell us more about the process of launching a company itself: business plan, timelines, crew, etc
I started talking to my friends who work in technology practically the day I started working on it. Just just few conversations I understood that the necessary technology is out there. We were not sure though that the parts will work together as we expected it to. So we started putting our first prototype together. In about 8 months we finally tried our first version.
The core team comprises of three people: my partner Markiyan Matsekh who is a tech and marketing geek, angel investor and advisor Roman, and myself. We also have over 12 people, out of which about 7 are product designers, three software and two hardware people.
Q. How did you fund it?
I invested my retirement fund into the project – luckily the retirement fund was portable. In July 2016 we found angel investor and about the same time Markiyan joined the team to reinforce the technical side of the project and invested his savings. We managed to finalize the prototype and build marketing strategy for the product to prepare for the launch.
Q. What were the things that surprised you the most and how did you solve them?
First, is how difficult it is to find hardware engineers. Its not easy to build a voice recorder in such a small scale. Before successful prototype we had 3 failed trials with three different teams of hardware engineers.
Second is the design. I think this is one of the key things to any electronics product – to get nice and unique design. Smart things should be designed smart! And third and maybe most important, how easy is to loose the people and hard to find a really good ones!
Q. What is fashion industry holding for us in the future in your opinion?
We look at fashion through fashion-tech glasses. And accessories and jewelry hold some potential for us. in terms of easy mountable technology – a blue tooth coin that mounts into different wearables and connects to the battery (source of power): collar, stripe, bag, helmet, pin.
This is where fashion and wearables interconnect: minimalistic but pure design. All smart things are practical, so it naturally should be minimalistic, unless it’s sole goal is just to impress.