33: CEO and Co-Founder Dave McLauchlan Talks About IoT Data Startup Buddy
Today I’m talking to David McLauchan. He was born and raised in Adelaide, Australia. He later got a job at Microsoft and now has an IoT platform called Buddy.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m the founder and CEO of the Buddy platform which can be found at buddy.com. In the year 2000 I moved to Seattle when I was recruited by Microsoft. I spent eleven years there and had a fantastic time. I left in 2011 to start Buddy but did so with a lot of Microsoft assistance. Microsoft was one of our earliest investors and remains strongly supportive to this day. We’ve come a long way and are now a publically traded company but Microsoft still holds their original share holding.
Do you think being at Microsoft helped prepare you for going out on your own?
No question at all. There’s a lot of pressure these days to go straight from University and even High School in some cases and jump straight into founding your first company and learning the ropes as you go. But having the ability to be backed by and work at a large company and see how those interactions work…I was in my mid to late 20’s, jetting around the world doing deals with some of the world’s largest companies which I would have no business doing if not for the fact that I was representing Microsoft. It’s an amazing opportunity to not only learn how it works but to build with folks whom we are now doing business with at Buddy.
What is Buddy?
Buddy is a cloud platform that takes data from any connected device and makes it available, after some processing and management, into any system people want to use to consume that data. In other words what we’re doing is taking the output from any connected device or sensor and processing it, looking for various queries that customers are providing, looking for anomalies, looking for whatever the business is seeking to find in that data and then making it available in whatever system the customer wants.
How many lot devices do you think the average user will have in their homes in the next few years?
When you think in the context of Microsoft, one of their original goals was a computer on every desk and in every home. When you look at the lot world you’re really thinking about anything that is powered could be connected. One of the things we have seen in recent years is fitbits and heart rate monitors and devices to measure the self, we’re quantifying ourselves. Well all of a sudden when you can add that metrics and that ability to count to anything out there that has some kind of power source (battery or electric) now you’re talking about a quantified economy. You’re talking about a massive scale. Frankly you’re talking about tens if not up to a hundred or more devices per person.
It feels like businesses for some time now have been concentrating their efforts on capturing all that data before heavy regulation kicks in. But they are now finding themselves struggling to unlock the value of this data. It’s like a needle in a haystack. How do you make sense of it all? Is this a problem you guys set out to solve?
You’re right. It’s a knee jerk reaction for a lot of folks to say “I must capture it” without understanding what I want to get out of that data. Quite often it’s the case where just saving a huge volume of data doesn’t necessarily inform you any better than you would otherwise. I’m a big fan of “how can I make you smarter?” or “how can I make you money?” and saving a whole bunch of data typically doesn’t do either one of those. So the challenge is how do I extract value out of that data?
What we do is start typically by taking that data and visualizing it and saying okay here’s what your network of devices are doing or here’s how they are performing or where they are located or so forth. What happens is once you can visualize it then all these other questions start emerging. You might see a collection of devices in one location so the question might be why is that the case? You might see a bunch of errors that happened an average of 13 hours of usage in. Why is that the case? We help solve the problem of getting the data into tools that can then answer those questions.
What are your future goals for Buddy?
We are expanding, we are hiring and we are growing the business. We just recently listed on the Australian Securities Exchange so we’re now a publically traded company. We have been very clear in terms of our goals and milestones and what our business plan is for the short and long term. Like any business in this space and particularly in the cloud area we are absolutely chasing connections and a number of devices. Those are the metrics by which we’re measuring short to long term success.
What’s the best way of contacting you guys?