May 4, 2016

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Peter Semmelhack, CEO of Bug Labs

1. Can you set the stage? How did you first connect with Verizon Ventures and why did you choose Verizon?

We were introduced to Verizon Ventures through another one of our investors, Union Square Ventures. We hit it off immediately because our solution could make great use of all the Verizon network services. Verizon Ventures made it clear that they were more than just a source of capital and rather a strategic partner that could help us uncover and pursue opportunities within Verizon. They have been a terrific resource for us. 

2. Bug Labs recently integrated with ThingSpace to simplify the development of IoT applications and products. How does Bug Labs’ dweet™ real-time messaging service and freeboard™ data visualization and dashboard tools accelerate the prototype to production process?  

I was recently asked at a conference, “what distinguishes your products from the others in the IoT space?” My answer was, we spend every day trying to find ways to make our products easier to use, simpler to understand and faster to turn into actual products. We only add features that we think will help with those three things. I believe our two current products, dweet™ and freeboard™, have been successful because of that focus. But simplicity isn’t just good for prototyping. It’s just as important when you start deploying production rollouts. Simplicity means higher reliability, faster troubleshooting and better performance. It’s entirely possible that that the freeboard visualizations you used during a prototype are the exact same ones you use in production.  In fact, we constantly stress with our customers to keep it simple too. No one needs more complexity. 

ThingSpace shares this focus on simplicity and the entire website is a testament to this design philosophy. For example, in just two mouse-clicks a developer can be reviewing the ThingSpace APIs. We’re excited that Verizon has committed itself to making IoT product development, from prototype to production, simpler and easier.

3. Bug Labs’ core products and services are grounded in the philosophy of open source software and hardware movements. How has this viewpoint contributed to the company’s work in creating a much simpler platform to help customers see the IoT value proposition?

One of the biggest challenges for product development teams today is fully recognizing that IoT-related products are complete hardware and software systems. A compelling, user-delighting experience requires that all the technical components work flawlessly together. One of our biggest assets is our knowledge of what it takes to build successful IoT products and our software platforms reflect this depth of understanding. This is evident with our focus on simplicity with our products. The whole IoT development process is already so complex and the last thing anyone needs are tools that hinder the process.

4. In your experience, what's the best way to work with an investor like Verizon Ventures?

Recognize that they are an extraordinarily valuable asset for navigating and accessing the corporate ecosystem. Utilize a CVC partner by brainstorming with them, getting meaningful introductions and help with streamlining internal processes. Verizon Ventures has tremendous resources and they help startups identify and leverage the ones that make the most sense.    

5. What's next for Bug Labs in 2016?

Growth! 2015 was a milestone year for us, and 2016 is looking strong. With the initial launch of ThingSpace behind us, we are going to start rolling out more exciting updates and also have brand new products we’ll be announcing shortly. Keep an eye out for some interesting customer use cases that we will publish soon.


Related posts from Verizon Ventures:

Entrepreneur Spotlight: João Barros, CEO of Veniam

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Roger Desai, CEO of Payfone

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Sascha Simon, CEO of Driversiti

Tags: IoT , Bug Labs , Software