Tell us about the work you do.
In 2013, I co-founded Keen Home, a tech company focused on creating products to help people live more comfortably, efficiently, and securely in their homes. Our goal is to have your home take care of you—not the other way around.
As CEO, I spend most of my time focused on three responsibilities: shepherding the firm’s vision and setting strategic goals, seeking out and hiring world-class talent, and making sure the company is well capitalized.
What issue inspired you to pursue your current path? Is this what you envisioned to do when you were younger?
The home has increasingly become a source of anxiety and stress to its inhabitants. We founded Keen Home to reestablish the home as a place of sanctuary.
Prior to founding Keen Home, we analyzed the “smart home” landscape and observed the glut of innovation occurring in just a few concentrated areas; namely, thermostats, lighting, and security applications.
With the advent of ubiquitous connectivity, affordable rapid prototyping technology, and favorable component pricing, we felt the time was right to launch a company focused on proactive products that addressed critical pain points related to home infrastructure.
I have always been naturally curious and have long been a tech aficionado. Fusing my love of tech with my fascination for innovation with the goal of helping millions of people live better lives in their homes has been an absolute joy and privilege.
How did you get over your initial fears or barriers and take your first step?
In addition to being blessed with financial security and a first-class education, I am very fortunate to be surrounded by a supportive network of family and friends. Starting a new venture like Keen Home meant long hours, extreme financial risk, and overcoming long odds on many fronts. Without the support of my wife, my parents, countless friends, professors, classmates at NYU Stern, and the NYC startup community I would not be where I am today.
Homes have been designed with a specific aesthetic and framework for decades. Why is that?
Like many U.S. industries, homebuilding has succumbed to the constraints and motivations dictated by large corporations. Unfortunately, the “profits are paramount” dynamic has resulted in weak innovation, low quality craftsmanship, and uninspired aesthetics. Fortunately, consumers are increasingly demanding change and forcing the incumbent corporates to cater to their needs or face disruption.
What is the most common form of resistance you face, and how do you overcome it?
With the proliferation of any disruptive technology, there will usually be resistance from the status quo who fear obsolescence or are threatened by change. We overcome this resistance by really embracing an open dialogue with all antagonistic counterparties. Once these parties realize that we are not necessarily at odds with their industry, but can actually be a valuable partner, resistance often turns into acceptance and sometimes even admiration.
What keeps you going?
I have always been a self-starter with an almost insatiable desire to succeed in any venture I am involved with. Of course, I’m also motivated to do right by my employees, investors, customers, partners, and other stakeholders.
How can people support the work you’re doing?
Take a look at our website: www.keenhome.io and feel free to purchase or spread the word about our products if they resonate with you.
I’m called the Batman of Social Impact. What would be your superhero name?
You can call me the Vision of Entrepreneurship.