igloohome is a startup that helps people manage their homes and properties through innovative technologies. igloohome’s Smart Locks and Smart Keybox allow home and property owners to grant access to visitors remotely via time-sensitive PIN codes or bluetooth keys. igloohome is a partner of Airbnb, and their locks can automate the generation of PIN codes for Airbnb guests.

Anthony Chow, CEO & Cofounder, Igloohome

Whats your story?

Before we started igloohome, my cofounders and I were Airbnb hosts. We faced constant frustrations at the inconvenience of physical key exchanges between us and our Airbnb guests. This was especially so when guests wanted to check in at odd hours. Hence, we started this journey with the aim of eliminating such problems to enhance the experiences for both hosts and guests.

Subsequently, the team and I discovered that access management is a problem not limited to just Airbnb hosts — most home and property owners faced similar issues. As such, we began to develop multiple product lines to cater to different market segments. Today, we have 8 offices around the world and our products are sold in over 90 countries.

What were some of the obstacles that your company faced during its initial years and how did your team overcome it?

We realised that producing hardware is more expensive and harder than we thought. There were longer lead times for product iteration and we had to tighten controls over our cash flow to ensure things ran smoothly. We solved this by setting up a team in China to oversee production and ensured we had people who had profound manufacturing expertise and experience on the team. With the right people, we were able to craft out a process that worked for us.

Name the most memorable learning experience of your entrepreneurial journey.

The most memorable learning experience was when we faced our first product failure in the market. Locks are the epitome of safety and we do our best to ensure that. However, there will always be a chance of product failure, and to overcome that, we have learned to always be ready in providing world-class customer service to our users and assist them in the event of such failures anytime, anywhere. This is why we continuously invest in the best customer service team to win and maintain the trust of our consumers.

How would you differentiate igloohome from other competitors in the Smart Home industry?

While there are other smart locks in the market, they tend to be dependent on wifi. This makes them susceptible to wifi hacking and disruptions. Our smart products work offline, using innovative technology involving cryptography and synchronisation. Also, the guests who receive PIN codes for our devices do not even need to download an app, unlike most bluetooth smart locks in the market. This changed the smartlock landscape, and allowed igloohome to bring more convenience and security to our consumers as compared to existing solutions in the market.

igloohome team

With the advancement of technology, will igloohome consider infusing new technologies such as Artifical Intelligence into its locks?

Yes, definitely. As of now, we’re working on having our locks work on the Narrow Band-IoT protocol. We’re working on building a dashboard with data intelligence, allowing enterprises to make better decisions with real-time analytics. This allows for greater deployability of igloohome’s products across industries and not just homes.

What do you think should be the most important characteristic for a startup and its team to possess?

Many companies go through the route of building the product first and then selling after. We realised very quickly that this flow doesn’t work. The most important thing is to sell first before anything else. From this process, we’re then able to see what our customers really needed and work around this to build a product that addresses their core needs.

Looking back, what advice would you tell your younger self?

I’d tell myself to exercise more and stay healthy because that is very important. Also, you will never have all the answers and getting started is one of the most difficult things to do. All you have to do is trust your gut and have gumption — things will eventually fall in place as you move along.