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Startup aiming for commercial success

Published: 
Sunday, June 3, 2018

Joel Stapleton’s Smartwave Solutions allows home owners to remotely control appliances, light switches and other devices in the home but the young entrepreneur wants to deepen his footprint in the commercial sector. That is one of the reasons why his company will be exhibiting at this year’s Trade and Investment Convention.

Stapleton is managing director of Smartwave Solutions Ltd, a company that develops consumer electronic products for home and business automation.

Driven by his concern about wasted electricity and armed with a diploma in mechanical engineering as well as several years of experience dismantling toys and gadgets, he started the company two years ago.

“We were going through a process of developing the product, working continuously with our partners in China. Only somewhere in 2015, we started finalising the minimum viable product and here it is today.

“We simply provide the technical specifications and we work closely in developing the products. I have been in the consumer electronic industry for about 12 years. I know how to connect with companies. Based on my requirements, it’s a skill I gained over the time period I was involved in the industry.”

Penetrating the T&T market

The first big challenge for Stapleton was penetrating the residential market before he set sights on the commercial space. He is now aiming at the latter with a strategy that combines social media, flyers and word-of-mouth.

“Currently we are focused on T&T. We have sold over several hundred devices from the time we opened last year and this year and that’s mostly on the residential side.

“The reason for that is we know our product is good. We can say we sold a few hundred devices in the domestic market and we have come to the commercial market.”

Smartwave Caribbean’s Facebook page, website and YouTube channel are specifically for T&T and Caribbean customers.

“When we finish the second generation products, that phase would be called Smartwave Global, but because the Caribbean has very unique requirements that’s the only reason why we separated the Facebook page.

“The products must be designed for each region and that’s where Smartwave comes in. We are not designing a solution where one shoe fits all. We are trying to develop products that are suited for each region, and that’s why we created Smartwave Solutions for our region.”

Stapleton said a proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Public Utilities but he is yet to get a response.

Facing the competition

According to Stapleton, international companies don’t necessarily design products suitable for Caribbean customers, particularly as electrical standards are different in each country.

“Our products are able to work and automate devices without the dependency of an internet connection and that’s where the uniqueness of Smartwave products come in.”

As an assurance of cybersecurity, the devices are secured by SSL authentication which encrypts data, keeping the customer’s information safe.

In addition, the products are 100 per cent environmentally friendly and encourage customers to save energy.

YBTT support

Youth Business of T&T (YBTT) provided support for Stapleton as he developed his company with information and networking opporunities, in addition to other services. He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to look to YBTT for mentorship and advise.

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