Ecobee CEO Discusses CES, Nest & Finding Success With TechCrunch Live

At CES, TechGround Live hosted a special in-person event with Ecobee CEO and founder Stuart Lombard. We discussed how startups can make the most of CES, create products people love, and raise money for hardware companies. Our first in-person TechGround Live was a success – we look forward to more!

Nest’s launch in 2011 forced Ecobee to revamp their smart thermostat, despite them claiming to have created the first web-connected one. Lombard admits it changed their trajectory and that “Nest taught us the difference between wanting to be good and actually being great.” This pushed Ecobee to retool and strive for greatness.

The early Ecobee products weren’t ideal; “we had to make compromises,” Lombard told TechGround Live viewers while displaying the first model. It was a stark contrast to the Nest, which featured sleek metal and glass instead of Ecobee’s plastic casing. Although it functioned well, it didn’t have the same charm as its competitor – ultimately proving that startups need customers’ love in order for success.

I hear often on TechGround Live that great products surprise with delight. Lombard notes that Ecobee offered similar features to Nest, but it wasn’t until Nest appeared in the market when Ecobee had a top-notch UX and design.

Take a few minutes to watch this must-hear TechGround Live event embedded below. It’s one of the best for hardware startups and won’t disappoint!

Watch the entire show right here.

Show Outline

CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, is an annual event that showcases the latest and most cutting-edge technologies. It’s a place where companies from over 150 countries

  • What’s it like for a hardware startup to be at CES?
  • What should a hardware startup aim to accomplish CES?

Founding Ecobee: Developing a market and competing against Nest – We recognized the potential to create a new segment of home automation with our thermostat product, so we set out to challenge Nest’s dominance. We made sure our features were competitive in order to stand out and succeed.

  • How can a household goal turn into a company?
  • How does Stuart feel Nest changed Ecobee, and how can founders best utilize competition, especially in marketing?
  • What does it feel like when your company finally finds product market fit?

Ecobee is continuing to thrive, thanks to its innovative products and customer-focused approach. Its thermostats provide a smarter way of controlling home comfort and energy use. As a result, customers enjoy greater convenience, comfort and cost

  • Why is it hard for hardware companies to raise capital?
  • Why Ecobee took a significant investment from Amazon, and what advice does Stuart have for founders talking to Amazon?
  • How does Ecobee keep up with changing consumer expectations?

and software can be a difficult task. It requires planning, research, and diligence to ensure success.

Raising funds for hardware and software takes careful planning, research, and dedication to guarantee success.

  • Why Stuart advises startups to look at their customer list for investment opportunities.
  • Why a company should aim for longevity in fundraising
  • Why the easiest time to pitch a VC is before you have anything to sell.
  • Why Ecobee tried to go public through a SPAC in 2020.
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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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