The STACK Box – A Smart Home Controller

You can pitch your Startup, App or Hardware here

The Pitch

Startup Name * The STACK Box
What problem are you solving? Let’s Talk AboutTechnologyToday user experience is painful because technology makes things complex. The truth is that all our devices speak in different languages.This confusion leads to arguments and dissatisfaction adding unnecessary stress. We created the STACK Box so your technology is easy to use and your devices work together, and work with existing internet services or the cloud.
What is your solution? Our STACK Box connects all your smart devices that control your homes lighting, energy, audio, video, security, healthcare and wearable’s. Unlike any other product in the market, you can now navigate locally and remotely with your smartphone and, or tablet.What Makes Us Different:
Weget lot ofquestionsas to what sets us apart from the rest of the market. Our strength is “Openness”, unlike the competition our hardware is expandable. Ourmainobjective is to support all devices in the market, with the aim to have the best user interface on the Planet.The STACK is the only smart home controller that supports the Apps Store concept and allows 3rd-party Developers toimplement their own applications Consumers now have unlimited choice of Apps and can store their Apps in one place.We also empower small device makers to get their products to work with others and connect to internet, giving more choices to consumers.
Why is this a great opportunity? Who Is The STACK Box For?Due to the vast amount of devicesthatemploy remote controls and programming them, universal remote controls that manage multiple devices are becoming increasingly popular, but none of them really do the job well andlackthe interaction with online internet services.As Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, Google and many others technology companies and gadgets makers are competing to define the standards. We aim to fill the gap by providing an open platform that allow both device makers and users more freedom of choice without investing huge resources nor time.We created the STACK Box so your technology is easy to use and your devices work together, and work with existing internet services or the cloud.
Target Market Home Automation
How will you make money? Selling Our Hub
Founders Names TL Lim
What type of funding has the company received Bootstrapped/self funded

Startup88 Verdict

This device solves a problem we have known about for a long time. Everyone talks about Internet of Things devices and how they will connect everything in your house to the internet, measuring and controlling, reporting.

Stack Box is running a Kickstarter campaign, they have managed to get 500 backers, $50,000 of a $65,000 goal with 10 days to go, so it looks like they will be successful.


What not many journalists understand is that most of them use Bluetooth or Zigby or similar low power comms chips.

The problem in this situation is that these are all tied to someones mobile phone, as almost no routers shipping today support connecting these devices via bluetooth, there is no glue to stick all these devices together.

Add to this the complexity of trying to make TVs, Wireless Speakers and other home devices work together, normally its a big mess with multiple remote controls and no way to make this all work together.

Stack Box appears to be a good solution to this problem, I am a fan of the concept and for a kickstarter project it appears to have a very good chance of success.

  • They appear to have built numerous prototypes and can demonstrate this
  • They are using components which are commonly available (in their own boards) but they dont appear to have to manufacture any particular component types, just build the PCB with known components), this greatly reduces risk
  • It is probably more a software execution issue rather than a hardware execution, it appears they have hardware under control
  • The team has a successful hardware business with the Popcorn media players Cloudmedia already shipping and appears to understand the manufacturing process far better than most kickstarter projects

I think on its own this is a useful product and over time this capability will be critical in the market.

It is however very early, not many people have got automated devices and IoT components in their homes, its coming but its not mainstream yet but at least this gets a functioning product into the market that can support this.

If I had a wishlist I would like to see the Stack functionality integrated with some of the other devices I need in the home.

I believe the killer product would be Stack Box + DSL Router with WIFI + a 2Tb cloud synced Hard Drive for playing/sharing movies/photos/backup like a Apple Time Capsule but one that lets you use it like a harddrive and a media player. This would solve most of the problems I have at the moment with media while getting me ready to use the Smart Home features.

Stack-Hardware-Explode Stack-feature-protocol Stack-Apps


Xiaomi launches Mi Band – Serious Fitbit competitor for $16 Sing – What can we say except watch out Fitbit

I have been saying for a while that the CEO must wake in a cold sweat at 4am every day about his business.
Whilst they are kicking ass with market share today I see trouble ahead, it is after all only a connected with some nice software. (I am an owner and I like it but it is what it is)

With a bill of materials and COGS of under $20 Fitbit has been making hay while the Sun shines selling at $70 (or $120 retail in Australia)

I have recently costed out a prototype with some common components so I know exactly what’s in one.

So to give you an idea of the component costs

  • 3 axis (the main active component) >$1
  • Processor + Bluetooth ($1-2)
  • Battery <50c
  • Assorted power chips/LEDs ~ $2

Obviously you have to assemble and fabricate and give the retailer a margin but I still think their gross margins must be healthy.

Until now.

has just launched the Mi Band at $16s with 4 times the battery life


Watchout Fitbit.


Ownphones – Custom printed Bluetooth Earphones




Startup Name * OwnPhones
What problem are you solving? OwnPhones (#ownphones) today went LIVE with a Kickstarter (#kickstarter) campaign ( to help complete the development of its revolutionary product – the world’s first wireless 3D printed, personalized smart earbuds (#earbuds) and an accompanying mobile app for iOS (Android to follow).The campaign, which has a funding goal of $250,000USD, features limited Early Bird specials of 50% off all sets of earbuds (regular retail prices range from $299USD to $449USD).Designed to fit perfectly and built exclusively for each individual ear, OwnPhones earbuds represent a combination of the very latest in 3D printing, Bluetooth technology and personal audio.Along with being custom 3D printed according to the user’s personality and choice of activities, they’re also completely wireless, cancel noise around the user and can even be made to fit their lifestyle with an ergonomic custom fit. And with thousands of combinations of features and four different models (“Fit,” “Designer Fit,” “Smart Fit” and “Jewelry Collection) to choose from, OwnPhones earbuds can be personalized for each user.
What is your solution? “Ears are like fingerprints – each one is unique, so it is time that consumers were able to get earbuds that actually fit their ears properly,”OwnPhones Personalization Technology• A Custom Fit The OwnPhones mobile app turns a phone’s camera into a 3D scanner. By following a few simple steps, users create a short video orbiting the phone around their ears. The OwnPhones servers will then convert the video into a 3D model of their ears. This creates a custom ergonomic fit so every time the user wears them, they’ll fit perfectly and won’t jiggle when they run or jostle when they dance!• 3D Printed Each pair of OwnPhones earbuds offers a precise fit down to the millimeter. The printer can assemble 3D objects out of many different materials. This allows OwnPhones to match the cartilage in the user’s ear and can build any set of OwnPhones earbuds, one-at-a-time.• True-Wireless The earbuds are integrated with Bluetooth 4.0 technology, so there’s no cord to get tangled and no plugs to fumble with. OwnPhones gives users the freedom they need without the restrictions of a cord and will be the world’s first 3D printed wireless earbuds.• SoundScaping Since OwnPhones are perfectly fitted to each ear, they can be used to block out noise. But not all noises. A built-in digital signal processor can filter ambient noises (Soundscaping) and the user can use the OwnPhones mobile app to let through requested sounds – from a beeping alarm to a friend’s voice (OwnPhones calls this “Real World Notifications”).• Own Status Using red, yellow and green LED lights, the OwnStatus feature can let OwnPhones communicate for the user. A red light tells people, “Leave me alone,” a yellow light says “I’m busy” and a green light says “Let’s chat.”• Versatile Advantage Since users have two separate earbuds, they can push music to one side and let the world in through the other. Now, there’s no need to buy another headset to make and receive calls in the car… users can use their OwnPhones both as earbuds and as a headset.YouTube Video:
Why is this a great opportunity? Kickstarter Details and Availability OwnPhone’s Kickstarter offering is now available at: OwnPhones is seeking support to complete the development of its revolutionary wireless 3D printed, personalized smart earbuds and an accompanying mobile app for iOS (Android to follow). Early Bird Specials include: for a $149USD pledge, users can get the “OwnPhones Fit” model. For a $175USD pledge, users can get the “OwnPhones Designer Fit” model.For a $199USD pledge, users can get the “OwnPhones Smart Fit” model.Additional rewards include: for a $799USD pledge, users can design (in their own brand look and style) their own custom branded earbuds. As part of this reward, contributors can sell their branded earbuds on the OwnPhones online store. Another rewards option includes a pledge for $9,999USD, which will see OwnPhones commissioning a local artist who will meet with the contributor to custom design a Gold & Diamond studded fashion earbud.
Target Market Anyone who uses earbuds
How will you make money? Via sales of the earbuds
Founders Names Itamar Jobani
What type of funding has the company received Bootstrapped/self funded

Startup88 Verdict

A few days ago I reviewed the NORMAL 3D Printed Custom Earphones, which look great. Ownphones pitch and presentation isnt quite a smooth or polished as the Normal, however they seem to have put the effort into the product rather than the marketing. The key difference here is the Ownphones are bluetooth where are the Normal earphones have wires. In addition the Ownphones have created a whole range of style options where your earphones can be completely customised including probably the first set of hea act as jewelry. As at 20th July they have 536 backers and $106,000 towards their $250,000 goal with 35 days to go. Looks like they have a shot of making their goal. There is probably enough space for a bunch of custom earphone makers, certainly given the size of the existing market and how much that has grown in the last and the propensity to pay $100-300 for their earphones so they probably have a good chance of making it but I am expecting a rush of custom built products of all types over the coming months and after the first 5-10 it will start to get repetitive. What’s not clear to me is how any of these customised hardware businesses will scale when they have to produce 1000s of devices a month, its tough to build little bits of hardware, little bits of custom hardware sounds diabolical.

Ownphones Status

Ownphones Status

Ownphones Soundscaping

Ownphones Soundscaping

Ownphones Custom Fit

Ownphones Custom Fit