The Viking Blog

Tomorrow’s Leaders: Christian Lane and Smarter

Tomorrow’s Leaders: Christian Lane and Smarter

Last month’s Tomorrow’s Leaders blog series featured the vegetarian
food start-up Not Dogs. This month
we’re speaking to Christian Lane about his high-tech start-up, Smarter. Christian told us about his start-up
success and how he
plans to redefine how we use our everyday appliances and reinvent kitchens with
wireless kettles and fridge-cams.

What’s the story of smarter in a nutshell?

We are a connected home company at the forefront of creating convenient, innovative smart products in the everyday home. Our ground-breaking connected kitchen range, like the iKettle, Smarter Coffee and FridgeCam are paving the way for the future home by harnessing the very best in technology to improve our everyday lives.

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Tea or coffee?

Tricky one
as we make both a Wi-Fi-connected kettle (iKettle) and coffee machine (Smarter
Coffee) and are therefore accustomed to both on a daily basis, but would have
to go with coffee.

How do you create a good
life/work balance?

This is
often a difficult one to keep in check, but very essential to keeping focused
on the goals of growing the business in the right direction. For me personally,
it’s all about managing your time and prioritising what you want to achieve by the
day’s end. I’m also a firm believer in working to the hours that suit you.

What is your management
style?

Here at
Smarter, we tend to have quite high ambitions set in wanting to drive growth
for the company to reach its potential. We want those in our team to know that
they are all contributing towards those longer-term goals. Running a start-up
of any sort, you need to keep an eye on the detail. Know how much you’re
spending on everything from office costs to manufacturing. We want the best
from our team and give as much freedom as we can to ensure that we all reach
those daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals together.

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What advice would you give to an aspiring start-up?

Don’t
forget to enjoy the ride you are taking, especially during those early start-up
days. I wish someone had reminded me to soak up the occasion and enjoy those
exciting initial days of creating the business. And remember to always keep the
faith in what your vision is for your company.

What is your biggest
business challenge so far?

In terms of challenges we have as a start-up that creates
innovative products, it’s always difficult to compete with bigger competitors
in the industry. There are certainly risks of being out-manoeuvred by larger players
and hardware can sometimes be
perceived as risky by investors too, which can make scaling difficult in this
space. We’ve overcome this by continuing to innovate and build a brand that
reflects the pioneering work we have achieved.

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What’s your secret to success in one sentence?

Never give
up and dare to do something different.

What will the future bring for smarter?

This year
is a big one for us, here at Smarter. With the launch of our highly-anticipated
new product, the FridgeCam, for us it has the potential to change an entire
industry. We are expecting to connect millions of families around the world to
their fridges with our innovative retrofit device so that they can see what
they need to pick up from the supermarket directly from the smartphone. This
will not only save families time and money in the process, but also reduce food
waste by cutting down on overbuying.

If you would like to become part of our Tomorrow’s Leaders
series let us know on Twitter at @viking_chat.

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