Nwave Technologies has created a wireless network platform based on ultra-narrow-band radio technology to facilitate machine-to-machine communication, commonly found in the Internet of Things (IoT), and connectivity to the cloud over a long-range but at a low-power cost.
The company was founded in early 2013 by Yury Birchenko (left), who serves as chief executive and chief technology officer, and has grown to employ eight people based in the Idea London centre in the East End, as well as having a presence in Dallas and Moscow.
We fired our startup spotlight questions at Birchenko to hear more about his company.
Why did you develop Nwave?
When the company first started, we set out to solve one of the modern urban human's greatest challenges such as finding a parking space.
We noticed there was a gap in the market and we realised there was no good existing wireless technology which could solve this in a quick, cost-efficient way.
So we came up with a parking sensor which was able to send data over 7km in an urban environment, which worked for seven years on just one battery without any replacements or recharging.
After developing this technology our team realised the potential for connecting other applications and devices to the web, the very essence of the IoT.
What technology do you use?
Are you based in an incubator or startup centre?
We are based at Idea London, a startup incubator supported by Cisco, DC Thomson and University College London.
What level of funding have you received so far?
We have been incredibly capital efficient and managed to secure some early revenue, so until now we have not taken any external investment. However, we are looking for seed investment right now to boost our growth.
What challenges have you encountered to date?
The challenge with this kind of technology is that it can't be developed even by one big organisation.
The IoT is all about collaboration. It's not just about pushing from the top, it's about connecting different people with different skills, ideas and backgrounds into one ecosystem. This is why we created the first open standard for the IoT in wireless communications.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business so far?
Being crowned winner of the Cisco BIG Awards is one of the highlights of the business and will be like rocket fuel for Nwave, combining huge motivation with vital capital infusion.
Even reaching the final is a great honour, especially to be one of six of the top startups in the country. It speaks for itself.
What did you do before starting up?
I built my first startup in the VoIP space a few years before Skype came about. I was 21 at that time and then decided to proceed with a corporate career to get exposure to bigger organisations' business perspectives. I worked at Deloitte Consulting for three years and with BP for five years.
What are your favourite and worst things about running your own startup?
I've been doing the CEO and CTO roles since April, which is a really big overstretch actually.
I don't see it as sustainable, but it's a great challenge. As the company develops I'm hoping to focus on my favourite area which is the technology side.
If you could emulate the success of another startup, which would it be?
Amazon. It started off by shipping books for quite a few years and now look at that 'book store' disrupting Google and Microsoft!
Do you work remotely, in a shared environment or have your own office space?
As part of our residency at Idea London, we work in a collaborative environment with other startups where we are able to share ideas and develop new ways of thinking and working.
My tech hero is James Clerk Maxwell, the British inventor who developed the theory to explain electromagnetic waves in 1867. His calculations and equations are still used today.
To me, Britain means science and invention. Radio is my favourite technology. Look at how transformative cellular phones and WiFi have been.
It enables so many new business models, and it increases productivity and the efficiency of communications. It's just massive.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
Yes, I do. Sharing an office with other great startups creates incredibly valuable exchanges in all possible dimensions - skills, collective learning and lots of emotions.
We used to share an office with a more traditional business and it was tough sometimes on both sides.
Could the government and technology industry do more to support UK startups?
The UK government is already doing a great job by providing (S)EIS tax exemptions and funding for small and medium enterprise research and development projects via Innovate UK.
Very recently, the IoT got a lot of attention as the next possible industrial revolution with £40m pledged to be invested via various grants over a few years. Being an IoT startup in the UK, you can't complain about the lack of government support.
If you want to take part in the V3 Startup Spotlight contact Roland Moore-Colyer.
Previous startups under the spotlight have ranged from IoT connectivity firm Arkessa and 3D mapping platform developer eeGeo, to social listening app Twizoo and Android and iOS house-sharing app Chored.
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