EIT ICT Labs winner of the Idea Challenge in Smart Spaces, Athom, has been elected as ING Startup of the year 2014 in the on-line election of the ING- a bank in the Netherlands. The entrepreneurs and founders of Athom, Stefan Witkamp en Emile Nijssen (both age 22 years) are of course very proud that they may call themselves ‘ING Starter of the year’. Last weeks, 3768 persons voted for their favourite startup. Athom won with 1095 votes. Second best was 'Blendle', the startup of Alexander Klöpping who is well known as an ICT innovation expert in the Netherlands.
Athom submitted their idea on ‘Homey’ in the European EIT ICT Labs Idea Challenge and competed with 9 contestants in the European finals. EIT ICT Labs Business Accelerator Alain le Loux says: “Athom is a smart start-up for smart automation at home. Their solution is easy to use and has a broad connection spectrum; that makes the difference”.
Homey is creating the most complete home automation device by combining a smartphone app for remote control with voice recognition and analysis for in-house interaction. This allows significantly reducing the time and steps needed to control devices. Stefan says about Homey: “The house of the future is still science fiction. Proliferation of standards and brands causes that devices that you use at home are not compatible with each other. Homey is the solution. You put the homey product in your home and you can use all different types of consumer electronics, wireless or not, different brands, all together from 1 central interface. From turning on the lights to listening your favourite music and lower the heating. One touch is enough through your smart phone. Or in case you are in your house just by talking to Homey and giving instructions.”
From Idea to product
In January 2014, both entrepreneurs decided to turn their idea ‘Homey’ into a product and bringing it to market. To raise seed money Stefan and Emile decided to join Kickstarter. In parallel they submitted Homey in the EIT ICT Labs Idea Challenge in Smart Spaces. The Idea Challenge contest helps startups to take off the flight towards realising their ideas. Stefan and Emile reached the finals and they won the 1st prize on 3rd June 2014. The prize implied money and coaching of EIT ICT Labs Business Development Acceleration programme.
2015 the crucial year
This year is crucial for Athom. Homey will be perfectionised and will be ready for market. Emile indicates: “We enter the market and we are available for everyone. This is awesome and we invest everything to make a success out of it!” Stefan adds: “In 2015 Homey is going to be launched. Retailers, press, developers, hobbyists... everyone with a good idea and who can help us to push Homey even bigger and better on the market is welcome to join us.”