We care about efficiency and quality, when building our company and product it was a strong requirement for my brother Grégory and I.
Both born in Burgundy and Gregory living in Lyon we just wanted our Montreal wine cellar act like a natural french one. We first designed an intelligent product that we would use and love before offering it to anyone. Having a patent to build and new technology to launch on the market, creating a high technology product made in Canada was not only a tagline but necessary.
We knew that ‘devil is in detail’ and aiming that we are the best in our industry was implying that every aspect has to be perfect. Specially when we realize that our perfection would point out others weakness and they would probably not like it!
We wanted a total control, when sub-contracting steps of your processes. What figures say on cotation is not what you gain at the end. So searching for consultant was a careful process. Family value in an international business were possible, if we knew what to refuse! IP, engineering and manufacturing management were meant to stay in-house… Even only the two brother and very close family for nearly two years knew about the project, before signing a first NDA, with first partners.
It is a long way then of prototyping, research, research, work, work, work. On top of what everybody says about a startup, here is a few helpful values : Control, Trust, Love
- Keep the control, keep local :
Start with the basics, fundamentally what is the beginning of your process. Coming first in the chain of refrigeration, the temperature information, so poor sensor, poor control.
If you take a poor and slow sensor, you respond slowly. A major weakness of wine cellar refrigeration systems rely on a one dollar sensor! Millions of inventory of wine and several thousand in equipment, but the major indicator cost less than a dollar! Kind of easy for us to get it right, spending 2500% the investment with a laboratory-quality sensor from Switzerland…
Refrigeration guys and manufacturers usually answer that liquid takes several hours to change temperature, whereas oenologues on the contrary justify that thermal choc is more dangerous, than slow changes. So we for the first time used a slowly variable annual setting, but very stable in an hour. We have tested with a 0.01 precision that liquid will start moving in half an hour if you apply 5°C variation . Which by the way happens every hour in a cheap and even not so cheap wine cellar. No wonder why the flyer tells humidity control, but they don’t even have a sensor or display for it!
All parts used in our Guardian Angel from Cellier Domesticus our connected-climate-control for wine cellars are mostly bought in Canada or the US for total supply control. Electronic board is manufactured by Gentec in Québec, there is no way we could not know in person every one in our manufacturing process. Final tests and wood finition is hand made, we can’t afford to deliver a non-functional product.
Keep also the CONTROL with your customer, until it’s totally done and even check for feedbacks after. Our iterative management allow us to create a loop and constantly improve our product and features to new opportunities.
- Focus on main process : For us no shortcut for efficiency and reliability,
We wanted to be totally transparent on our working process and let customer to have access to realtime information. There is no distortion or latency, we wanted to display temperature and humidity to customers and would educate them about the information and its meaning, if necessary. If your wine cellar has only two digit and showing 14°C fix all the time, he is probably lying just by a temperature and humidity next store and put it inside! Regular thermostat controller are very poor in term of computing, whereas an ARM cortex with Ethernet capability allow us a strong programming and a reliable connection as it has helped first Iphone.
There is no limitation and hardware can evolve easily our technology is not static and communicate.
The SaaS complete the hardware approach with a useful set of alerts and online monitoring to complete the concept.
Our precision make things impossible before, now easy to reach. We wanted people to be sure that their wine is protected and aging correctly. This process of showing how you are reliable build a very important thing TRUST.
- Ecosystem : You need to be in the club with the good partners
This the human part not in your business plan or powerpoint, but this will bring the deals and money. For us having approbation from customers was the first test, but less features or benefit oriented, being considered by the industry and major actors was the real business validation. Banks, investors, suppliers or partners need to be convince that you the entrepreneur is reliable. You can not hide behind your product or business!
People in your ecosystem need to LOVE who you are, what you do and how you do it. A passionate world like wine industry is particularly true on that matter.
All level and layers of industry need to be study and well known. We have spend three years to build trust and research every strength and weakness of competitors or opportunities. You need to take risk and have a strong confidence, because every one will test you. But if you think you are actually the best at what you do, you just need to be careful and give it to the right person . You will find in your business people trying to take profit of you, most likely people trying to mix friendship and business. Keep your kindness to your real friends and find partners under control, trust and love again! For the rest have fun but keep it professional!
Please feel free to share your own values to acheive success..
By Franck Boulbès, #winelover and #wine #cellar expert
CEO of Cellier Domesticus
This post is my individual opinion and does not necessarily represent Cellier Domesticus and I am not being paid by any other company to promote any products in my posts.