MySnapCam: Analysis of an Atlanta Start-Up November 23rd, 2010MMM Tech Perspectives YATES PERSPECTIVES Analysis of an Entrepreneurial Start-up – MySnapCam By John C. Yates Starting an early stage company has never been easier thanks to technology, the internet and innovation. Start-up businesses can accelerate their path to profitability with limited capital by outsourcing business operations like accounting, hosting, sales and marketing and support/maintenance. If done correctly, a start-up operation can become a viable business in record time. Consider MySnapCam (www.mysnapcam.com), a plug-and-play internet enabled company. The company addresses an important problem facing homeowners by providing a cost effective solution with inexpensive yet effective technology. The company’s path to growth highlights the opportunities for entrepreneurs to start-up new businesses quickly. A few aspects to consider: Understanding the Problem – For years I’ve been looking for a cost effective solution to home security. Third party security services are useful, but their effectiveness is limited largely to notification of the homeowner and police. By the time the police arrive on the scene, the culprits are long gone. A different solution is needed to address the problem of break-ins and catching the thieves. MySnapCam recognized the need for a different solution to the problem of break-ins, especially for the owner of a vacation home. Cost of Video Surveillance – Traditional security services have offered video surveillance technology for years. It’s expensive, difficult to install and maintain, and requires technical knowledge on the part of the homeowner. The cost and time required to implement a video surveillance system is too great for many of us who have been looking for a simple and cost-effective solution. Hardware Requirements – Traditional video surveillance also required special hardware being operated by the homeowner and generally a digital video recorder dedicated to the video camera surveillance. For those challenged by VCRs and other technology, an additional, dedicated and incompatible hardware device was unappealing at best. New Technology – New technology has allowed companies like MySnapCam to enter the video surveillance market with cost effective solutions. Small, inexpensive cameras provide state-of-the-art technology, such as excellent video, motion detection capability and user controlled settings over the web. For MySnapCam, the key has been to build a business around integrated technology solutions available at low cost with high reliability. The Internet as the Key – The availability of the internet and bandwidth has allowed MySnapCam to pursue the broad home surveillance market with a reliable, low-cost solution. Millions of households now have internet access and permit video surveillance through simple connections to a router in the home. No longer are dedicated video surveillance services required. Remote Hosting – With the growing number of data centers, web hosting is readily available at low cost to companies like MySnapCam. Therefore, their customers no longer require dedicated hardware devices for recording video images – – the recording can be handled by MySnapCam entering into an arrangement with a hosting service to provide off site recording of video images. This also prevents the intruder from locating the DVR in your home and destroying it to prevent detection. The Importance of Wireless– MySnapCam has also addressed a major impediment to wide spread adoption of video surveillance in the home market – – the requirement to have a cable hook-up to a router. The MySnapCam solution is wireless, permitting the camera to be placed anywhere that power is available in the home. Simple Solution/Simple Installation – Many start-ups have been burdened by technology that creates challenges with implementation and support. Not MySnapCam. Technical support was easy and provided by a proficient representative who actually knew and understood the product (I assume that she is also a user). She was available on my schedule to walk me through the installation process (which was easy) and helped me troubleshoot one minor issue (which was largely a problem with my laptop settings that we easily fixed). Certainly this level of personal attention will be more challenging as the company grows, but for now MySnapCam has another happy customer. The Price is Right – For the minimal cost of one camera and a modest monthly fee (around $20.00), I now have video surveillance of the main section of my home available over the internet and through my Blackberry. I receive notifications whenever motion is detected in the house (and I can change the camera settings easily over the web). MySnapCam provides an affordable solution to a problem that could previously be addressed only through dedicated hardware, service technicians and expensive video surveillance companies. MySnapCam represents the ease with which a start-up company can be established in the age of the internet. As long as innovation continues, companies like MySnapCam will find ways to displace more expensive and imperfect traditional solutions that have limited the ability of consumers to adopt desired solutions. Postscript : I own no stock in MySnapCam, do not represent the company, and have no affiliation with them. This information is presented for educational purposes and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Opinions expressed are those of the author and not of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP; see disclaimer at http://www.www.mmmtechlaw.com/privacy-policy-and-disclaimer/. Contact John Yates for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments? Join the discussion on the MMMTechLaw LinkedIn group page.