The movie Minority Report depicted fun looks at the future, including the retina-scanning department store that identified the shopper in the store, analyzed their buying habits and told them about their favorite items and specials. That day is almost here, thanks to New York based Brouha. Their website describes how it works: You get an RFID card from participating stores. Then, when you walk in, a mat antennae picks up your signal, sends your information to their cloud base and you receive a message in seconds. If you have a mobile phone, it shows up just like a text message. As Chaz Mee, CEO and Co-Founder puts it, the company fits “Any place with a front door that wants to make a one-to-one connection; to spot customers as they walk through the front door.”
Chaz says they are “pretty rich with resources”, thanks to their tech partners. “There were a lot of people who didn’t think we could pull this off,” he says. But when they were convinced, “we were supplied with lots of equipment and knowledge from large RFID hardware manufacturers” (good lesson for entrepreneurs on leveraging, ed.). “We have been given free equipment – simply enormous support for a relatively small startup.”
Now the company faces a double abyss. “Now we are really launching a real product with a real business model,” Chaz states. And the funding that will be necessary will be a big issue, “they are coming together very quickly.” But inspiration to see it through abounds for Chaz. For support, he has many friends, some who think he’s crazy for trying (a common trait for entrepreneurs) but who all keep him positive. And he has a great Co-Founder, someone with a completely different skill set to complement Chaz’s.
The company began with a somewhat backward approach. “Most companies start with a business model. We started with a very loose premise: ‘Why doesn’t a physical space understand that I have entered that space without my having to do anything?’” This unorthodox approach has caused hurdles which have been, in Chaz’s words, “typical stuff,” bootstrapping, finding the right partners, worries about pricing; but that doesn’t faze him. “…it’s part of the adventure and part of being an entrepreneur.”