This week I chatted with Gonçalo Louzada of Whitesmith, the company that brings us Qold, a device that aims to help in temperature control.
What is Qold and how did the idea come about?
Qold protects the goods of businesses that require a controlled temperature environment. Effortlessly. It monitors the temperature of cold chain systems, triggering intelligent alerts if a value is undesired and generating reports.
We came up with it in when a restaurant business man was talking to one of us, complaining on how time and energy-consuming it was to manually register temperatures several times a day, because of regulation. Qold solves this and even adds some features, without the need
of a big investment.
Who is it aimed for and what is the main problem it solves?
Qold started aiming at SME’s, mostly restaurants, or other food & beverages establishments (butcheries, grocery shops, supermarkets, etc), but virtually it can serve any place that needs a cold chain temperature monitoring system to protect its goods.
What’s been the reaction of the early adopters who have been testing your product?
We’ve been having great feedback, as early clients like to explore the system, make suggestions, tell us what they’d like to see Qold do and what they like the most. But this really depends on what the client wants. For example one of our early adopters enjoys seeing the temperature chart, relate it to what’s happening in the places they’re monitoring. But other just wants the effortless report in the end of the month to comply with HACCP regulations. There are different client profiles.
When do you predict you’ll be ready to go to market?
Now. Qold is already in the market. There are always improvements to make, there will always be, but anyone that’s interested in monitoring their equipments, can reach us through our website (qold.co) and get one.
How long will it take before the Internet of Things becomes commonplace?
It depends on how you define commonplace. Nowadays, there are easy, cheap implementations of IoT technologies available to the public like our own qold. In the future what will probably happen is the technology used will get smarter. What this means is that, instead of having so much sensing, many of it can be replaced by smarter solutions like instant feedback. Lets say I am in a room. When I leave, I’d say “hello room, you are too cold”. This may take 10, 15 years to accomplish, as it involves the “hello room” becoming a natural thing to think when you leave the room. This way, by providing a bigger value to the users, the Internet of Things will become much more ubiquitous.
How is the European startup scene when compared to the USA?
The USA have something Europe is only now starting to scale up, and no, it’s not money: an ecosystem. In the USA, you have these large ecosystems where startups thrive. And when they get successful, it usually also has to do with that whole ecosystem, that provides not
only the conditions but also the network, the market, the culture, which makes a huge difference. In Europe, these hubs are starting to grow (London, Berlin, …), but there is still a path to go through. One of the interesting things is that USA hubs like the Valley are now
more and more interested in European startups, and this may be the final click that undermines this barrier between startup cultures.
What other startup is on your radar and why?
Well at Whitesmith we deal with many startups from various contexts. More specifically for Qold, for example we subcontracted our PCB design to Enging, another Coimbra startup.
Here in Coimbra there are several startups working. More specifically at Instituto Pedro Nunes (where we are too), we could mention CoolFarm, they work in incorporating new technologies in agriculture. We’re always looking for possible partners that can add value to our product (tech or business wise), national and international.
Find out more about Qold at qold.co.