A: I started out with this project two and a half years ago, just tinkering around with the idea. I raised a little bit of seed money to start exploring the technology, ultimately building some proof of concept devices. In the Fall of 2015, I was accepted intoto participate in their accelerator program, and I spent that time working on the design and engineering and preparing for a Kickstarter campaign, which launched in January of this year.
A: Switcheroo is a simple little device that allows you to change which outlets in your house are activated by your existing wall switches. Most homes in the U.S. have switched outlets (outlets that turn on and off with a wall switch, generally with a lamp plugged in). Right now, if you want to change which outlet is turned on and off with a wall switch, your options would be to run extension cords or have an electrician re-wire your house. There are smart home solutions out there that allow you to automate home lighting, but they are expensive, overly complicated, and require the use of a smart phone app or Wi-Fi to function properly. With Switcheroo, you simply plug one into your switched outlet and set it to send mode, then plug one or more other Switcheroos into any other outlets in your house and set them to receive mode. Plug in your lights, and you are done. When you flip the switch, all of the lights turn on and off together. It works great plugged into a timer, or with Christmas lights to turn them all on with one switch.
A: Now that the Kickstarter campaign is done, we have switched over to taking pre-orders on, and we are exhibiting at a few home and garden shows, including Pittsburgh’s this weekend. We are also hard at work planning production and getting ready to mass produce the first batch of Switcheroos.
A: I am not an engineer, so I have enlisted the help of some fantastic team members to make Switcheroo come to life. My background is more on the business side (marketing, project management, account management, software development, etc.), but I am just technical enough to get into trouble. I have been working with talented electrical and mechanical engineers and industrial designers to get the product fully functional and ready for mass production.
A: The most exciting thing about working in Pittsburgh is the ecosystem here.and are great ways to grow an idea into a company, but there is so much more going on here, too. I love the way that the maker movement has grown so much locally, and the amazing talent that you can find around town to help solve basically any problem you can think of. Pittsburgh is big enough (especially with some big local universities) to have pretty much everything you might need to get something done, but still small enough to provide a great sense of community that I don’t think you would find in a larger city.