uHoo can detect the air quality and check the chemical composition, dust, humidity, air pressure, carbon monoxide and more resulting in a healthier home and workplace.
Product / Service Offering: Indoor air quality sensor
Co-founder Interviewed: Dustin Jefferson Onghanseng
Other Key Management Team Members: Brian Lin
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
I’m not a fan of rules and norms. I like doing unconventional things and experimenting on things. Building a sustainable future and using technology to help people be healthier motivates me.
When did you establish your uHoo, and where did the idea originate?
We got idea in the dorm rooms during our MBA program at HKUST. The school dorms and buildings had awful air quality, and we often got sick. My co-founder, Brian, and I were particularly sensitive because we had asthma and hay fever, respectively.
uHoo came from solving our own problems! We pitched to different MBA competitions globally and have won a number of awards. Seeing that it had legs, we decided to drop our classes in 2014, incorporate the company and work on uHoo full time.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
We take 20,000 breaths each day. Unless we have a problem, we don’t think about what we’re breathing in and how that air might affect our bodies. uHoo can detect the air quality and check the chemical composition, dust, humidity, air pressure, carbon monoxide and more.
We provide users information and knowledge to be more proactive in managing and creating a healthier home and workplace.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
With eight measurable components, we have the most number of sensors in any one device.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge is funding. We have a hardware component. The upfront capital is massive and can’t be compared to other software or app-based startups. We overcame it by throwing all our savings into the company, inspiring engineers to join our team with minimal to no salary, and then we just sat down and built the product. We eventually raised a small round of funding that was sufficient to complete the R&D.
What resources have you utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
We just had to reach out and talk to investors. What I would do differently is raise a larger round of funding in our first round instead of raising a small round.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Lack of funding to scale and meet our market demand.
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