Editor’s note: Startland News selected the top Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2018’s companies. To view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch, click here.
Joel Teply and Heather Spalding — the married duo behind Cambrian — might be the only two in Kansas City who are excited about winter.
The augmented reality tech startup is taking advantage of the cold-weather months to refine its Home Harmony app, as well as ride a wave of enthusiasm following Cambrian’s $100,000 LaunchKC win in September, Teply said.
“We’ve been able to make our engine a lot more powerful, so the graphics themselves are more realistic looking and we can do more with animation,” he said, describing the improved functionality of the DIY app that allows users to more accurately visualize home makeover projects using a smartphone. “We can create much more realistic lighting. … It’ll be faster. It’ll be more accurate. It’ll be more compelling.”
Building a richer environment for users — which will include furniture, appliances and even items that move — is only part of the development equation, he said.
“As an entrepreneur, you have to stay pretty focused on your target market, but I want to expand on the consumer interface to give them a compelling reason to come back to our application,” Teply said. “As much as I like working on augmented reality, a lot of what I’m thinking about this year is what we can offer to get consumers to use this on daily basis and really incorporate it into what their dream is for what they can do in their home. It’s about creating community experiences, sharing of projects. … This year is about creating a much more important app.”
To do so, Cambrian is taking advantage of the networking resources and other side-benefits of the LaunchKC award, Spalding said.
“The momentum is really still there. We’re just trying to use it to our benefit as much as possible and not let all that momentum go to waste,” she said, noting an effort has begun to raise funds. “We’re securing some contracts, but we really want some explosive growth over the next 18 months. We’re looking to quickly do a funding round, so we have some funding to focus on our own tech and marketing. We want to be known outside of Kansas City as well, and to have people downloading our app, so we can really solidify our place in the market.”
While Cambrian’s to-do list seems to always be growing, Spalding said, she and Teply are excited to grow their team, as well as to be able to afford the top-level talent needed to make the company a continued success.
“We want to not only have the best technology out there, we want to be proud of what we make,” she said.
Though Cambrian emerged from under-the-radar status in the fall, the tech startup has enjoyed critical backing from Kansas City for years, Spalding said.
“Even before the LaunchKC win, we’ve just had the most unbelievable, wonderful support from the people of this city,” she said. “I can’t imagine a greater place to start a business like this. We’re so lucky to be here. We’ve gotten the most incredible love from everyone we’ve met.”