Editor’s note: Startland selected 12 Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2019’s companies. Click here to view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch.
Pepper’s elevator pitch: Pepper is an independent, multi-tenant Internet of Things communications platform. What Nest or Ring, or these other sort of big brands do to deploy connected, consumer devices –– what they had to build to enable that device to communicate with the user is this massive communications infrastructure –– that’s what Pepper is. The difference is, Pepper is independent. For everyone who doesn’t want to spend $10 million on a platform and build it, they use Pepper.
Intruders are infiltrating homes across America. Slipping quietly through front doors, cleverly cloaked in the tech of loyal consumers, explained Scott Ford.
Founders: Steve Bosch, David Bottoms, Scott Ford
Founding year: 2014
Amount raised to date: $15 million
Noteworthy investors: KCRise Fund, Leawood Ventures, GXPI (Evergy), Royal Street Ventures, OpenAir Equity Partners
Current employee count: 22
“Most consumer devices in the marketplace have communications platforms that are in China or owned by Chinese national companies –– which is a bad thing,” said Ford, CEO of Pepper IoT.
Having identified a growing need for device defense, Pepper is a highly disruptive company ripe for growth in the new year, Ford elaborated of the company’s focus on American-made products.
“As the market evolves to realize that you can’t have data from your camera going to China, those manufacturers and retailers and others who are in the IoT business will be required to look for a domestic partner to enable those services,” he said. “And frankly, we’re the only one that exists.”
Click here to read about Pepper’s cyber security solutions.
Dramatic growth in 2018 has poised Pepper to further gain steam in 2019, Ford said, revealing the company found the majority of its 500,000 user base last year.
Ford anticipates multiplying company partnerships and subsequent client reach, alongside Pepper’s number of users in the new year, he added.
“To be a startup company on the leading edge of one of the biggest technology advancements of our time is exhilarating,” Ford said in anticipation of the future at Pepper. “The fact that we are disrupting a major set of activities that are extended inside of the U.S. by a foreign national government is –– it’s super exciting.”
Ford optimistically sees Pepper as having the potential to be a company that serves as a catalyst in the growth of the Kansas City Startup Ecosystem, he said of the company’s rising star in the IoT space.
“We are very proud to enable and to do our part to elevate [startups] in a way that hopefully [they] can benefit from successes that we’ve had in the global marketplace,” he said.