When most Massachusetts citizens think of the Springfield-Agawam area, visions of Six Flags New England or the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame come to mind. Tech startups, meanwhile, may not be the first thing people think about. To the right side of Agawam sits the small, suburban town of East Longmeadow, where the startup kloee calls home.
The company is creating a platform designed for smart-home devices as well as those who are on-the-go constantly. With it, users can have a one-stop location for all of their wireless commands.
In 2015, kloee Founder and CEO David Thor was in search of a new tech-related venture after the previous company he led, Cloud5, was acquired. The company was involved in the hospitality space, and it gave Thor an interest in finding a company similar to what he experienced.
Thor began to use his Apple Watch, and noticed how he was scrolling through menus just to accomplish one task. He spoke with other smartwatch users, as well as some colleagues who are connected to IoT-home devices, and they shared the same issue.
“The problem was, I wanted to find a way to simplify the commands,” said Thor. “I don’t care how I traveled around the universe, I just want to get to the destination.”
Throughout 2015, Thor researched how to make an easier way to put commands in one centralized place. After the initial developments concluded in 2016, which included “a lot of Java” on the back-end, the kloee platform was created. Not too shortly afterword, the company became incorporated.
The company’s name is actually an acronym for ‘konversational language operating environment extended.’ That applies to the main goal of the platform: to put wireless and voice commands in one centralized place.
kloee is downloaded onto a person’s smartphone, and from there, the user can pick and choose which services will be implemented into the platform. When a user wants to connect a service, kloee will ask the user to input service login information relating to the service, such as mobile banking or Spotify, and the platform will pull the information from that particular service.
“Many of the connections have to be permitted by the user,” Thor urges. “We made sure kloee was not overstepping any boundaries when it comes to both user and company information.”
The platform was built with an open API where users can implement their own features and commands. kloee has recently developed a smartphone app called SimpleCommands, where users can input commands on the phone and prioritize them by importance. It is currently available for both iOS and Android.
When kloee launched its pilot program, Thor said that users were using it to test IoT home devices. What stood out to him in the pilot, was the use cases involving smart home thermostats. Through the platform, users were able to control the heat levels in their home without having to use their phone.
Similar to many other early-stage companies, kloee is bootstrapped. However, Thor is confident kloee could raise some interest with local investors.
“Being bootstrapped has been a luxury, but based on the momentum we have been gaining, I think we can bring in investors,” the CEO said.
The idea of having a singular menu with control commands is great for those who have multiple devices. Luckily, for those who have a lot of IoT devices, or has a lot going on, kloee makes it easier to use them. With their recent developments in the app space, Thor wants to push it even further with wireless commands.
“We have this idea of the ‘disconnected watch,’ where users won’t have to pair their smartwatch with every single device. You can’t build elegant things overnight,” said Thor. “However, I think we are on the verge of some sort of explosive growth.”