For Jess Phillips, being a problem solver is simply who she is. It’s why she pursued a nearly 10-year career as a psychotherapist and child protection therapist.
Now, she’s using her skills for a starkly different path as CEO and co-founder oftech startup Hyprcubd.
To outsiders, the transition may seem abrupt. But Phillips views it as a natural extension of what she always has done — helping others identify and solve problems and achieve their goals.
“I personally have always been a problem solver. It was me searching out, ‘How do I continue helping people?’” she said.
Hyprcubd’s launch is rooted in another problem Phillips was trying to solve: finding a high-quality GPS tracking device for protecting her children and others. When she didn’t find a suitable option, she decided to invent one. Her device now is patent-pending and trademarked.
Through that experience, she encountered a number of frustrations, which led to founding Hyprcubd with her husband, Nick, a software engineer. One challenge, for example, was choosing Amazon Web Services, which offered more than 175 products and services from which to choose.
“It’s really hard creating an (Internet of Things) company because there’s so many things that you have to piece together. … It can be daunting,” she said. “How do you know what to choose? How do you connect them together? … Once I send my data to them, how do I visualize it? How can I be sure my device is working correctly? These issues were the things I wanted to know. I wanted to solve them, and once I did, I wanted to provide this solution for other founders, inventors and entrepreneurs.”
Hyprcubd removes the guesswork for inventors and entrepreneurs and provides a one-stop-shop Internet of Things (IoT) platform. Some features include managing devices and data, helping companies bring their devices to the cloud and providing real-time access to valuable data. Hyprcubd also provides device monitoring to help companies easily identify issues so problems can be fixed. The startup aims to make IoT innovation significantly cheaper and easier, Phillips said.
“We’re hoping to help other people bring their dreams to life,” she said.
For Phillips, running a tech startup hasn’t been much different than being a psychotherapist. She’s applied a number of the same principles to her new role: self-reflection, knowing that it’s OK to fail, and then moving on and learning from mistakes. Another key is being a good listener and accepting critiques from customers.
“I think that’s imperative to growth, that you’re always willing to evolve and meet the needs of your clients by working at, ‘What can we do better?’” she said.
Beyond customers, her top priority has been listening to advice and lessons learned from other local entrepreneurs and mentors, including Lesa Mitchell, managing director of Techstars Kansas City.
“Her advice and mentorship has been key in guiding me and just empowering,” Phillips said. “No matter what you’re doing, whether it be psychotherapist or tech, I think keeping your drive and being authentic to who you are is very important. … Helping people solve their problems – that is who I am. I’m a problem solver, and so that truly has been the root of this entire process. … It’s exciting to help other people succeed while also having a company that is meaningful to us.”