Editor’s note: This article is underwritten by Plexpod — a progressive coworking platform offering next generation workspace for entrepreneurs, startups, and growth-stage companies of all sizes — but was independently produced by Startland News.
Building a company that solves real-world problems for tech founders isn’t easy — but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, Jess Phillips said.
“It can be daunting, expensive and overwhelming to say the least,” Phillips, co-founder and CEO of Hyprcubd, said of the Internet of Things platform — designed to make it easy and affordable for fellow founders in the IoT space to bring their devices to the cloud as fast as possible.
The Liberty-based company also offers them assistance with connectivity, device management, and data management, she said.
“The industry is difficult to navigate. It’s difficult to know where to start, to piece together everything needed from the backend, to make sure the device talks to the app, to ensure the infrastructure is efficient and to decide what services to use,” Phillips said, offering a glimpse at what can become a “nightmare” scenario for founders.
“With a company such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), they have more than 175 products to sift through and services to sort out. It is difficult to know how to choose the right one. That takes time. How do you know what to choose? How do you connect them together? What are my costs going to be? All of these are unknowns,” she detailed.
With Hyprcubd, a variety of data from sensors and devices is combined in real time, stored, analyzed, and visualized in such a way even the most tech-novice business leader can understand it and use it to make informed decisions nearly immediately, Phillips said.
“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.”
That platform can be set up in roughly 15 minutes and costs companies $10 per device — a massive savings for young companies especially, Phillips said.
The company was born serendipitously in 2018 when a project Phillips had been working on collided with one led by her husband and co-founder, Nick Phillips.
“It grew from two people who had two issues. Nick was working for a large company and he kept running into the same problems at work and, of course, they wanted to throw money at it and engineers at it. He said, ‘You know, I can fix this,’” she recalled, adding she was at home listening to her husband’s problem while working as a psychotherapist.
“I said, ‘Do I take the route of fixing it?’ as a wife and say, ‘This is what you should do, honey,’ or do I take the route as a psychotherapist and analyze it and tell him what he should do? Either way it wasn’t a win-win.”
Ultimately, Phillips decided to give her husband a friendly and motivational nudge in the direction of tackling the issue himself — all the while navigating a problem of her own.
“In the same timeframe I was designing and developing a device. I had this invention idea and he was supporting me,” she said, citing the day a cup of coffee turned the couple into caffeinated co-founders.
“We realized that Hyprcubd and my invention were essentially growing together and it was a very interesting kind of growth. I knew how difficult it was to navigate and bring this device to the cloud and all of the pieces that were involved in that.”
Nearly three years later, Phillips has found herself leading the company and fully immersed in Kansas City’s evolving tech scene — supported by leading innovation and entrepreneurs support minds such as Lesa Mitchell, managing director of Techstars Kansas City and marketing experts that include Aaron Fulk and Eze Redwood at Lillian James Creative.
Phillips also serves as a mentor for young women in tech through Underground Social and she and her husband participate in programming offered by Code For KC.
“Stepping into this as the CEO of Hyprcubd, knowing that I could make a difference and an impact in other women’s lives and in the community — and be a voice, because we are few and far between, there aren’t that many women in the tech industry, it speaks to my heart and its just so exciting,” Phillips said, sharing a glimpse into her past, which saw her growing up in computer science classes alongside her mother.
“I sat in the computer labs of Kansas State University watching my mom in her computer courses. I look back and remember thinking, ‘Oh, this is just so boring,’ but I realize now that that had such a huge impact in my life,” she said, hopeful she can influence her two young daughters and her son in a similar way as she and her husband work to scale Hyprcubd.
“Knowing that I had a very strong mother who always gave me that drive and [showed me] that you can do anything — and I’ve always believed that — I feel like I’m passing on that you really can do anything if you put forth the effort and the work. And it does take a community!”