Developer Interview with Carrie Ushiba of PawdPet!


Today’s interview is with Carrie Ushiba of PawdPets.  Please visit their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

130406067.jpgCarrie, thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Carrie Ushiba, mom and creator of PawdPet, a new tech accessory for kids. My background is in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage Family Child Counseling and worked as a Social Worker for Los Angeles County Department of Children Family Services for many years. My career shifted when I got married and moved to Monterey Peninsula and started working for HSBC in Human Resources. My career has taken me from social work to corporate and I’m now pursuing my dream of becoming an entrepreneur mom!

How did the idea for PawdPet come about?

The inspiration for our product began when we were on a long fight with our daughters and we wanted the trip to be smooth and peaceful. We had loaded a movie for them to watch, but after a while, they got tired of holding it in a good position and became frustrated as young children often do. So then I held it steady for them. But after awhile, I found it tiring and uncomfortable. My daughter has a favorite stuffed animal, her “bun bun” bunny rabbit. I thought, hmmm, maybe that’ll help. Sure enough, bun bun saved the day. We propped the phone onto bun bun’s belly and he held it in a good position and voila, success! The girls were happy and still for the rest of the trip.
I hand-made a version for my children to use, and wherever we went, people would say, “that’s cool… and that’s a brilliant idea” That’s when we thought, “why isn’t there something like this on the market?” – a cuddly stuffed animal that children would love and that could hold, carry, and protect their iPhone, iPod, or tablet. At that point, PawdPet was born!

And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the first PawdPet?

We kicked it into high gear two years ago after a full year of due diligence of product research and patent process.  We launched our product in October 2015 at the Gearapalooza event in San Francisco with The Bump Club and Beyond hosted by Jaime Grayson aka The BabyGuyNYC.

Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?

We hired an industrial design firm in Oakland to help with our branding and design.

What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?

The biggest challenge was communication with factories overseas.  We were dealing with multiple factories to make our PawdPet so communication was critical to ensure all the parts came together to create one complete product.  We had manufacturing set-backs due to lack of communication and misunderstanding.  Today, we have an established relationship with our multiple factories and communication has improved since the beginning.  After initial set-backs, we decided to partner up with a company that assists with on-site quality checks and direct communication with factories to ensure improved communication and manufacturing processes.

Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?

Prior to development, we launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to support manufacturing cost.  We successfully raised more than $30k – thanks to our family, friends and new PawdPet fans.  It was through our successful Kickstarter campaign that led us to where we are today.  We are very grateful for the ongoing support and love from our dear family, friends and PawdPet fans all around!

What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more PawdPets?

We will continue to promote PawdPet to increase sales.  We are currently working on generation 2.0 of new design and fun animals.  Due to customer’s request, we have started manufacturing a 2-pack of steel plates for additional devices.  We will continue to listen to our customers as we strive to grow and expand our product line.

What sort of feedback has PawdPet been receiving so far?

Because it’s a brand new product and there’s nothing like this out on the market today, at first glance, people think it’s just a stuffed animal.  However, once they realize it’s more than just a stuffed animal, it’s multi-functional, they are intrigued!  Kids love the cuteness of it and parents love the practical and multi-functionalities of PawdPet!

And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?

I’m a firm believer in – “You don’t know until you try!”  Everything starts with an idea… don’t think too hard about what IF’s… just GO FOR IT!  You don’t want to live wondering or thinking about it – give it a shot and see how far you go.  The most amazing journey is all about the process, not the end result.

Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company.  We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!

Want a chance to win a PawdPet? Check out our giveaway below!


If you would like to win a PawdPet!, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to those in the United States only and you must have a valid physical mailing address. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Interview with Nancy Smith, Co-founder and CMO of Bevy

Today’s interview is with Nancy Smith,Co-Founder and CMO of Bevy.  Please visit their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Thank you Nancy for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I have long had a love of technology that makes a difference in our lives. I was the head of Marketing for iRobot (the makers of Roomba) for over a decade and developed a great appreciation for making complex technology simple. I am married with a 5 year old daughter and my family is a huge reason why I decided to co-found Lineage Labs and help create Bevy. I love sports (pretty much all of them), being outside on a sunny brisk day, playing dress up with my daughter and I struggle daily with the elusive work/life balance.

Can you tell me a little bit about how your idea for the product came about?

My Co-founder and I come at it from different angles so I think that really helped us come to a great solution for a family. In his house, he’s the tech guy- his wife wants to use the photos and his son is the best photo taker in house while his other daughters contribute and consumer the photos in their own way. The one constant was that they were always going to him to handle/fix/manage it all and it drove him nuts. For me, I was more concerned about how on earth I was going to find all these amazing photos I was taking in years to come. How would my daughter ever find these if they’re locked away on some old phone? Together we look at the problem that families have with photos and we created what we believe to be the best solution for families.

I know I have lots of pictures on all my devices, can you tell me how this device would make my life easier?

Bevy pulls in photos from your mobile devices (either automatically or manually—you choose), it has multiple USB 3.0 drives so you can plug in old media to it, we also have a built in SD card reader to make it easy to pull in pictures from your DSLR cameras. We also have apps for your computers (both Mac and Windows) that will allow you to bring in all your old photos so they’re in one place, then you can access them all from anywhere you are through the app on your smart phone.

Bevy connects via wireless, how do I ensure my photos are protected and safe?

The first time you connect to Bevy from your device in your home we create a secure 256 bit encrypted connection between the two, this creates an incredibly secure connection and also allows Bevy to know who’s adding what photos to Bevy to make it easier to search more later. Also because all your photos are stored locally on Bevy in your home, you don’t have to worry about anyone having access to them in the cloud.

How has the market feedback been?
The feedback has been incredibly positive. People have become accustomed to technology that’s difficult, so they’re initially nervous or intimidated about bringing new ‘tech’ into the home, we focused on making the tech intuitive so all you have to worry about is actually enjoying your photos. You can see some testimonials on our website.

Tell me about how people are using Bevy in the home? Is it a good way to share photos with family and grandparents?
Bevy is designed for the family experience. For people to add and share their photos. When you think of a typical family weekend; Dad is with Johnny at the baseball game and Mom is with little Liv at the lacrosse game both are taking pictures, with Bevy Mom can see all those pictures that Dad is taking and vice versa. Johnny comes off the field, looks at Bevy and sees a great pic Dad took of him at the plate and instantly posts it on his social channels, Liv can do the same without ever bugging Mom or Dad for the photos. When they come home the photos are playing on the TV screen in the living room. It’s that easy. We have also seen grandparent really getting into it. They want to see photos but in the past it’s been tough to share with them either because they don’t have a lot of tech in the house or it’s tough to share more than a few photos. With Bevy, whether they have their own their house that you and other family members contribute to, or if they have access to your Bevy they’re more involved and able to see the pictures without having to ask for them.

Is there anything you want to share with our readers?
If you’re interested in a Bevy, we would like to share the code: iMum50 this will give you $50 off of Bevy!!
Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company.  We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!

Interview with Henning Overgaard of Poly-Control

Danalock Version 2

Today’s interview is with Henning Overgaard of Danalock.  Please visit their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Henning_Overgaard_2015Thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I founded Poly-Control over ten years ago after I found that I was constantly giving out keys to my home to various people from dog walkers to my children and I was concerned about having so many keys out in public. As time has gone on, we have moved from a keypad model to a bluetooth enabled Danalock which can be opened from your phone, Bluetooth keyfob, virtual key or a physical key.  This means that you can set specific times that individuals can access your house (great for cleaners and dog walkers) as well as the ability to create virtual keys which can be one time use.

How did the idea for the Danalock  come about?

We created the Bridge App which you can install on your iPhone that allows you to unlock and lock your house door remotely.  The Danalock uses wi-fi and bluetooth to unlock the door remotely.  Using the app, you can lock and unlock your door and one of the new features is that you can turn off your home alarm as well when you unlock the door.  That means that if you are a parent and juggling groceries, a child or more, you can unlock the door without having to worry about shutting off the alarm.


danalockAs a mom that sounds like a great feature!  One thing I worry about though is forgetting to lock the door.

When you unlock the door via the app, you can deactivate your alarm.  Even better, if your home alarm is compatible with the app you can also set the alarm to re-lock and arm the alarm directly from your device instead of using the keypad.

Tell me more about the Danalock?

We created it to be used by everyone.  It’s simple to install in your home – even if you are renting.  You can retrofit your existing hardware by simply removing the back of your current deadbolt and then putting in a small retrofit kit which will allow you to install the Danalock without having to change out hardware or make larger holes in your door.  We have a video below, which shows you a bit more about the retrofit required, but it’s simple and straightforward for anyone to do.  The video shows a mom changing out the lock and installing the Danalock.

One of the other nice features of the Danalock is the ability for it to integrate with other #connectedhome devices including home automation, the Nest or Harmony thermostats.  You will be able to adjust heating and cooling, turn on and off lights as well as set or disarm your alarm system.

Can you share the pricing on the Danalock V2?

Sure, the Danalock V2 comes with two options.  The first is $179 which will have the Bluetooth only feature meaning you can unlock and lock your door using your device and the Bridge app.  You can also use a keyfob which is perfect for kids to enter and exit the home or perhaps a contractor.
The second Danalock is a dual version which includes Bluetooth and either Z-Wave or Zigbee compatability.  This means that you will be able to disable your home alarm system when you unlock your door and re-arm it when leaving your home without ever having to physically touch the keypad.  This version will be sold for $199.

We will be selling the Danalock V2 via Polycontrol, Amazon and other retailers by the end of November.

Henning, this product sounds like a great one for parents, those with young children or even older individuals who might have trouble opening the door.  I know that it would be great if I didn’t always have to pull out my keys to open the door and instead could do it via my iPhone.  I can’t wait to learn more about it!



Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company.  We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!


Interview with Einaras of CUJO – a device to protect your #connectedhome

Today’s interview is with Einaras, the CEO and Founder of CUJO.  

Thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself Einaras.

Hello, I am the founder and CEO of CUJO. I have worked at a variety of technology companies with significant revenue growth due to experience in all facets of the business.  I was recently named one of Goldman Sachs’ “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs.” At little bit about  CUJO, a plug-and-play, smart home security device that protects the connected home from the latest and most-sophisticated virtual intrusions such as malware, viruses and hacking techniques.  We will be launching a campaign via Indiegogo on September 15th, so stay tuned for more details!

Here is a video preview that tells a little bit more about it!

How did the idea for CUJO come about?

We saw that every minute 3-4 people tweet that they got hacked. And we kept reading stories about baby monitors getting hacked, electronic doors being opened remotely, and personal info stolen from PCs by hacking smart connected devices.

How will CUJO work?

CUJO acts as a gateway between your devices and their connection to the Internet. We analyze behavior and secure all devices connected to your network – from PCs, thermostats, baby monitors, and more. This is critical because the majority of smart devices don’t have pre-installed security. Unlike traditional solutions, CUJO adapts and reacts when your home network is attacked and does not rely solely on the libraries of known malware issues.
CUJO is a plug-n-play device. Once you connect it to your router with one cord, you will be able to see on a mobile app which devices are connected to your network and receive alerts when your network is attacked.

Until I can get a Cujo – how do you recommend that I keep my home network and smart devices safe?

Please visit our blog at for a number of tips. Also, sign up for our email to get 7 tips for home Internet security. Most importantly, change your router password and make it at least 12 characters long (alphanumeric with a symbol).

What is the difference between Cujo and commercially available anti-virus software?

Traditional security software is built to only protect your PC. With so many connected devices in your home, your personal information is now accessible through various gadgets. Once connected to your router, CUJO protects your entire home network.
Anti-virus and anti-malware software that you have on your PC mostly fails to protect you against hacks. Virtual criminals penetrate your network using vulnerabilities found in your router and your connected devices. Once they are in the network, traditional security software is mostly incapable to keep your information secure. One rogue device exposes your entire network, including the PC that has traditional security software installed.

How will I know if my network is safe and secure?

You will get a super-easy-to-use CUJO app for your phone and tablet. It will notify you whenever we block a threat. You will also see a complete list of devices that are connected. You will be able to use that app remotely, when you are not at home.

With Cujo can I use my baby monitor safely without worrying that someone will hack into it?

Absolutely. This example is one of the reasons that got us to start CUJO. As a parent, this hack was critical for us to address.

Can you give some tips on best practices for staying safe on the internet?

Make sure to use ultra-strong passwords for your router, your computer, really anything. At least 12 characters with alphanumeric with a symbol(s). For many more tips, please visit our blog

If I use a hotspot that I provide (like my smartphone) is that safer than public wifi?

Absolutely. Public wifi’s are super dangerous since other people on the same network can rather easily access your connected device. Whatever happens, avoid connecting to your bank account when on a public network.

What happens if someone tries to get into my network that is unauthorized? Do I get an alert via my device or do I just get an email?

You will get an app alert. You can also opt to receive email alerts.

Thank you so much for talking with us today Einaras and sharing a bit about your company.  We really appreciated the chance to get to know you and learn more about CUJO!