How did you come up with the idea for the business?
In 2017 my personal sailboat broke anchor, floated to shore, and never alerted me. It was really embarrassing for me because I had previously been developing remote monitoring and surveillance equipment for the CIA, US Air Force, and the borders of countries. But, I didn't have equipment that could protect my own boat. I ended up seeing a need in the market in early 2017 and decided to quit my full-time job and took the leap into entrepreneurship with Barnacle Systems Inc.
Why does the industry need the solution you're providing?
Our primary market over the past couple of years has been the military and government (Navy, Special Forces, and others) - they needed a way to review enforcement missions, training exercises, and vessel health status. They required a solution to securely store engine diagnostic data, vessel attitude data, and video footage in a single device that can be used without an internet connection.
Previously, the solutions found by these customers required multiple products followed by the post-processing of the collected data (aka Excel Spreadsheets) to understand the outcome. With our latest products, BRNKL Black (for military) and BRNKL Blue (for yachts), all of the engine, security sensor, and video data is stored locally on a 1TB to 4TB hard drive and can be seen on a single dashboard either locally on the vessel using a web interface or remotely on a mobile app if an internet connection is available.
Our platform provides a simple solution to replay onboard data similar to how you'd replay a movie, but instead of only showing video you can also see data visualizations containing GPS position, engine RPM, sudden impact data, and many other sensor inputs.
What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?
I've truly enjoyed growing the Barnacle team! Knowing that my silly vision back in 2017 is now a career for 12 people enabling families to go on vacations, have kids join sports, and so on, is one of my greatest joys in life!
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
Developing hardware is inherently challenging, but doing it as a bootstrapped company (with no outside investment) made it extra challenging. However, we had many early customers who enabled our growth and who needed a solution to remotely monitor their boats in our local boating market. The early grit and determination was instrumental in developing a product that met customer needs and had undeniable success in the harshest environments.
Any bits of advice for entrepreneurs getting started in this space?
Build confidence with your customer base early and do everything you can to delight them.
What's the plan for the future of the business? Where do you see the company in 3-5 years?
Over the next 3-5 years, Barnacle Systems will be expanding to support additional NATO military and government customers. In addition, we'll be bringing our pedigree of military-grade surveillance and security products into the larger yachting market to satisfy the bespoke security needs of those vessel owners.