Cloudflare TV

Founder Focus

Presented by Jade Wang, Beray Bentesen
Originally aired on 

Qubitro has built a platform that enables developers and businesses to develop connected solutions faster and easier with its SaaS IoT platform and services.


Transcript (Beta)

And we're live! All right, welcome to another episode of Founder Focus. I'm your host Jade Wang.

I run the Cloudflare startup program and with us today we have our guest Beray Bentesen.

Welcome to the show. Hey, thank you. So Beray, you're the founder of Kubetro.

Could you tell us very briefly what it is and the problem that you're solving for IoT developers?

Sure. Basically, Kubetro is an IoT application development platform which lets developers connect any network-capable devices and then get actions quickly without doing any infrastructure or coding.

And what it saw is, you know, IoT projects require some deep technical knowledge and it takes time.

And it's also cost a lot at the beginning to the companies, also to the developers.

So basically, we eliminate all those complex development processes and our goal is making things also simple as well as much cheaper than current solutions.

Can you do a quick demonstration for us via screen sharing? Sure.

Of course.

Is it okay? Yeah, yeah, I can see it perfectly. Yeah, so for the user interface, we basically offer one single website where you can browse your projects, see devices that you connected, and then you can browse all these devices when you start sending data without dealing with any integration.

We automatically understand what you're sending, what you're visualizing.

So, for example, you can go to the details, all this info, and then you can also create some rules for smarter actions.

For example, when the value exits some value, you can trigger your own APIs or you can use another third-party services.

So, you can also build a basic dashboard where you can combine different devices data to get some, you know, smart and easy visualizations.

So, it doesn't require any third-party integration.

As I said, they just work. So, on the device page that you were just at for a moment, I see a raspberry pi, I see something from Adafruit, and I thought I saw something from Particle, but maybe that was on another screen.

It might be from a different project. Right, it's here. Okay, cool.

So, you're compatible with everything, right? So, if it's connected to the Internet, then yes, we are.

Because we act as a software as a service, so it requires a different Internet connection, but we are protocol agnostic and hardware agnostic.

So, we provide the documentation, libraries for devices to make it even easier while you are connected to Kubetro.

So, including examples, even our own client libraries we offer.

So, we can visit them, you can build charts, download data, you can sort.

So, this is the user interface, but more importantly, we just don't offer this user interface.

Under the hood, we offer services.

So, for example, when you want to connect, make a connection between devices, you can also use Kubetro's many services without dealing with user interface.

It combines the most commonly used technologies, such as MQTT broker, time series databases, all those other stuff.

And we also offer them as an API. So, let's say you want to build your own application.

It could be a mobile application or another website.

So, you don't need to even use this user interface.

You can completely build your own solution still without dealing all this setup, writing code.

So, by taking feedbacks, we are improving both user interface and APIs day by day.

So, in short, it's what we do and what we provide.

Nice. So, you have been in private beta for some time now and just launched recently.

Can you tell us how the private beta went and how your launch has gone?

Sure. Well, the timing was not good for the private beta, as you guess and as the visitors guess.

We were mostly dealing with the technical stuff. But also, at the same time, we had to deal with incorporation, all these legal stuff.

We had a small but very active users during the private beta.

This is why we kept long private beta.

So, we got feedbacks to be able to offer most commonly wished features instead of putting everything we can because the possibilities are endless.

So, for us, that went well, even though all these situations.

And then, just 10 days ago, we made a public beta launch, finally.

And actually, it went well for a week.

And now, since things are just working, we are more focused on the introductions, putting more examples.

So, we are happy right now. Thanks. Oh, I have an email question.

So, I actually forgot to say earlier in the episode, for our viewers, if you have a question for Biré, feel free to email or call in your question.

The information is also down below. And if you're watching on a mobile client, you can just tap on the phone number and it will start dialing.

So, the email question from the audience, how does Kubetro protect the privacy of its clients?

Okay, good question. In short, we don't manage and we don't take responsibilities for the hardware side, but you can disable and deauthorize devices through the user interface or APIs.

You can even block for temporary time.

So, we offer our customized authentication through our, how can I say, the site where you connect devices.

So, you don't need to download and deploy authentication keys or other stuff.

So, by taking the advantage of being software as a service, we are trying to deal from our site instead of devices.

So, let's say you forget your device somewhere else, you can just visit the portal or using APIs, you can remove device or deauthorize.

So, it's currently how we deal with that, but there is endless possibilities for the security, which is also another huge part of the IoT sector.

So, we will see what we will be offering. So, of the participants in your private beta and your early users, do you see a lot of them, are a lot of them sort of hobbyists who are individual developers or are they using it in their workplace?

What kind of friends are you seeing? Sure. We targeted mostly IoT -related people.

We may call them makers. Their daily routine is working on IoT projects, whether as a hobby or as a part of company.

So, they just connected some different kind of devices and sensors.

Someone tried building some commercial solution.

There were even startups that we got their feedback. They were trying to monitor their own hardware solutions.

They were trying to build a customer application by using our services.

So, we didn't work with large enterprise during private beta, but I can sum up the audience like this.

So, how have you and your team been holding up in 2020?

What adjustments have you personally had to make or as a company have had to make for the interesting year that we have been in thus far?

Sure. We made it to face the situation for sure, but day by day, people were reflected in different ways because everyone has different personality.

The things came up so quickly.

So, what I tried was I put myself isolated so that I was taking responsibility of everyone.

By chance, we were even lucky to hire people since people had more time and flexibility.

Every place was closed. It didn't affect so bad for the development side, but we got more affected by the regulations, legal stuff, you know, incorporation.

So, all these processes put us back at least two months back.

So, that was the story. We even tried to go into office space in the middle of the crisis.

And right now, we're back to remote again. So, I was familiar with working remote and it was my personal goal while I was building this company.

So, we didn't have any problem since we were just coding or, you know, having meetings.

And one more good effect was I increased my one-on-one mentoring during these months.

It perfectly helped. I was able to reach many, many people from different countries, companies that would take more time if I was trying in the normal times.

So, yeah, I would sum the situation like this and I hope it's going to be fixed ASAP.

Yeah. So, looking on the horizon, what's on the roadmap for you in 2021?

So, we are excited, actually, because as I said, we believe that products work well.

So, we will be more focusing on making intro of the platform and the Qubitro on different platforms, on different websites, putting more content.

So, it will be a combination of the marketing as well as partnering because we are in a good space for becoming partners with different companies, whether they are startups or enterprise.

So, right now, we actually started doing some partnerships.

So, we will be increasing those partnerships and we will be, of course, hiring more people.

Of course, as a startup, we have investment opportunities on the horizon for sure.

But starting the new year, we will be doubling everything in short.

Let's dig deeper a little into the partnerships.

Can you tell me more about them and what you have on the horizon?

And what you have going on now? Sure. While we were developing the product, it wasn't possible to build this from scratch, this solution from scratch, because it requires so much experience.

And thanks to the hardness of the space, there are not so many companies that you can ask help.

So, we had to ask companies for both our technical side and also for the business development, marketing.

So, we got the advantage of those companies during the private beta.

But just after the public launch, we even announced today, for example, we partnered with one of the largest communities, the Things Network and some companies like that.

And our product is compatible with a solution that already works.

So, we can divide partnering into two, actually.

One is for my personal development and my company's development by asking help.

And the other part is for increasing visibility of the Qubitro.

But we will be more focusing on the second part right now, because we got lots of good feedback and help from those companies.

And now it's time to use all these opportunities and increasing visibility.

So, we will be partnering with hardware companies, as well as protocol companies, such as Sickbox and the Things Network and other IoT network providers.

And of course, we will be partnering with more startups.

So, I would answer that like this. Now, usually in this show, we'd like to focus about half the time on the startup and half the time on you personally and your backstory.

So, now that we're at the halfway mark, let's zoom in a little.

Let's take a closer look at your origin story.

Can you tell me a little bit about what motivated you to start the company and how you recruited the first members of the team?

Sure. I was interested in this space when I heard the terminology called IoT for the first time.

So, I just kept working with all these device stuff.

They were coming up new. And there weren't so many services or solutions at that time.

So, and then day by day, the popularity increased, and I didn't stop my hobby because that was a hobby at that time.

And then I had people around me that were also working on the IoT space, by whether producing hardware or combining new services to build some products.

So, I got questions from many people as an idea.

And then I thought, I basically didn't like any existing solution.

So, I just wanted to try something from scratch without knowing all this technical stuff, without knowing how it's going to work, or maybe not.

So, I just put the idea into existence with the basic landing page. With just ideas.

And as people, I attended some physical events in different countries and cities.

So, and then I saw the interest. And I just kept moving. And the first hiring was, of course, I needed technical people.

Not surprised. So, it was basically just asking close friends.

For their close friends. And I was lucky to start with some talented people.

And then things just worked. So, that would be the beginning story.

You're actually, I think, the first Turkish founder I've had on my show.

Or at least a founder whose company is based in geographically over there.

And I must confess, I'm not actually very familiar with the tech scene.

Over there. Can you tell me a little bit about what the tech scene or the startup scene is like in Turkey?

Sure. Of course, I'm in a, I have deep connection to all these startup community.

Whether by, you know, attending accelerators or programs.

So, to sum up shortly, it's pretty new. It's a pretty new space in Turkey.

It's becoming more popular for sure. But it was about eight or ten years ago.

But mostly, let's say eight. When the terminology startup was becoming popular.

But there weren't any accelerator or even the accelerator term wasn't so popular.

So, there were just some, you know, events. But it wasn't for motivating people to become an entrepreneur.

It was more like about announcing, hey, these are the terminologies.

And this is what US does. All these, there's a transformation in different countries for sure.

So, but more and more, the next accelerators came up.

And the startup programs came up. The tech giants and other giant companies, large enterprises, introduced different programs for different verticals.

For insurtech, IOT, you know, by time. Depending on the popularity for sure.

So, but I will tell you, for the last four years, you know, the speed were multiplied or even tripled.

So, now every company tried to build some connection with startups.

Startups. And even, you know, banks, technology companies, the collaborative working spaces introduced in the last three years or four years.

So, now there's a good space here. So, by time, we were seeing more and more entrepreneurs for sure.

More startups came up. And the number is increasing pretty well these days.

Even though all this crisis. So, and in the global social media, we see more Turkish startups.

From GameSpace, for example. For software as a service companies.

And I hope we will be one of the tech companies to become one of the first deep tech startup.

Of course, it's our goal. So, in addition to these, you know, since it's pretty new, people didn't know whether they should be an entrepreneur or not.

But now they are able to get in touch with founders quickly with startups.

Even they are student or not, no matter what age they are.

There are so many events physically or online. So, they can get the quick info.

And of course, with the latest technologies, we can keep our connection with the valley and the other most popular places easier than before.

So, I don't think it's a super bad thing being here.

And it's becoming more and more unnecessary barrier.

But of course, it's still not being in the valley. So, for sure.

But as I said, not just startups, but also leading people trying to connect all those minds together by removing the geographical barriers right now.

I hope that makes sense.

If anything, I feel like in the year 2020, a lot of geographical barriers have been lifted because everyone has to work online and remotely.

Yeah. Yeah.

It's our chance right now. Yeah. Exactly. So, oh, another audience question emailed in regarding Birey's personal development.

How did friends help you throughout the day, especially your lawyer friends?

Lawyer, you said, right?

Yes. Okay. Of course, getting help is, you know, I need to get help from different spaces.

One of them is legal. So, I was pretty new on this stuff, you know, regulations from US and Europe, because it doesn't matter whether I'm in Turkey or not, the company based in US.

And since we are responsible from data from everywhere, every, you know, we had registered people from even places we don't know.

So, I have to also improve my personal knowledge. So, of course, they helped me on this journey by, you know, introducing legal terms and, you know, updates.

So, yeah, I would sum up it like this. So, let's shine the spotlight a little bit on your personal development to this point in your personal journey.

And let's rewind back to the first time you started to code or your first coding project and hardware project.

And your, you know, previous startup and your experience at Microsoft.

Can you tell us that story arc up to this point? Sure, sure.

I was dealing with, you know, I was interested in computer since my childhood, for sure, like many other tech startup founders.

But I always wanted to build something from scratch.

So, I started learning by myself the C language, the old one.

But I just wanted to learn another language, you know, introduced by Microsoft, which is C sharp.

So, my goal was definitely jumping into the Microsoft as early as possible when I started the university.

So, that was my motivation. My motivation was also building mobile applications, which was pretty popular at that time with the beginning of the iPhones and other Android devices.

So, I just started learning.

I just put some mobile application in the market by myself.

Of course, they weren't functional. They weren't solving any problem, but it made me able to join the Microsoft at least.

So, I joined as a student partner and then I jumped to do long-term internship, which I first time met with all these IoT stuff because they just came up at that time.

But of course, it was still a hobby.

My main goal was building internal Windows application and all those cluster was pretty new.

I was basically moving all local files to the application by writing, of course, code and application.

So, but of course, I didn't stop there.

I just wanted to learn new and more technologies. I was more developer focused.

And also, after a year or something like that, I jumped into another startup.

And my position was also still building mobile applications, but for a more serious purpose.

It was more complicated. So, and then I wanted to build hardware as a beginning of this journey, maybe.

And the idea was same. I just wanted to combine most common use sensors on a single board, which was looking nice, easy to program by putting good documentation.

And then I realized easily, it's not an easy market to enter in.

It wasn't like programming. You had to be responsible from regulations, customs.

That time, geography was super important, unlike being a software as a service company.

So, even though we sold a few ones, it didn't take so long to understand it's not gonna work.

So, at that time, I was more interested in, all these IoT solutions.

And then that story came up, which I told a little bit minutes ago, a few minutes ago.

Thanks. Well, we have about three and a half minutes remaining on the show.

So, I guess we'll go for just one last question, which is if you found yourself in a magical Zoom call with a version of yourself from a year ago, can you tell me about what that conversation would be like and what you two would talk about?

Yeah, I would definitely tell myself to buy some Zoom stock and Tesla for sure.

But for the business purpose, I would say, I would probably be more focused on the business side rather than the technical side.

But it had to be like this. So, that would be the first advice that I would tell myself.

So, yeah. In addition to buying purchase, purchasing some stock option, I would tell this one.

And perhaps also stock up on hand sanitizer.

Yeah, right. Yeah. All right. I guess one last thing before we disconnect. Do you have any kind of book or movie recommendation for the audience?

Anything that you've enjoyed yourself recently?

I would recommend book this time. I would recommend The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, which would be a great fit for even my personal journey and for any founder, entrepreneur.

I love that book.

That would be the book that I would recommend. Well, thank you. I love that book.

I highly recommend that book as well. There's so many close calls with companies being so close to the edge and then pulling through.

It's definitely a lot of inspiring stories.

Yeah, sure. And a lot of good tactical advice. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show and for staying up late for us.

It was great having you on the show.

Yeah, thank you very much. And thank you for the show. So speak soon.

All right. Thanks. Bye. Bye.

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Founder Focus
Founder Focus is a “Humans of New York” style spotlight on the human stories behind diverse startup founders, their life experiences and perspectives, the origin stories of their startups, and the path they took to where they are today.
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