Founder Series: Robin Knox, co-founder of Boundary

From left - Robin Knox and Paul Walton
From left - Robin Knox and Paul Walton

What does your company do?

Boundary aims to disrupt the home security market with its new smart home intruder alarm system. The system – which is currently in its final stages of development – will comprise of a low cost electronic hub and motion and door sensors that will be paired with an app. There will also be a service offering so that people can control and take advantage of police monitoring.

What do you do there / what is your role?

I’m the co-founder and assume the position of CEO, so my role is varied but largely focuses on setting the overall strategy and direction of the business with a commercial and product focus. Building the team that will go on deliver Boundary once we officially launch later this year is also a major part of my role.

What is your background?

I started off as a medical student and then I set up my own indoor paintball centre in Edinburgh. After this, I co-founded Intelligent Point of Sale (IPOS), an electronic point of sale software firm that was acquired by iZettle, a Swedish payments company. iZettle has since gone on to become part of the PayPal group.

What was the aha moment that led to the company founding?

The idea for Boundary started while I was on my honeymoon. I realised that if I was burgled there was nothing I could do but watch events unfold on smart camera. The alarm that I had did not offer good user experience at all, so on returning to Scotland I looked around the market for a reasonably priced self-install security system but I couldn’t find one.

As I researched the market, I found that established market leaders with expensive alarm systems suffered from damning online customer reviews and acres of negative media coverage. It was clear to see they were not providing a good service.

Disappointed by the existing technology on the market and the high price points, I began to explore how technology could transform the sector. My co-founder, Paul Walton, and I felt that we could build something that was better looking, easier to use and with better features for less money. So we did.

Where did you get assistance when you started?

We sought out experts in the fields of hardware design, electronics, firmware and manufacturing/supply chain, and all of the areas that we had knowledge gaps in. We then began to build a complimentary team that would allow us to meet our launch timeline ambitions.

Give us a brief history of the growth of the company

We’re very new right now, so there isn’t a lot of growth just yet. Our team is still small (we have 6 employees in total) and we are marching towards a Kickstarter launch in the first quarter for 2019, with our official launch scheduled for the end of this year.

Have you taken any external funding? If so from who and when?

Not yet. So far myself and Paul have used some of the proceeds of our last business (IPOS) to fund the company and we plan to go out to the market for investment very soon with the aim of raising around £2m in equity funding.

What’s the difference between when you started and now in your marketplace?

It’s still young so there’s not a lot of change just yet, but AI is heating up in the security space and is one to watch.

What is your target market –  Who is buying your product / service?

Our target market will be primarily homeowners living in detached or semi detached houses. We also foresee smaller segments being small business owners and renters.

What are your goals for your business?

We aim to reach 100,000 installations in 3-4 years time.

What are your biggest current challenges?

There are many risks to manage and a lot of unknowns. This project needs to be kept running at certain pace and we must achieve our regulatory compliance before we go on sale.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Starting up a business is a constant challenge but some of the main ones are finding talented people, learning about a new industry and overcoming regulations that we must adhere to.

What do you know now that you wished you had known earlier?

There were a lot of learnings with IPOS around people management and trusting your instincts that have come in use for this new venture. Nothing has bitten us too badly so far but I’m sure something new will come along in the months to come.

What’s the secret to good leadership?

That’s assuming I am considered to be a good leader! I think there are many many things that a leader needs to consider but some of the fundamental things are the fair treatment of people, giving everyone the opportunity to be heard and making a safe environment where people can challenge or make mistakes without fear of reprisals.

Where do you see the company in five years?

Boundary should be a household name in the UK in five years, synonymous with being a great low cost, simple product that people can rely on to protect their home.

How can the Scottish startup/entrepreneur landscape be improved to help more businesses start up and grow?

I believe that there should be a simplification of the government initiatives and grants that are available to businesses so that there is a clear path for them to take with less paperwork in the process.

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