SDVoyager magazine features Charles Speidel CEO and Co-Founder of Pred Technologies.
Thanks for sharing your story with us. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I worked 19 years for one company, Sony in the consumer electronics area, bringing great gadgets to the market. I was lucky enough to move across different leadership roles for them in France, in the UK, in Denmark and last but not least in the US, this is how I ended up in our beautiful city of San Diego, where I headed Sony’s Innovation Centre. Moving and living in different countries has been very valuable for me and my family but at the same time after so many moves, and having landed in beautiful San Diego, I consulted my wife, and 2 kids and we decided to make San Diego our permanent home, instead of Sony sending me back to Europe. I was ready for a fresh start, a new career where I would be my own boss and take a break from the crazy corporate life! After a first run at heading a start-up to test the waters, I decided one year and a half ago to launch my own venture! Pred Technologies was born!
Has it been a smooth road?
Starting a company sounds very sexy, and it is, but it comes with its own challenges. Besides raising capital, having “ the good idea” whether its services, app, store, restaurant, etcetera, then you face the unsuspected issues; especially after a long career in a well-established company like Sony, which offered all the resources to get things done. Not having dozens of people that work in finance, operations, sales, marketing, legal, insurance, taxes, product engineering, product marketing, social media….well now you have to do all of the above and more with about 0,001% of these resources!
Having limited resources is the biggest challenge for a hardware company like ours, the access to consumers, basically how do we get our product in the hands of consumers, of course we sell online, but the biggest volumes in our business gets done by filling the shelves of retailers, and this takes a very long time when you are a new brand. To share an example, we had a successful campaign on QVC with our Hands-Free Smart Speaker TOKK™, but it took more than 9 months from the first meeting to having our product air on TV!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Pred Technologies story. Tell us more about the business.
At Pred Technologies we create inspired products that connect you to the world you love.
Our first product was TOKK™ and it is the first smart wearable assistant on the market. TOKK™ magnetically attaches to any garments, it is perfect for anyone on the go! Ask Siri or Google Now anything, Take calls, Play music & much more without the need to see or touch your phone!
One of my proudest moment was when I packed and literally brought to USPS the first 3 product that we sold to consumers through our website! Since then, of course we sold a lot more, but this was very meaningful as it was the results of 5 intense months of hard work, raising funds, incorporating our company, designing and manufacturing the products…
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I have 3 great news for the consumers: gadgets or electronics like TV, mobile devices, speakers, computers and so on will be cheaper, smarter, and with more choices than ever before. First electronics will be more affordable than ever thanks to the increased access to “cheap technologies and chipsets”. Second devices will be smarter than ever, thanks to the increase of the use of software and AI (Artificial Intelligence) in products, and third they will have more and more choices of the brand! Take today a new category: the smart home speakers like Amazon Echo, Apple Homepod or Google Home, they will become inexpensive very soon, they will offer more options and be smarter to help users in their daily lives to shop, remind you to do things, entertain you and you will have tons of new brands coming to this market very soon !
My mission for Pred Technologies is to be at the forefront of these trends, offer the finest and most innovative products to the consumers!