Beginning this month, we are introducing a new series called IoT Leaders – whereby we pose a short series of questions to a stand-out executive/entrepreneur who specializes in wearables, home automation, connected retail, connected cars or smart cities.
Our first profile is of Nate Williams, the Chief Revenue Officer of August Home, Inc and board advisor to the IoTC.
Nate is one of the most positive, provocative, and connected leaders in IoT -- a rising star well known in Smart Home circles. He has crafted some of the most progressive deals to date in the IoT sector with a variety of partners that include Verizon, Apple, Airbnb, and Coldwell Banker. Nate’s experience spans enterprise (Greenwave, Motorola) and consumer IoT (August).
In addition to being an active angel investor and advisor, Nate can often be found cycling competitively in Northern California and spending quality time with his three young children.
What was your introduction into the IoT sector?
In 2005, fresh out of graduate school at UCLA I was asked to research Home Automation trends in support of our product development planning at Intel Corporation. In addition to assisting Intel Capital on the due diligence of iControl (early pioneer in Smart Home Security), I also analyzed the trends of convergence between Media and Automation. This eventually led me to meet the founding team at 4Home, where I joined as the first “business hire” and ultimately became the #2 in the company. Motorola Mobility acquired 4Home in 2010 and I joined the Management team of their Software & Services group running Marketing and Business Development. Motorola Mobility was acquired by Google in 2011.
Over 10 years and several strategic transactions later, I still feel the sense of awe and enthusiasm about the possibilities of IoT to not only impact industries but also improve lives. I have dedicated my career to being an operator, investor, and cheerleader for the sector and along the way met some great folks!
How did you get affiliated with IoTC? what is your role there?
I became affiliated with the Internet of Things Consortium through Jason Johnson (Founder & CEO of August). I knew he had been gathering smart minds around SF to discuss opportunities in IoT. Those informal “jam sessions” became some of the early foundations of the IoTC and I volunteered to jump in as a Board Advisor in 2014.
My current role at IoTC is chairing the membership committee in support of Greg and the IoTC staff. In my role, I leverage my relationships across the industry to bring new partners into the consortium and perform due diligence on prospective members. What separates the IoTC from many other interest groups (besides not proposing standards!) is that we have an invitation-only membership policy. We screen the prospective companies and members to ensure that they will contribute to the industry, not only maximize their company’s agenda. So many members including Jim Hunter from Greenwave and JP Abello from Nielsen are committed to deliver on the promise of IoT.
Name a big IoT trend that isn't getting enough attention.
The Enterprise IoT sector continues to lag behind Consumer IoT in terms of attention and press. The sheer scope and scale of the Enterprise opportunity is massive and something I believe we’ll see much more attention on in the coming year. The power of IoT to tectonically impact an industry, whether it is transportation, manufacturing, medical, or utilities is unmatched. At one point Cisco had calculated IoT could provide 14 trillion dollars of economic value in the next 10 years.
Because I have the pleasure of leading August’s go-to-market efforts in the consumer space, I have developed a fairly good sense of what opportunities can scale in the B2C or B2B channels. For example, enterprise grade IoT platforms like Greenwave Systems (my former startup) combine the agility of a consumer startup with the deep technical expertise and international footprint of a large Enterprise player.
Are there any sites/people/articles or books that have really inspired you lately?
Site = Twitter, between following IoTC and other main influencers I am getting a firehouse of great data.
People = One of my mentors is the former SVP of Corporate Development at Cisco and Enterprise Angel Investor Dan Scheinman. Dan is involved with some of the most innovative companies in Enterprise right now such as Arista Networks, Zoom, Greenwave, and Sentinel One. It was really inspiring for me to hear about how he developed his vetting process for angel investments and how to be “value add” as an investor. It certainly reinforced how I want to help the startups I advise/invest.
Articles = I absolutely loved Jason Rosenthal’s post “How to Build a Hard Tech Startup” on Medium. Totally insightful around leading hardware teams developing cutting edge technology literally breaking new boundaries along the way. Inspiring!
Books = I blogged about my reading Habits in 2016, but I would say the most inspiring book I’ve read in the past year was “Mans Search for Meaning”. As a father of 3, very important that I can align my vocation with my values.
In 5 years, where will we see you?
Continuing to be associated with the most disruptive entrepreneurs and startups in the Internet of Things industry. Firstly, I love the challenge of taking a new product/service and working across the permutations to find product/market fit. At Greenwave, we found that with a massively impactful and very strategic relationship with Verizon. At August, we used hero integrations with Alexa, Siri, and Google/Nest to make our Smart Lock a hero product in over 5,000 doors in US and Canada. Along the way, I’ve also got to help early stage IoT startups such as Roost, Matterport, Cirrent, and Data Science as an Angel Investor and Advisor. Transitioning from player to coach/cheerleader as I build teams and deploy capital is something that challenges me and I look forward to opportunities where I can increase the global impact of my work.
So in 2022 I would expect to see me back from CES 2022 (possibly) recovering from the annual “show cold” but with (hopefully) another year of IoTC success stories and learning under my belt!