Ken Rapp of Blustream

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Ken Rapp (co-founder and CEO) of Blustream, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Blustream – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

Blustream was originally founded by my colleague Bob Bean when he had a product problem and no way to solve it. Over time, his beloved Taylor guitar developed a crack, and he was beside himself for not taking better care of it. It wasn’t because he didn’t try- he didn’t know he had a problem until it was too late. Bob reached out to Bob Taylor, the President of Taylor Guitars, to figure out a solution, and Blustream was born.

Now, we are helping physical goods companies build after-sale connections between their products and customers. By integrating with real-world data and IoT sensors on tangible products, our platform collects aggregate usage, environment, and performance analytics for brands and delivers automated education, alerts, and purchase recommendations to end-users.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

We’ve encountered hurdles big and small since launching Blustream. We’ve been working behind the scenes to perfect our product and platform, and are now ready to face our biggest hurdle yet in identifying new customers who are in need of an after-sale customer engagement solution. We have been educating the market on the need for product data in the customer and product experience lifecycles. Physical goods companies can and should use their products to provide an even better customer experience after a sale, ultimately improving the relationship between brands and their customers.

What does the future hold for Blustream?

We want to be the after-sale customer engagement platform of choice for physical goods companies, including guitars, pets, food, plants, lawn and garden materials, homes, and more. Companies who leverage data from purchased products can strengthen customer relationships to ultimately increase revenue, decrease churn, and deliver better customer experiences. With today’s available real-world data from sensors, weather, and more, companies can develop a strong relationship with their existing customers and establish a line of communication to regularly provide incentives, alerts, and recommendations.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Worcester?

As a mentor to budding entrepreneurs in Worcester via the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, I would say that the future is bright for many of these tech entrepreneurs. I look forward to watching the startup scene continue to thrive in Worcester.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

As I’ve said to many previously, I’m passionate about marrying unmet needs with practical solutions to create value for customers. My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to identify an unmet need in the market before developing a product. Some of my most successful ventures have started by creating a company and finding a need prior to developing a product or solution.

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

One thought on “Ken Rapp of Blustream

  • November 25, 2020 at 12:54 pm
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    I have seen Ken’s passion first hand as part of his first entrepreneurial company and his point of finding an unmet need is by far the most important factor of how successful (or not) a company is going to be. There have been countless great ideas and well engineered products but if these ideas or products do not help solve a problem or meet a need then the chances of failure are infinitesimally higher. Ken mentioned “after-sale customer engagement” or what I would call “stickiness” as the hook for Bluestream and appreciate just how important this aspect is in generating success. If your solution causes an increased stickiness between the product and consumer, then the chances are higher that your solution will derive a greater value for both the consumer and the product owner thereby increasing your solutions overall value.

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