An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Dwight Stewart (founder) of Igor, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Igor – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
The idea for Igor came about when I thought about how a turn-key model smart building solution along the lines of a Lego Kit could transform the way companies operate by lowering costs, shortening build times, and empowering business outcomes with the digital transformation of spaces. The market was small in terms of companies playing in the power-over-ethernet and internet-of-things space and I saw the opportunity to be the smart buildings provider who would set the standard for the future. My vision was to build technology that can connect devices within a space (like lighting, sensors, and more) to create a smart building hub and IoT digital framework. The goal was to take what the market thought was complex and simplify the smart building experience, all while improving value. With this idea in mind, Igor was founded, and we quickly built a team of industry experts who brought my vision to life and have helped Igor become an industry leader in the last eight years.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
The biggest hurdle I have encountered during my journey with Igor has been selling the value of PoE and IoT. It can be difficult to convince electricians, architects, and contractors to change their ways and go away from traditional line voltage installations. It really is a matter of showing the value of our technology (whether that be lower installation costs, energy savings, sustainability, improved occupant experiences, etc.) to these skeptics and getting them on board with the fast-growing smart building market. We are seeing greater adoption of PoE within a variety of market verticals including offices, healthcare, education, and hospitality, and having the support of these industry professionals is essential for this growth to continue.
What does the future hold for Igor?
Igor is really just at our beginning phase, and I am so excited to see what the future has in store for us. We are rapidly growing and innovating each and every day. The size of our team has more than tripled in the last year, and each of our team members are making meaningful contributions to our technology and culture. I am proud to call Igor a human-centric company, which places an emphasis on employee satisfaction and inclusion.
Our technology continues to improve and is rapidly being developed to meet the demands of the smart building market. Be on the lookout for the release of some of our newest technology updates in the coming months. As we look towards the future, our goals include creating plug and play solutions that can be implemented in a variety of sectors from offices to education. Our technology has such a strong foundation, and we will build upon that to expand our product offerings. I am optimistic for Igor’s company outlook for this year and beyond and expect to see our growth only continue.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Iowa?
It’s very exciting to see the amount of local tech startups in Iowa. Within the Des Moines area alone we have seen such growth in the number of tech businesses using Iowa as their headquarters. I saw so much potential in starting a company in Des Moines, an up-and-coming area, and am happy to see that other entrepreneurs like myself are thinking similarly. There are many talented tech startups in the state, many of whom were featured on the Best Tech Startups list including MakuSafe and LenderClose, both of which are making significant impacts in their industries. I am looking forward to seeing many more tech businesses choose Iowa as their home in the future.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
For those aspiring to be entrepreneurs, I would say the most important advice is to always be willing to ask questions. Be humble enough to realize you do not have all the answers and there are people out there who can help. Be willing to find a mentor and work with that mentor to help you throughout the process from ideation to implementation to growth. Other entrepreneurs, myself included, are always happy to answer questions and help those who need it, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help or advice.