Troy Harvey of PassiveLogic

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

At the time I founded PassiveLogic, I owned a buildings engineering company called Heliocentric. We helped developers and owners create next-generation, energy-efficient buildings. It was clear there was a big gap between the tools we needed for accurate controls and what was available on the market.

We had already started doing simulations, using physics to build controls, when Jeremy Fillingim hired our company to design his new home – a modern structure with a glass envelope. Concerned about the control problem, he asked me, “How am I going to cool and heat this thing? All the control systems are terrible” and I said, “Well, that’s the current state of the market”. Jeremy became the co-founder of PassiveLogic, and together, we’re solving that problem.

Our core insight was that today’s nascent AI and machine-learning systems are usually purpose-built for one task. It became clear we needed to create a generalized solution that anyone could use for any purpose, a platform designed for autonomy.

Our research indicates that the biggest use case for generalized autonomy is buildings, which represent 25% of the world economy. Unlike cars, each building is a one-off, with entirely custom needs for autonomous controls. Buildings represent both our challenge and our market.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

The investment community tends to move in waves. When we started, things like buildings, hardware, and automation were not a core area of investment for most VC firms. We had to teach the market about the problem we were trying to solve to get their buy-in. That took time.

What does the future hold for PassiveLogic?

PassiveLogic today is a company that’s working on all these deep technologies (system autonomy, AI, control systems). We’ve taken that one initial product idea (the Hive platform for autonomous buildings) and we’re breaking it out into a bunch of other products.

We’re going to launch an ecosystem of about ten products simultaneously this year, which is pretty unusual for a startup.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Salt Lake City?

Salt Lake has a nice combination of a rich tech market and great lifestyle factors that largely revolve around the outdoors: climbing, skiing, canyoneering. This combination of tech and lifestyle seems to be a big draw for a lot of people moving here, including many of our employees.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Ignore all the startup books – almost everything they say is wrong. You don’t need to start fast and fail fast. What it really requires is an unreasonable amount of persistence. If you can see something the market wants, even if the investment community isn’t there yet, you need to build it and teach them before they come around. That may take some time.


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

One thought on “Troy Harvey of PassiveLogic

  • Dr Lynne DeWeaver

    I loved the phrase “unreasonable amount of persistence “, as it always seems to an important part of any success story!

Comments are closed.