Monkey is a chip that enables keyless entry by making your intercom smart. Monkey is the world’s first solution that users can install themselves into their intercom phone in their home without having to change a single thing at their door. With the monkey chip and app you, your family & friends and service providers can enter your building without a physical key.
Monkey is the missing link for complete keyless access to your home as it perfectly matches any smart lock on your apartment or house door. monkey offers the opportunity to expand the smart lock market to millions of new users who have been excluded from keyless entry so far as they live in apartment buildings or houses with gates.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Daniel Jahn and I am a Co-Founder and Managing Director at LOCUMI LABS that developed monkey. I am responsible for sales, financing and legal. Before founding monkey, I’ve worked at Barclays Capital in Frankfurt and London and did my MBA at INSEAD.
Never give up on the media or potential partners. If you’re convinced your product is worth it, continue to reach out to people even when they don’t respond to your first attempts.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
I usually arrive at our office by bike. And that’s where the routine ends as I can never foresee the developments that are going to arise during the day. At the moment, we’re experiencing a fast growth period and events are pretty unpredictable. I currently divide my time between managing our Kickstarter campaign, business development as we build our network with major customers and service providers as well as meeting with journalists and investors.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
I am a German national but I never lived in Germany until I started studying at the TU München at the age of 19. I was raised in Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia and still feel half-German half-emerging market.
How did you come up with the idea for your product and what made you “go for it?”
That’s a rather long story. When we founded our company in 2014, we first developed the LOCUMI parcel bag, a physical dropbox at your doorstep that allows you to send and receive deliveries in your absence. But we already knew – and our first customers confirmed that – that guaranteed access of the delivery men was crucial. That’s why we started developing monkey in the background. Soon we realized how much more potential monkey bears and how much value it can bring users not only in terms of unattended deliveries, but also in terms of (shared) keyless entry in general. That was when we decided to sell our parcel bag segment and pursue monkey further.
What made you decide to go with crowdfunding (or venture capital)?
We chose Kickstarter as a platform to prove market demand for our product to our investors and be able to implement our early adopters’ feedback into the development of monkey.
Launching monkey on Kickstarter has definitely been a major turning point for our product and the whole company. After 24 hours, we had already reached half our funding goal. We are really excited about our supporters’ enthusiasm for our project and their incredible feedback on how we could take monkey even further.
What really struck us was how supportive our backers are, making our project their own and creating a strong sense of community from the very beginning.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made with your product (financial, emotional, educational) that led to the product we’re experiencing today?
Selling our first product to a major German lock manufacturer and entering a completely new market segment with small to no overlap to our former business, has been demanding at times. In the beginning, it was hard to throw over board all our future plans for our first product but in hindsight focusing on monkey has been the best decision. This way we can make sure monkey gets all the attention it merits and we can ship our product to our customers with the quality, functionality and design we aspire.
Where do you see your company or your company’s focus in 1-2 years?
We want to create a platform that enables all kinds of services to our customers’ doorstep and into their homes by providing guaranteed access for service providers. Our vision is that in the future people come home from work and find fresh flowers on their table, fresh food in their fridge and their online orders safely guarded inside their homes.
If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heartache, what would you tell yourself?
I’m gracious for the small mistakes we might have made because they prevented us from committing bigger failures. I believe that venturing out and trying something new while allowing for a small failure margin is the only way of learning continuously and coming up with real innovations.
Get market feedback as soon and as numerous as possible. Don’t wait too long until bigger companies implement promised cooperations.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life and work and why?
My family and Dr. B. Without the great childhood and amazing support by my parents and girlfriend all of this wouldn’t be possible. Dr. B obviously also deserves a lot of credit as we are in this together and are able share the good and the bad on a daily basis.
Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to facilitate a successful financing campaign?
1. Never give up on the media or potential partners. If you’re convinced your product is worth it, continue to reach out to people even when they don’t respond to your first attempts.
2. Get market feedback as soon and as numerous as possible. Don’t wait too long until bigger companies implement promised cooperations.
3. Choose the right people.
What do you see as the biggest advancement in your technology sector over the next 5-10 years?
The smart home trend, coming from the USA, will reach the mass market segment in Europe. Ubiquitous internet connectivity and integrated solutions will make our lives a great deal easier and will relieve us of purely routine organizational tasks.
What do you see as the biggest risk in your technology sector over the next 5-10 years?
The biggest risk might be missing standards for smart home solutions, impeding one integrated smart hub. We’re aware of that challenge and want to be a role model by integrating monkey with as many smart locks for apartment doors and smart hub solutions as possible.