The FORT Podcast: Sce Pike

Sce Pike is the Founder and CEO of IOTAS, a complete smart apartment ecosystem with simple installation giving residents the best user experience for their Smart Apartments. On this episode, she and Chris talk about the early days of the startup, the importance of getting right in front of your customers, how IOTAS is helping users at the property management level, Sce’s experience during the DotCom Bubble, and much more.

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(01:42) – Sce’s Story
(03:40) – What did IOTAS look like early on as a startup?
(05:49) – Are there things about IOTAS that might have been different if you hadn’t started the company in an actual apartment?
(08:19) –  Can you explain the IOTAS product from a software perspective and how it integrates with hardware?
(10:33) – Are you a better fit for someone building brand new units or are you able to integrate with an already established apartment?
(12:14) – For fully operating complexes, what is IOTAS’ process for coming in and integrating everything?
(13:28) – What are the most common ways that tenants are using the product?
(15:08) – What does it look like at the property management level?
(16:37) – Is there data on the average savings amount you’ll present to potential customers?
(17:17) – Do you provide reports on efficiencies?
(17:59) – What’s the long term vision for how the IOTAS set up works?
(18:36) – Is there anything that the IOTAS product is doing that you didn’t expect?
(22:42) – What are the biggest bottlenecks for your ability to scale?
(24:50) – How did the partnership with Amazon come about and why did you choose them?
(28:46) – What’s the difference between using Alexa without linking their account and actually linking it?
(29:31) – When are potential tenants interacting with Alexa?
(30:36) – Is this an exclusive partnership with Amazon?
(30:52) – What’s it like working with Amazon?
(31:51) – Is Apple trying to get into this space?
(32:26) – What does an exit look like in this space?
(33:26) – What’s the definition of a TelCo from your perspective?
(33:55) – How did you get into this industry?
(35:46) – What was your web design business like in college?
(36:19) – What was the DotCom Bubble like in the early 2000s?
(37:18) – What was it that ended the company you were employed with during the bust?
(40:00) – What is “creative destruction”?
(41:18) – How were you able to create self-guided tours and have them ready in 4 weeks?
(43:07) – How does the self-guided tour work?
(44:52) – Where have you learned your leadership style?
(45:45) – What’s the reality of Portland right now?
(47:54) – Do you have a morning routine?
(49:19) – What’s the best advice someone’s ever given you?
(49:59) – Any books that have inspired you?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horrowitz
Measure What Matters – John Doerr
(50:53) – If there was a billboard that you could put anything on for the world to see, what would it show?
(51:14) – What’s the best way to reach you or find IOTAS?


Episode Summary

Pike, founder of IOTAS, a trailblazing entity in the smart technology realm, brings a wealth of knowledge from her forays into mobile and software sectors. Her unique vantage point, cultivated from years of pioneering work, positions her as an authority on integrating cutting-edge technology into the fabric of real estate.

The conversation commences with Pike underscoring the transformative potential of embedding technology into real estate. Through her venture, IOTAS, Pike seeks to enhance the resident experience in multifamily properties, offering them the luxury and convenience of smart homes. The narrative reveals how data, when harnessed effectively, can offer a granular understanding of user behaviors, thereby refining the living experience.

Tracing back her journey, Pike delves into her transition from the mobile and software space into real estate technology. Identifying glaring gaps in the property sector, she was poised to introduce solutions that would seamlessly integrate technology into properties, thereby redefining resident experiences. Her endeavors, although replete with challenges, have been instrumental in bridging the technological divide in the property world.

As the dialogue progresses, the complexities of retrofitting older buildings with smart solutions surface. Pike elucidates on the distinct challenges posed by antiquated structures compared to new constructions. Yet, the overarching narrative is one of optimism, echoing the belief that with innovative solutions, even dated properties can be transformed into tech-forward spaces.

Pike’s discourse offers a clear economic rationale behind the tech-driven transformation of properties. The integration of smart technology not only elevates property values but also curtails operational costs. Furthermore, the potential of technology to champion sustainability initiatives emerges as a recurring theme, signaling a future where real estate embraces green practices.

Navigating the treacherous waters of data privacy and security, Pike emphasizes the sanctity of responsible data handling. In an era where data breaches are rampant, IOTAS stands firm in its commitment to safeguard user data, ensuring that the trust of residents remains unscathed.

Peering into the future, Pike envisions a scenario where homes are seamlessly integrated with advanced tech solutions, thereby enriching daily lives. The horizon seems replete with possibilities, from AI-driven interventions to sensory integrations, heralding a new era in real estate.

Addressing the evolving preferences of modern renters, Pike highlights the tech-driven demands of millennials and Gen Z. Their digital-first approach necessitates properties to be equipped with advanced solutions, ensuring these spaces resonate with their tech-savvy nature.

The return on investment (ROI) from integrating smart solutions is palpable. Properties armed with advanced tech command premium rents and boast impressive occupancy rates. In a market teeming with competition, technology emerges as the differentiating factor, offering properties an undeniable edge.

On the global front, Pike touches upon the challenges and opportunities of different markets. Solutions, she believes, need to be tailored to resonate with local demands, and scaling internationally is an intricate dance of adaptation and innovation.

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