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EMAIL INTERVIEW – Ken Sinclair and Scott Muench
Scott Muench, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, J2 Innovations
Sinclair: What made you decide to become an
entrepreneur/business owner versus large company?
Muench: I have always been drawn to smaller
companies throughout my career for the culture they offer. In a small
company, you know everyone, you can make a big impact, and there is
typically lots of variety. Ironically, both of my most recent companies
ultimately ended up as large companies through acquisition.
(Tridium>Honeywell and J2 Innovations>Siemens)
Sinclair: Looking back, how did the idea for J2 Innovations come about?
Muench: The idea for the business came after
Jason Briggs and I worked on a large project together (City Center in
Las Vegas-largest construction project in US at the time). We were
frustrated with the lack of adequate software tools System Integrators
use to program and configure Smart Buildings. We had the first hand
knowledge and experience to do it better, so we hired a bunch of
talented software developers and the rest is history.
As a startup, what are some of the
major challenges you faced?
Muench: The biggest challenge is also the most fundamental; defining your
market, finding your value proposition for the customers in your
market, and then ultimately creating a product that meets the market
needs. After many years of iteration and refinement, I believe we
have conquered this challenge with FIN!
Sinclair: Personally, what are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I would say persistence to keep moving forward, flexibility to iterate
and develop new solutions, and being good at communicator - which to me
means being a good listener and being able to simplify complex ideas.
Sinclair: What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
In the early phase of the business we tended to be "all over the map"
with lots of good ideas, hoping that we could find a customer that
matched them. In reality, we have learned that it works the other way
Sinclair: What have been your biggest successes?
Muench: I’m most proud of the FIN community
we’ve built over the years. We’re thankful for both the early adopters
who took a leap of faith with FIN technology in the early days and our
distributors who have stood by us as great partners over the years. As
FIN project successes and popularity grew, we were excited to see the
adoption by OEM partners grow as well. We now have a solid community of
end users, system integrators, distributors, and OEMs. Because of that
success, our longtime customer, Siemens acquired J2 Innovations and is
investing in our future.
Sinclair: What does Siemens acquisition mean for
Muench: J2 Innovations is now a wholly owned
subsidiary of Siemens Industry, Inc. and will remain an independent
company with our own business goals and objectives. We will retain the
company name and the FIN brand as well as the management team led by
founder and CEO Jason Briggs.
Sinclair: What does this mean for the FIN community?
Our plans are to continue business as usual, selling FIN technology
through our North American FIN Stack distribution channel and OEM
partners. This acquisition means that we will have additional resources
to expand our customer support and continuously improve our technology.
Sinclair: What is the future of J2 Innovations?
Muench: Our vision is to continue building our
business and grow into a global technology company. We have already
added more talent to our growing team - with new hires in the U.S., and
future hires in Europe. We will have additional capital and renewed
focus that will enable us to enhance FIN technology and expand into new
Sinclair: What does this mean for FIN technology?
Muench: We’ve created a unique organization
within J2 Innovations. We now have the “Glue Team” and the "Stack
Team". The Glue Team is a dedicated group of developers who will stay
sticky with our partners and help them develop and adopt the FIN
framework. The “Stack Team” will focus on innovating the FIN Framework.
This provides a highly focused organization best suited to meet both
customer and development goals.
Sinclair: Has it been worth it?
Absolutely. The journey has been an exciting one! Our vision has always
been to change and evolve the industry. This acquisition is a huge
milestone on that journey and will help us accelerate realizing our
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