Kurt of Owlet tells us about how he came to start his innovative company and his secrets for a successful business
“People say I’m a serial entrepreneur. When I was 12, I ran a paintball business in my backyard and, later at high school, a flooring and tile operation. I studied at Brigham Young University, before starting Owlet Baby Care in 2012. While I was studying chemical engineering, I came upon the idea for Owlet when my wife became pregnant. I enlisted the help of friends who happened to also be great minds at BYU to help me devise a new product that I knew could change the baby industry.
“The moment my wife and I decided to have kids, I was concerned about the potential of a hereditary heart condition that could impact our children. There was nothing on the market at the time that would track babies’ heart rate and oxygen levels. I was plagued with the fear that I wouldn’t be able to monitor my children’s health.
“It blew my mind that we had the technology to tell us practically everything, except for what was most important to me as a parent: is my child okay?
“It was a light bulb moment when we discovered a technology called pulse oximetry which is used in hospitals to track heart rate and oxygen levels.
“My friends, and now co-founders, were crucial to the launch and successful expansion of Owlet Baby Care. We met at BYU and together we won the late 2013 BYU Student Innovator of the Year award with the Smart Sock concept – the rest is history.
“More recently there have been a few more light bulb moments, with some exciting products like the Owlet Cam which was seen in the UK for the first time at The ExCeL Baby Show. We have even developed the Owlet Band, a wearable device able to read and record baby’s heart rate, count kicks, identify contractions and track the mother’s sleeping position.W
“Parents don’t have a lot of information about how to care for their newborn when they bring them home from the hospital. So, whenever I hear a story of how our product has helped provide parents the information they needed to care for their baby at the right time, it’s such a pay-off and gives me great joy.H
“Although it’s a struggle to juggle it all, we’ve made it a priority at Owlet to put family first. In fact, it’s our number one core value. I set aside time specific to my family each day. The company knows that I have blocked out this time for family and unless it is an emergency, they shouldn’t contact me during these hours. I encourage every employee to do the same.W
“I’m also a movie junkie, which is what I do when I have some time to myself. Whenever a new super hero movie comes out, I’m one of the first people to see it. I also love playing sports and enjoy travelling when I have the time.
“To fully enjoy your time and create a good work-life balance, don’t stress about home when you’re at work and don’t stress about work when you’re at home. Try and keep them separate so you can really be present in every moment.”