Interview to Jeff Katz, the new Tech Geeny

This week would like to introduce you to our new Tech Geeny, Jeff Katz. Jeff joins us from KIWI, a Hardware/SaaS startup, where he was responsible for the future of KIWI’s System as a VP of Technology.

We sat down with Jeff to chat about technology, his view on IoT trends and challenges, and his hopes for Geeny.

Question: What brought you to IoT?

Jeff: I have a deep desire to understand what happens underneath. I worked with connected hardware even before M2M (this is a very deep level architecture) and access control — physical security, communications privacy and overall security. In this sector you have to be very careful what you are doing.

Q: How so?

J: With access control, the thing is, everyone likes it but nobody wants to pay for it. I joined KIWI (access control for apartment or commercial buildings) to solve this with an intercom system, a token that connects with the intercom, and an IoT network. KIWI provides strong privacy and security, it’s very difficult to hack the system. The product development there is now more or less complete and I want to move to newer and bigger challenges, like Geeny.

Q: Tell us a little bit more about your experience with Berlin. You are quite a big shot in the developers community around here.

J: After I moved to Berlin, I felt there was a need for space for hardware people. I decided to start a small, informal meetup in Berlin for hardware entrepreneurs, makers and enthusiasts to exchange advice, questions and answers, and stories of success and failure. It quickly grew too big. We then partnered with betahaus and created hardware.co, now a big community and an accelerator in Berlin.

Q: What brought you to Berlin?

J: In the US my only option was to work for defence contractors. Europe offers better opportunities, even though there are not big enough things in Berlin in terms of hardware (yet). In terms of startups, Germany might not be the easiest country to launch in. It’s hard to win the trust, especially when we talk about security.

Q: So, why Geeny:

J: I like that Geeny brings the focus back to data control and privacy. A lot of companies in IoT try to avoid this topic. There is a lot of noise happening around security and IoT, its difficulty and how to regulate it. These are only pressing symptoms of a bigger problem. I like how Geeny offers a secure platform for connected devices and helps companies in Berlin that struggle with bringing consumer devices to IoT.

Q: How do you see Geeny growing?

J: I believe that Geeny will become a model B2C platform where devices from different industries and from all over the world are connected without needing to hand a big chunk of data to the government. A platform that will make the end user happy.