Nature, Inc., Nest for room air conditioners. Team members: Haruumi Shiode (MBA 2016), Masakazu Ohtsuka, Joshua Lehman
How did the idea for your company come about?
It came about with two incidents in my life.
After I graduated, I took a three month, thousand mile sailing trip with my father on his boat. One night, I was alone on deck with the sound of the waves and surrounded by the beautiful phenomena of nature, I felt the wind blow, and, a couple of seconds later, the boat moved as if it replied to the wind. I experienced the perfect harmony of nature with something man had created. This moment brought an uplifting feeling to me, showed that human beings are created to exist with nature on a genetic level, and ignited my desire to bring people into greater harmony with nature.
The day after Fukushima accident happened in 2011, I flew to Indonesia to develop a power project in the country. I took a small Cessna to visit the coal mine as well as the construction site of coal fired power plant. At the site, I looked at the scene and felt that something was wrong. The scale of the mine and plant was unbelievably enormous and the operators were riding on monster machines. I learnt that the construction of the power plant and operation of coal mine do not only come with the destruction of nature but also result in horrible accidents. At that moment, my desire to expand the distributed, safer, smaller scale clean energy turned to the absolute commitment.
What does your company do? How is it distinct in its product/service category?
Nature transforms the operation of room air conditioners (ACs) to improve comfort and efficiency for consumers while reducing energy demand peaks for utilities with simple, inexpensive, and easy-to-install device. Our product is cost effective and can be used anywhere in the world unlike other existent smart thermostats.
Where do you hope to take it in the future?
Our ultimate goal is to become a vehicle to create a greater harmony between people and Nature though an innovation. However, we are launching our Kickstarter campaign in May and start shipping our product this summer. We have to be successful in the first sales!
How has your time at HBS influenced your efforts on your company?
So far, I am living pretty much exactly the story that I wrote in my HBS essay a couple of years ago even including the name of the company. However, HBS helped a lot to hone my business idea, expand network, and be exposed to the difficult management choices. Without the support from faculties and I-lab & Rock Center team, we could not have pushed the business thus far.
Any advice you’d offer to other young entrepreneurs?
Follow your passion and do what you really care about!