Marcelo Camargo, co-founder of Nudge Systems LLC tells us about Pleco, a smart and easy way to control your water.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Marcelo Camargo: We are staying locked down like almost everyone else. We are fortunate in that we can all safely work from home/remote work. Fortunately, none of us has gotten the virus, and we are just now getting our vaccines.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Nudge Systems.
Marcelo Camargo: I’m an electronic engineer / MBA who worked many years with measurements and management in the energy industry. A few years ago, I decided to study electronics again as a hobby and started a home automation project. It became clear to me there was a gap in water management solutions for residences. Talking to a friend from college with a water utility background, we decided to create an answer for it. After a couple of years of research and experimentation, Pleco was created, and we founded the company.
How does Nudge Systems innovate?
Marcelo Camargo: We innovate by changing people’s relationships with water. Pleco, our device is very simple to install and shows people where their water is going in real-time. This makes people aware of this precious natural resource and changes their behavior.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Marcelo Camargo: The pandemic has not had a huge effect on Nudge Systems or the launch of our device Pleco Smart Water Watch. We had already learned, before the pandemic, how to bring talent together from different locations, with a development team spread between California, Texas, Oregon, and Colorado. However, it can be difficult to get potential clients interested in saving water when media and public attention is so hyper-focused on the pandemic. Similarly, CES2021 was all virtual this year rather than in person in Las Vegas.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Marcelo Camargo: A start-up is all about difficult choices, almost every day! Which features are really essential and differentiate your product? How to design marketing surveys which are really significant? When is the product ready? How to finance the development and, later, how to balance marketing and development budgets?
I believe a key lesson learned is that speed is important and persistence is a virtue.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Marcelo Camargo: We routinely use video calls. Internally, it helps keep the team cohesive without in-person contact. Externally, it gives our stakeholders and us additional credibility and a personal touch.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Marcelo Camargo: There are several water monitors and leak detectors on the market. We believe Pleco is unique in that it offers both leak detection and water monitoring by specific category.
Your final thoughts?
Marcelo Camargo: Most of us are fortunate to deal with water as an after-thought. We notice it mainly when we miss it. Pleco saves water by paying for itself. If there is a leak, waste and damage are minimized.
More importantly, it raises awareness toward water conservation, hopefully helping us manage this resource better without having to face scarcity.
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