Marek Vala of Pealock tells us about the smart lock that won’t break even with a hammer.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Marek Vala: We are fine, we have an 8-month-old son, so at times it’s very difficult to combine work with the role of a father, but of course, I’m trying to be a good father.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Pealock.
Marek Vala: I worked five years in the automotive industry, where I worked my way up to a Quality Manager. The idea behind Pealock was born in my head about three years ago on my way from Austria (Kaprun), where our skis were stolen on the slope during our lunch break. I realized how easy it is to steal expensive skis and that one would not leave a mobile phone of the same value lying on the ground without supervision. The development lasted less than three years, in which several companies and sole traders participated.
How does Pealock innovate?
Marek Vala: We have developed a unique solution on the market. Our lock has a motion sensor, an integrated alarm with a power of 110db and is connected to the user’s smartphone.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping?
Marek Vala: We are working on 100%, and all of our suppliers do the same. If any supplier has to go in quarantine, they can move the start of production. So far, everything goes well, which is why we hope and believe that the delivery of our product in the second half of February is realistic.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Marek Vala: I realized how hard it is to come to market with something new, how much effort, money, and sleepless nights it costs. I heard in a podcast that the idea is only about 5-10% success. I didn’t believe it then, but now I can confirm it myself. Perseverance is one of the main things I have had to learn during these three years, especially in times of failure, and it’s impossible to see the results that would drive one forward.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Pealock in the future?
Marek Vala: Sometimes it’s very difficult. To be a founder is not easy, everybody sees startups as fun, but it is not. You work for several years (in our case three years) with zero income, invest all of your money, at times it seemed we are at a dead end. I had to learn to do things I didn’t like, get out of my comfort zone and manage stress. My dream is to see Pealock in real life, making life easier for people. In a few years, I would like to see Pealock as a stable company and hold the number one position on the European market for electronic locks of this type.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Marek Vala: There are a lot of mechanical locks in the world. We found one type of electronic wheel lock, which the user attaches to the rear frame of the wheel and then leaves steel pins locking the rear wheel. The disadvantages of this are dimensions, weight and incompatibility, and it is more suitable for city bikes. Pealock is a compact and multifunctional lock with which you can lock your skis or snowboard in winter and, for example, a bicycle, electric scooter, or stroller in summer. It weighs only 140 g, and you can easily carry it in the pocket of a jersey or jacket.
Your final thoughts?
Marek Vala: Don’t be afraid to make your dreams come true. The journey will not be easy but persevere, and success will come.