Blog Post by ELP Student Sukrit Gill (Computer Engineering | Class of 2022) 

Snowball

This summer I had a chance to fully commit myself to Pryve, which is my facial identification smart lock startup. Yet it is more. From first launching this idea back in December of 2020 to present day, my co-founder and I have been in an internal battle to determine what this product truly is. 

What started off as a simple lock for hotels, has now turned into a complete smart security system for multiple consumers ranging from average homeowners to luxury apartments. Since starting we added a staff management portal, an intricate mobile application, kiosks, and more. But the beauty of it all was how we got to those features and what future additions we are striving to add.

First Chance

Our first opportunity came from a multi-hotel owner in the Greater Detroit area. He had been seeking to switch out his outdated keycard system and we saw this as a chance to put our concept into action. Initially we had presented to him a fairly “ugly” face scanning deadbolt with a single view mobile application. Even though he approved of the concept, we were not fully satisfied with the design. 

Through intensive competitor research and drawing inspiration from multidisciplinary companies, we scrapped the original design, and created something that was more modern and sleek, paired with an appealing and feature heavy mobile application. This still was not enough. We decided that instead of integrating with an outdated staff management system, we would provide a new and more in-depth portal for the staff paired with a face scan kiosk to increase check-in efficiency. 

Realization

While in the process of developing the additional components, we had been tirelessly networking with students, alumni, and industry professionals. Around April we had a meeting with a student who critiqued her apartment entry system, noting multiple times when she had been locked out due to a card malfunction or paying heavy lost key fines. This opened up a possibility for expanding our reach to apartments, dorms, and homes. Why only contain ourselves to one market when everyone needs locks, but more importantly, security?

After this time period, we took pride in the fact that our product was, “More than just a lock,” as our software and products have the ability to stretch beyond doors and into areas of broader security and protection. Fast forward to the start of this summer, we have tailored our product to not only be applicable to areas of living, yet also pushing into the commercial level. 

Day to Day

With such a big idea, our day to day schedule had to be tailored for maximum efficiency. 

8:00 – 9:00: Check and update Notion with complete/on-going tasks.

9:00 – 12:00: No phone policy intact. Tackle immediate tasks.

12:00 – 1:00: Casual Pryve related chats with the team. Networking session. 

1:00 – 2:00: Break for lunch

2:00 – 6:00: Work on on-going tasks (ex: Face ID, App Dev, Website, etc)

6:00 – 7:00: Break for Dinner. Team is dismissed, but co-founders remain.

7:00 – 10:00: Finish off work, update Notion.

Throughout the whole summer, we have stuck to this plan without issue. Obviously situations would arise where my co-founder or I needed to attend to other matters through the day, but our tasks have never fallen short, and that is something that we committed to when entering the summer. 

Takeway

Last summer was one of the most productive and challenging work periods of my life, something beyond any internship or job had provided. This experience made me realize that there is something special when creating a company from the ground up. By no means are we nearly at the point we wish to be at, but that is what makes it more fun. The unpredictability of what’s next fuels me everyday to create more and more certainty for the company. The summer had put Pryve in a position where I know we are onto something special.