Interview with Eric Graham, CEO of CrowdComfort
Tell Us About Your Journey
I’ve been an entrepreneur at heart my entire life. Prior to CrowdComfort, I’d been in the building energy technology space. So having spent about a decade in building energy technologies, I thought the idea for CrowdComfort of tapping into people and smartphones to unlock energy data mainly around thermal comfort was a great idea. What I realized when we started to explore it more deeply was that the idea of helping employees with requests in big organizations was an unmet need.
What Is the History of CrowdComfort?
The idea for CrowdComfort emerged from a Hackathon that was hosted by the White House here in Boston and it was put on by the CTO for the Obama Administration. And the idea for CrowdComfort came out of the Hackathon. Having been in energy technologies and buildings, I thought the idea was crazy but made sense to me. And that kind of launched us to kind of focus on employee requests, which has been our core product for about the first seven years of our existence.
And more recently, we created a product that came from COVID which is a cleaning map that basically maps what’s being cleaned, where and when in real time. And that’s where we are sort of today.
What Motivates You?
I love bringing innovative ideas to market, starting from virtually zero and creating something that is its own thing. That’s what motivates me.
What Challenges Have You Faced?
In any entrepreneurial enterprise, there are so many challenges that you face along the way. So today’s challenge may go away and then the new one emerges tomorrow. We’re at a place now ten years in where the risk to the business has been dramatically reduced. So it’s almost going beyond an entrepreneurial venture and really more of a sustaining venture.
Challenges for me today are continuing to hire the best talent, finding the best technology employees we can find, making sure we have the resources to support them, and making sure we deliver for our clients.
What Advice Can You Offer to Other Entrepreneurs?
The best advice I can give other entrepreneurs is really about work-life balance. As entrepreneurs, the business can almost become who we are and it’s important that we have our own self, and then there’s the business that is an entity in and of itself. And the way to do that is really number one, hire phenomenal people that you don’t have to micromanage, that kind of manage themselves and you help point in a direction. And then hire great advisors and great legal counsel, people like that, that allow you to sleep well at night.
Where Do You See CrowdComfort in 3-5 Years?
We’re on a growth trajectory at CrowdComfort. We’re continuing to add new clients. We’re opening up new markets. And I think as we continue to do that, CrowdComfort will become more of a recognized brand, exposed in people’s workplaces, in giant organizations like the Fortune 500 companies we serve, or giant school systems, big universities, hospitals that will recognize CrowdComfort as a place to go to help them get the things they need and make sure that the buildings they occupy are safe, comfortable, and help them be productive.
What Value Has Gesmer Updegrove Provided to CrowdComfort?
Gesmer is a trusted advisor for me. And Tom Durkin, who is CrowdComfort’s corporate counsel, is someone who is extremely seasoned and that I can rely on for the right advice. It helps me move the business forward, but also protects us from risks that we all face when we’re doing business, especially in technology.
Why Go With Gesmer?
I Go With Gesmer because they are deeply experienced in technology and early-stage companies. I’ve worked with many of the bigger firms and they’re just simply, their’s is better advice more cost effectively than going with a major firm.
Check out some of our latest publications:
- What is Due Diligence in a Financing or Acquisition Transaction and Why Is It Important?
- Gesmer Attorneys Recognized as 2023 Super Lawyers
- Andrew Updegrove Served as Moderator for Standards Boot Camp (NIST)
- Andrew Updegrove delivers keynote address and Moderates at Synergies and Shared Interests in Standards
- Andrew Updegrove moderated a panel at the NIST R&D Standards Summit
- The Unique Challenges of Cannabis M&A Deals