Innovator of the Week
Co-Founder of Heat Oracle Technologies
Please provide your 30-second pitch about your company.
Greg Hovagim and I started Heat Oracle a little less than a year ago to address an all too common challenge: managing heating fuel. Our vision is to revolutionize the way consumers manage and purchase their heating fuels while saving time, saving money, and keeping their home safely heated. The problem for heating fuel consumers is information–or more precisely the lack of it and Heat Oracle is the solution! We provide a wireless sensor that attaches to your tank to monitor your fuel level. Once connected, you can check your tank level along with past usage and future predictions through our mobile or web based tools. We also provide critical level alerts via e-mail and text message. Finally, Heat Oracle brings local fuel deliverers to you with incredible low prices for each upcoming delivery. Or simply save time and money and connect in our automated marketplace.
Who or what was your best resource for starting your company?
The University of New Hampshire’s Paul College was hands down the best resource for starting Heat Oracle. We started this project while I was enrolled in the Executive MBA program and used Heat Oracle for most of my projects in my final year. My cohort provided fantastic insights into the consumer views and overall business operation. The professors gave invaluable encouragement and feedback, both in and out of the classroom. And more than anything, this program gave us the confidence to pursue our vision.
What was your biggest obstacle in starting your company and how did you overcome it?
The largest obstacle in any new venture is receiving negative feedback and having to both persevere and learn from it. We worked together very well as a team to keep all feedback positive and thankfully didn’t require much external support to realize our vision. Greg and I are fortunate in that we have successful careers in industry that has given us the skills and financial freedom to pursue our vision without having to sell it first.
What’s the best advice you have received?
The best advice we received was not to take feedback personally. The feedback is about the idea and the instantiation of the idea in a business. It takes great discipline to stay focused, execute our strategy, and don’t give up on our dream.
What about the NH lifestyle appeals to you?
Both Greg and I are not New Hampshire natives. We both moved here to establish lives that matched the balance we desired between work and life. I moved here 5 years ago in search of a better place to raise my children, while having a growing technology career, and spending time enjoying the beautiful outdoors. I never would have imagined though that a unique New Hampshire experience—running out of heating oil in winter—would lead to me to pursuing a passion I had even as a child in starting my own company. As the saying goes, Live Free and Start!
What does the future look like for your company?
We have just launched sales via a Kickstarter page now as a starting point for early adopters. We will continue to grow from this launching point targeting traditional consumer sales channels while adding delivery and maintenance services through the marketplace. Over time, we believe Heat Oracle will transform the heating oil and propane delivery industry in a similar way to what Uber did to the taxi cab and limousine industry globally. And the really exciting part is the potential to run this new company right in the heart of the market here in New Hampshire.