When adults reach the point in their lives where they are ready for children, or when it happens unexpectedly, many lifestyle changes come into play. It is not just simply changing diapers once in a while and making sure they get to school on time. Being a parent is a lifelong commitment and with that comes fear.
The founders of Hime Hiko, Didier Lortie and Nicolas Plourde, made an observation when starting to develop their business idea. They believe that starting a family should not mean giving up the freedom of the outdoors and exploring what the world and nature has to offer. “We hope by bringing this product to the market we will offer parents an alternative way of monitoring their kids. The market is leaning toward a ‘prison nursery’ allowing very little freedom. We are creating parents that are afraid to experience anything outside the box with their kids and this is very sad. We feel that our product offers a real change of mentality in the way we experience parenting, allowing freedom for both the kid and the parents,” co-founder Didier says.
Hime Hiko is a Montreal based technology company that is in the business of making family products that eliminate this fear. Their first product, the Hoko Smart Monitor (available for pre-order), is not just a typical baby monitor, it is a device that can keep track and record of your baby/toddlers sleep, comfort and distance.
Hoko’s technology is designed to record and store information on your child’s sleep, with the convenience of a smartphone app. It alerts parents when their child has woken up or is crying, at the touch of their phones. It also has smart sensors that can analyze air humidity and temperature, to ensure the comfort of their child’s surroundings. Finally, Hoko can also measure the distance between the parent(s) and their child. This can come useful in busy parks where kids run wild and if for whatever reason, the monitor is outside a certain range, it automatically sends an alert with GPS coordinates to the phone app. With all of that in mind, the monitor is very small and can be conveniently placed in a child’s crib or pocket in their clothing.
This innovative technology is the first of what their company has to offer. Hime Hoko’s co-founders both worked in different fields prior to starting their business. Nicolas, the product technology and developer, previously worked for the gaming industry leader, Ubisoft. Working in that space gave him over 15 years of experience in software and gaming design. Co-founder Didier, product conception and marketing at Hime Hoko, worked previously in fashion, graphic design and in the advertising industry for over ten years. Both experienced in their industry decided to band together and start their own company.
Challenges are a part of every learning process and these two faced a couple of their own. “Like many businesses we have faced a lot of hurdles. I guess one of the main ones was manufacturing. We had started working with a few factories abroad and had a very difficult time with our communications and development. We decided to bring back our production here and that was one of the best decisions we’ve made so far.” The success and growth of small businesses such as Hime Hiko is helping to create more jobs for Canadians.
We asked Didier and Nicolas what their advice was to others thinking of starting their own business and here’s what they had to say: “Take time to evaluate the project in its details before starting anything. You should have a really good idea of where you are going and how you will get there. Also, always have more than one way to meet your objectives. If your success depends on one single channel, I’d revise my plan.”
Like many successful business owners, it is very hard to do it solely on their own. “Futurpreneur Canada has provided us exactly what we needed as a business; they gave us access to people who either once were in our shoes or had the means to help us grow whether it was through the mentorship program or the Spin Master Innovation Fund accelerator. The experience so far has been priceless and has definitely helped us grow as a business,” said Didier. Hime Hiko is one of 414 businesses in Québec started in this year alone supported by Futurpreneur, totalling to over 2,800 businesses overall since its beginning.
For more information on Futurpreneur’s funding and mentoring program, click here.
Written by: Sara Pivato, Social Media and Content Intern, Futurpreneur Canada