L-R: Robin Knox with his Boundary co-founder Paul Walton
Aspiring to disrupt the home security market, Robin Knox talks to BQ about his new business, Boundary, and the lessons he learned from his earlier point of sale system business.
What is it the company does?
Boundary aims to disrupt the home security market with its new smart home intruder alarm system. The system - which is currently in its final stages of development - will comprise of a low-cost electronic hub, and motion and door sensors that will be paired with a mobile app. There will also be a service offering so that people can control and take advantage of police monitoring.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
I’m the co-founder and assume the position of CEO, so my role is varied but largely focuses on setting the overall strategy and direction of the business with a commercial and product focus. Building the team that will go on to deliver Boundary once we officially launch later this year is also a major part of my role.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started off as a medical student before setting up my own indoor paintball centre in Edinburgh. After this, I co-founded Intelligent Point of Sale (IPOS), an electronic point of sale software firm that was acquired by iZettle, a Swedish payments company. iZettle has since gone on to become part of the PayPal group.
In 2018, my business partner, Paul, and I chose to jump back into the startup scene with our latest venture, Boundary.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
That’s assuming I am considered to a good leader! I think there are many, many things that a leader needs to consider, but some of the fundamental things are the fair treatment of people, giving everyone the opportunity to be heard and making a safe environment where people can challenge or make mistakes without fear of reprisals.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
There are many risks to manage and a lot of unknowns. Our latest project, Boundary, needs to be kept running at a certain pace and we must achieve our regulatory compliance before we go on sale.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I have just bought a new house outside of Edinburgh, which is an extremely peaceful place to be at the weekends amongst the hills. Other than this I disconnect by doing the usual, socialising and watching films.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had a large selection of pets as a child including a small garden aviary with a variety of birds, as such I originally wanted to be a vet. However, I later switched to go on to study medicine as I developed a mild allergy that would have been impractical in the long-term.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
The classic one, bureaucracy. Anything that impedes progress.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Boundary should be a household name in the UK in five years, synonymous with being a great low cost, simple product that people can rely on to protect their home.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Take the leap, be kind to people, give back. Keep it scalable, commercialise quickly.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
There were a lot of learnings with IPOS around people management and trusting your instincts that have come into use for this new venture. Nothing has bitten us too badly so far but I’m sure something new will come along in the months to come.
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