Jack and I started our company because we had fun hanging out; because design and technology working hand-in-glove create magical things; to invent culture.
Over time that company became BERG, and it wasn’t just ours anymore — it became a studio of many people, and it’s produced awesome work there’s no way in a million years I could have even imagined.
Right from the beginning we’ve been into connected devices. Products feel different when they come to life. And we made our own product, Little Printer – an incredible team effort – and it’s a particular joy to me to see how people invite Little Printer into their homes and how they use it. We’ve learnt so much, and been continuously iterating the product since it launched.
I like to say that we don’t have customers, we have an audience.
Connected devices are so different.
So all our design thinking and learnings are baked into the technology underpinning Little Printer, and we call that technology BERG Cloud. BERG Cloud is our platform for connected devices — it gives devices an identity on the internet, web APIs, and adds developer tools and a great user experience. Using custom-designed hardware, we’ve also made our own prototyping stack. This allows us to prototype on Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and ARM mbed, but quickly switch to developing websites rather than embedded software so we can iterate quicker.
The way I think of BERG Cloud is that it’s best of our design thinking, baked into a platform created by our engineers so that our designers can be as expressive and inventive as possible.
Recently we had a realisation: If BERG Cloud and the prototyping hardware was good for us – this neat collaboration platform for our engineers and designers – maybe other people would like it too. And maybe they would like to take their products to market on our platform, using the same tested tools as we created and use for Little Printer.
Maybe we could make developing hardware as easy as developing for the web — and as fluid and creative.
But that would take focus.
It’s going to be hard reigning back our consultancy business to focus on building BERG Cloud and getting it into as many hands as possible. I’ve loved our work with Bonnier and the BBC, with Google and Intel and Samsung and so many others, and we hope we can carry some of these relationships forward on our journey into connected products.
Then I look again at where BERG began, why Jack and I started this thing rolling. We’ve not changed so much.
There’s an incredible team. I love being in the room with these guys.
We’ve created a platform that allows design and technology to work together, to be as creative as possible.
And rather than work solely with clients, we get to work with customers, to help others invent culture. So we’re looking to advance this exciting space as a Community, and in partnership with manufacturers.
To help along our focusing, we’ve made some business changes. We’re moving our home on the web — our old consultancy-focused website has been archived, and you’ll now find BERG at our new permanent home at the website of its platform, right here at bergcloud.com.
And we’ve brought more folks into the mix, people who can help us scale BERG Cloud and take it to its full potential. I’m proud that we’re today announcing investment from Connect Ventures, Initial Capital, and Index Ventures. It’s funny the convention is to write company names like that… Actually these are personal relationships, and Bill, Sami, and Saul are part of the team.
So that’s today’s news! Design consultancy turns tech startup, takes funding. And BERG Cloud – which we’ve incubated ourselves and have been beta testing over the summer – is now on general release. Kits for prototyping will land in our shop on Thursday 31st October, available for everyone.
I can’t wait to see what happens.