We had the good fortune of connecting with Marlo Vernon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marlo, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My dad is a serial entrepreneur so I grew up listening to him talk about his businesses at the dinner table every night and always wanted to follow in his footsteps by starting my own business.
I started working on CarePenguin during my senior year of college as my grandparents were getting older and my family wanted a non-invasive way to keep an eye on them. We came up with a simple IoT device to observe their activity through water use and it was a great way for us to make sure they were okay without invading their privacy.
the Covid-19 pandemic began right as I was getting ready to graduate in May 2020, and I decided it was the perfect time to start CarePenguin. The elderly population were staying at home and their loved ones couldn’t see them out of fear of spreading the virus which presented a great opportunity to bring a remote monitoring device and service to market.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
CarePenguin non-invasively monitors the well-being of older adults living alone by observing their activity through water use. Just one CarePenguin sensor detects activity throughout the entire house and it is less invasive and more affordable than cameras or motion sensors. CarePenguin also doesn’t require older adults to wear a panic button or change anything about their normal routine.
In just ten months, CarePenguin went from an idea to a product on the market. We built the whole backend on Google Compute Engine, wrote the app, put the website together, wrote a ton of blogs to build a following, contracted a circuit board designer, contracted an industrial designer, got our sensor enclosure injection molded in Hong Kong, worked with a graphic designer to solidify our brand, and about a hundred other things.
The biggest challenge for me personally is being a young woman entrepreneur. I went from being a marketing intern to being a CEO without any “real world” career experience. It’s just a leap I had to take and hope that people would believe in me and the product I was building. It’s also been really helpful to have my dad as a mentor and a cofounder to guide me through starting my first company.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If a friend came to visit, I would give them a full tour of Boulder! We’d hike the Royal Arch trail at Chautaqua and walk around Pearl Street during the day. Then at night, we’d eat at my favorite restaurants in Boulder like Oak and Rosetta Hall and grab drinks at The Bitter Bar and Jungle.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a huge shoutout to all of my friends and family who have helped in some way to launch CarePenguin. We’ve had friends and past coworkers help with our patent, legal help, graphic design, marketing, app development, alpha testing, investing, etc. Although we technically only have a team of three, we wouldn’t have been able to launch without the help and support of our CarePenguin network!