On June 8, MaRS welcomed Stuart Lombard, Founder, President & CEO of ecobee, to the last MaRS Mornings of the season.
“A journey to greatness is not about what would be great, but what is really really great…” Stuart started his journey by quitting his job in the early Internet days—when no one believed him when he said that one day everyone would have an email address on their business cards. He was looking for ways to reduce his family’s environmental footprint, but found that installing solar panels and purchasing hybrid-electric vehicles was costly and difficult to do. Realizing that heating and cooling represented 40%–70% of home energy use, he thought that he could have a huge impact by being able to program his thermostat.
The challenge was that his thermostat was complicated and wasn’t very smart. Coming home to a house that was 10°C when you had three young children was not ideal. This sparked the idea of ecobee. Stuart recognized that there was a smarter way to conserve energy and be comfortable. Since then, the impact has been huge—a $250 ecobee thermostat has the same amount of energy savings as a $26K solar panel. The company has been highly successful. ecobee has a 24% market share, strategic partnerships with Amazon and Apple, and is the second-best-selling smart thermostat.
Stuart highlighted some key points that all entrepreneurs should keep in mind as they embark on their own journey: