This is one of the most enjoyable stories that I have ever written. It has four factors that make it so:
- It’s about someone who is such a quiet achiever;
- He is a long-standing auDA Member (and a friend of mine);
- It involves a domain name success story;
- What has flowed from that initial success.
The Quiet Achiever
Steven Baxt has been around forever in the online world. As a very young man back in the early 2000’s he started investing in domain names – particularly dot-coms. He also acquired many premium Australian domains – a number of which he developed into business ideas. To give you an example, he used to own creditcards.com.au. He is your quintessential entrepreneur – but if truth be known, at heart he is a geek!
Along the way, he’s had to “lawyer up” occasionally and defend himself against people and organisations that wanted to acquire (or deprive him of) his Intellectual Property. More often than not he was successful.
He’s also a very private man, and never seeks the limelight. And he’s also one of those people whose “word is their bond” – you can go to the bank with it.
Domain Name Success Story
In around 2003 – when he was in his early 20’s – he bought the domain Robots.com via an online marketplace. He only had a certain amount of funds, so he had to decide between that and LH.com. One coin toss later, and he was the proud registrant of Robots.com!
Steve has always had an interest in electronics and gadgets, so he used this domain to develop a “build it yourself robot kit” to sell online. The kit included access to a library of Flash video tutorials with guides on how to assemble the components, plus some programming tutorials.
But just a few months into this project, before even a single kit was sold, he sold the venture to RobotWorx, a large American company who still owns Robots.com today. Unfortunately, he can’t disclose the sales price, but for a guy in his early 20’s, it was life-changing – enough for him to purchase property and his first car!
Fast Forward To The Present
Behind the scenes, Steve has been working his inner geek “magic” – or to be more specific, he has been developing a “Magic or Smart Mirror” called Embrace. Whilst he did a lot of the groundwork, Embrace’s current hardware and the final design were developed and engineered by a team in Hong Kong and China. To use Steve’s words, he describes them as “brilliant”!
So what is “Embrace”?
- When it’s off, it’s just an elegant mirror.
- When it’s on, it’s a high-definition, splash proof, full-featured Android™ device that you control with voice, gestures and touch.
Steve sent me a personalised video of him accessing Domainer.com.au on a “Smart Mirror”, plus quickly demonstrated all its capabilities e.g. it is just awesome for home automation. (I was gobsmacked!) To this end, Steve has set up a “demonstration apartment” in North Strathfield in Sydney which has over 40 “smart devices” connected. Anyone is welcome to go and have a look.
To get in touch with Steve, here are the contact details from the website.
Have a look at what it can do!
The catalyst to Steve creating “Embrace” came about by him stumbling across a blog post around 3 years ago. This contained a step-by-step guide on how to build a magic mirror.
He had been searching for something interesting to build with his recently purchased Raspberry Pi (RPi). An RPi is a credit card sized computer that retails for just $10-60.
After building his first magic mirror using the RPi (in his down time as a hobby), he got loads of encouragement from family and friends. So he made another; then another – each time adding improvements.
He then realised the huge market potential for this product. To this day, a magic (smart) mirror is not available for sale from any major chain – or even readily available for purchase by consumers from mainstream websites. This gap in the market is what drove him to pursue Embrace.
Having already established engineering, manufacturing and supply partnerships in Hong Kong and China, he founded Smart Mirrors Pty Ltd in 2017. In the same year, they received formal IP65, FCC and CE certification. And as would be expected, he has a trademark in place; and a patent pending.
If you want to read about the whole design and development journey, you can do so here.
The Moral Of The Story
The road to today began with a really good domain name purchase (and subsequent sale) many years ago!
I wish Steve and his team every success for the future. “Embrace” is a fantastic concept and product. I imagine there will be some “big boys” having a close look.
Ned O’Meara – 25th January 2018