21 February 2012
TOWSON, MD. — Adam Nepp and Scott Wohler have known each other for many years. They're friends. They're now business partners, which raises two interesting questions about the nature of startup innovation.
1. How often does a friendship hold up under these circumstances?
2. And what does it take to start walking the tight-rope startup when you've each been working in the warm womb of someone else's company?
Here, Nepp and Wohler run NeWo Technologies, an embedded computing and electronics-design house operating in a business-incubator building, across the street from Towson University, where Nepp was All-America in football.
"Entrepreneurship is … scary as heck," says Nepp, who, as captain of Towson's football team, presumably learned a bit about pushing one's boundaries. "What can we pay, what we can not pay? Can we get by for 15 days? If you truly believe, you persevere, you're diligent, we feel that it works out. It has so far."
"We have a good relationship," said Wohler, who was chief technologist at a wireless company before feeling the urge to strike out on his own. Nepp's the sales/management guy. "We're constantly butting heads, but that's what makes it work."
While the pair push design and engineering services, they're also driving into sensing and remote-monitoring systems in the athletic and health care markets–an arena that's getting more competitive each day. (On this leg of the journey, we'd spent time not far away in Annapolis, Md., talking with Zephyr Technology about their body monitor).
NeWo's products include the second generation of their V-Core device, a wearable garment that monitors real-time health statistics of the wearer, processes all data, and transmits the data wirelessly. Here's a segment in which the founders talk about their technology and the marketplace: