Daniel Blondell McLEAR Cloud Expo Europe 2020
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:13] Hello and welcome to the London Tech Show by CloserStill Media held right here at Excel London. I’m Nayoka Oware hosting for Disruptive Live and today I’m joined by Daniel Blondell and he is the COO of McLEAR. How are you doing, Daniel?
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:00:27] I’m good. Thank you, my love.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:28] Good. Thank you for joining me. It’s great to see you again.
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:00:30] Thanks for the invite again.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:31] You’re absolutely welcome. So the COO, tell us exactly what that is for those who aren’t familiar with the acronym.
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:00:37] OK. So it’s the Chief Operating Officer effectively in McLEAR itself. We’ve got lots of different divisions. You think about company organisation. You have sales, projects, development, customer services. My job is to maintain the ship and keep operations running.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:54] Thank you for that. Who are McLEAR and what do you do?
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:00:57] It’s a very good question. And so McLEAR are a seven year old technology company. And our focus in the technology world is on a wearable and our wearable of choice is a smart ring. What do we mean by a smart ring? So it’s a ring in a ceramic embodiment that’s smart because it does multiple different things. So it can make contactless payments. It can also be used for access control. And when you think about access, you think about your home, your car, your office. So the smart technology, I guess, is compiling lots of different technologies already exists and putting it into something comfortable that sits on your finger.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:01:39] Thank you for that. What comes with the ring? Because I’ve seen it. I knew it comes in two different colours, that I definitely know. But tell us what else it comes with.
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:01:46] It’s a very good question. So. Yeah. The ring itself. You can only buy the ring if you go to McLEAR.com. Shameless plug. So it isn’t available on any other online retail stores. Once you purchased a ring, it will turn up in its beautiful box, inside the box are a set of instructions which I always implore people to go use. And then more importantly, you have a companion mobile app. Both Android and IOS. The app really does most of the hard work. Does all of your registration. You’ll just need a government issued ID, driving licence, passport. Once you’re activated and you’re up and running. You then use your credit or your debit card to then load money into your wallet. That process to do is now completely free. And then once you’re up running, you have money in your wallet. The ring does the rest of the magic. So it’s a visa payment ring, which means you can use it anywhere in the world where visa contactless is accepted.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:02:43] I know a number of people who have the McLEAR ring and it’s amazing. Would you say that it’s really easy to set up because, you know, kids are always on their tablets and always downloading games and apps? Could a child set it up?
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:02:55] Absolutely. We’ve made the process of onboarding as simple as you can for a payment device. It is payment. So it is regulated. So there is a certain amount of information that we do need to know in order to give you an account. But it’s pretty straightforward. It’s name, address, date of birth, email address, set yourself up with a password. After that, it will go off, do some checks if you’re really unlucky, your names similar to something of a political person or a or a celebrity of some kind. There might be a little bit of enhanced due diligence, but other than that, it’s fairly straightforward. It’s seven or eight screens in our app. Probably takes four minutes.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:03:35] Wonderful. We like things snappy, don’t we?
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:03:38] We’ve tried to make it as easy as we can. We know you’re excited to get your ring and we know you’re excited to use it. So why try to prolong that experience with boring due diligence and regulation so quick, easy, to the point. Load your money and off you go. Go spend.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:03:53] Of course. Can it be used everywhere?
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:03:55] It really can. The world of contactless is changing. There’s a big shift probably over the last, you know, six, seven, eight, nine years in the form of card payments versus cash. Card payments are now taken over cash is as a form of payment. And then more importantly, over the last kind of three four five years, contactless as a technology is really growing and people are starting to get the convenience and security and speed of using contactless. So anywhere that you see contactless, whether that’s on the bus, on the tube, taxis, bars, restaurants, parking machines, as I did downstairs just a minute ago, anywhere. Visa contactless accepted, the ring will work perfectly fine.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:04:37] This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a piece of tech in a ring. So do you have any competitors? Are you aware of any other competitors out there?
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:04:44] We do. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So there’s there’s a couple of different bits with that. I guess we’re we’re a big collaborative company. Our engineering team, our inventors of the ring come from a very big collaborative engineering background. So helping makers in the community is part of what we do. So we’re never against competition. We welcome more competition in the world. The more people that know about smart ring technology, the more people will come to understand and not be afraid, I guess, of something that’s a little bit different. Your watch or your phone, which originally was something you were pretty scared of. But you’ve come to know and love and we hope you come to know and love the ring as well. So there isn’t that many of us in the world. There is a company called Token in the US who are just about to launch and there technology is slightly different. They have a battery operated ring with some cool tech inside, and we hope that those guys do quite well. Around the world there’s Aura, so Aura have a sleek tracker, so they’re more tracking orientated health well—being. Motiv, they’re very similar. They’re more step based tracking. But we think that we’re the only payment ring wearable company in the world today.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:06:04] Which is why it’s a lot easier for you to promote those other companies because you know that you are the only ones that do what you do.
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:06:11] You know, people say this all the time and we own the global patent to smart ring technology. So our patents cover the ring and its embodiment communicating to other devices. And it could be easy and flippen of us to use that patent for anything other than helping companies get along. So, yeah, we’re a big collaborative company. We open the door and welcome conversations. We’ve had conversations with many of those companies previously. So yeah, competition is a good fit. Not a bad thing.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:06:38] Wonderful I agree with you.
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:06:39] It highlights how good our product is.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:06:40] I agree with you there. Lastly, how did you come up with the idea for McLEAR? Did you see that there was a gap in the market?
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:06:48] I think it was very fortuitous the way that the circumstances happened. Our co-founder John. He’s an engineer by heart and as an engineer he used to he’s used to making developing things, tinkering with stuff. But what he probably wasn’t used to is the everyday life challenges. So one of those was just having a simple set of door keys. So they used to evade his pocket. Most, most weeks, most days his wife would get really annoyed with him losing his door keys all the time, and hence the smart ring was born. It was born simply as a mechanism for him to access his front door without having to lose it. It was his wedding band. It sat on his wedding finger. And because of his maker community, people started to understand he designed this ring. They started to want copies, versions of the ring, obviously in different sizes. He made a variety of different moulds. And the story goes that our other co-founder joseph at that point had filed a patent in the U.S. for a smart ring, but didn’t have the hardware. John didn’t have the patent but had the hardware. And those two got together and that was way back in 2012. So we’ve been doing this for for a long time now. We are the only company to engineer the ring from the ground up from scratch. We’re very proud of the fact that it was designed and engineered in Leeds and Bradford in the north. And yeah, it’s it’s becoming quite the quite the steadfast product now. It’s starting to get a lot of traction as people can see the the use of it.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:08:26] I’m glad the company is doing so well.
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:08:28] Thank you.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:08:29] It was great to see you again. Daniel, thank you so much for joining me.
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:08:31] Thank you so much for the invite.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:08:33] You’re absolutely welcome.
DANIEL BLONDELL [00:08:34] Take care.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:08:35] You can join the conversation by using the hashtag Disruptive Live and hashtag CEE20. Thank you for watching. We will be back shortly.