At Boise Startup Week 2018, a promising new startup called Lumineye took home the $20k grand prize and has been on a tear ever since. We caught up with Co-founder and Chief Design Officer, Megan Lacy to see how things were going. Our interview with Megan can be found below.
For the people who aren’t familiar with Lumineye, what’s the elevator pitch?
Lumineye builds wall-penetrating radar devices to help first responders and soldiers identify people and threats through walls.
What was your experience like during the pitch competition last year at Boise Startup Week?
Boise Startup Week was the first time I gave a formal 10 minute presentation on Lumineye. I was used to doing 3-5 minute presentations for smaller audiences so going through the experience helped me practice a longer company pitch, which has been useful to come back to in conversations over the last year. Another awesome part of Boise Startup Week was learning about all the interesting startups and small businesses there are in Boise! We loved hearing the pitches from all the other businesses and were surprised and honored when we won the competition.
When you got into business, what was the biggest, “What if?” that you asked yourself?
For me personally, I think the biggest question was “what if I’m not the right person to do this?”. When I moved to Boise, most of my experience was from the consumer world. If you told me a few years ago that I would co-found a through-wall sensing company, I would have laughed in disbelief. I continued to question myself throughout my first year at Lumineye and sometimes I have days where I still do.
What’s something you’re not good at and how have you overcome it in your role?
I’ve spent most of my career/education doubting my technical abilities. I get frustrated easily when I see things coming “easy” to other people and I actually thought I could never be an engineer since I didn’t think I was smart enough. When I have these thoughts, I have to constantly remind myself that I can learn anything that I focus on and that it isn’t productive to compare myself to others.
What’s next for Lumineye?
Lots of testing and moving back to Boise! We’ve been in the Bay Area since June as part of the Summer 2019 Y-Combinator cohort. We just graduated Y-Combinator last week and so we will be transitioning back to Boise soon to continue to grow Lumineye. We also have many testing opportunities coming up through September and October with first responders and soldiers.
If you weren’t the Chief Design Officer of Lumineye, what would you be doing now?
This is an easy one for me! I would be a full-time distance runner for The Idaho Distance Project. I am originally a New Jersey native and moved up to Boise to compete as a graduate student on the Boise State Track and Field Team. I’ve been a competitive runner since I was 8 years old and always dreamed of being a professional runner. Injuries sidelined me for most of my undergraduate career at Stanford and I spent most of my time on the Boise State team trying to gain back the fitness I lost. About a year ago, I met a few other Boise residents, Emma Bates, Kameron Ulmer and Kinsey Middleton and they convinced me to start training seriously again. We now have a large group of local and remote athletes competing at international and national levels. On the team, four of us have already qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials and we expect that we will have a few more qualify over the next few months.
What’s one rule you always break?
Internally, I think of myself that likes stability (financial, career, geographic, etc). However, when I look at the decisions I’ve made in my life, it seems like I gravitate heavily towards taking chances and following whatever I’m drawn to. I can think of many instances where the “right” decision was clear and I decided to go for the more risky but rewarding option. Sometimes the risky option is more stressful, but I’ve never made a decision this way that I’ve regretted.
What’s your spirit animal and why?
This is also an easy one for me! My spirit animal is a unicorn. I know technically they don’t exist, but I have bright purple hair and loved unicorns growing up so there really is no better spirit animal for me.