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Meet Laurent Le Pen Founder of Omate

March 5, 2022
5 mins read
Laurent Le Pen Founder of Omate
Laurent Le Pen Founder of Omate

Laurent Le Pen, a French Tech Entrepreneur, is the Founder and CEO of Omate.

This hardware and software company designs IoT and wearable tech solutions for those who require protection.

Omate offers Wearable-as-a-Service solutions connected through telecom networks targeting three main segments: Kids, Seniors, and Enterprise.

Laurent is also a co-founder at Oclean, a Shenzhen-based next-generation oral care tech startup.

Laurent is a graduate of ISAAP France and a 500 Startups alum.

Laurent lives in Shenzhen in China, and has worked in the telecom industry since 2005.

Laurent is an expert in advanced wireless technologies, electromechanical components, and strategic alliances in enterprise and consumer electronics.

Laurent is also the founder of a LinkedIn group for Wearable / Internet-of-Things professionals, with more than 30,000 members.

Omate: Where did it all come from?

Our first product, the Omate TrueSmart, was unveiled eight years ago.

We had already created the first Android smartwatch that was connected to the global telecom network.

This fantastic piece of technology allows the wearer to have all the power of a smartphone right on their wrist.

It all started in 2012 when I connected my iPod nano to an Android smartphone motherboard.

After a few engineering tricks, I finally turned it on and saw the tiny screen that displayed a thumbnail of an Android user interface.This was my eureka moment!

I had been involved in mobile phone design for nearly a decade at the time.

I pitched my idea to several large distributors and OEMs of mobile phones.

However, none of these brands were interested in my “Outdoor Mate.”

After being rejected by large mobile companies, I founded Omate on July 1, 2013.

I’ve set up a team to design our hardware and the Omate User Interface (OUI) on top of Android.

Because it didn’t need to be connected to a smartphone to become innovative, we called the first product “TrueSmart.”

The TrueSmart was more than a watch and more than a Bluetooth accessory.

Other smartwatches worked only when connected to our smartphone via Bluetooth.

They became “dumb” as soon as they were removed from the smartphone.

Our Kickstarter campaign was launched on August 21, 2013.

Our goal was to raise $100,000 in a month. The goal was met in half a day.

We ended the campaign on September 20 with more than a million dollars of funding.

TrueSmart became the 5th most-funded Kickstarter project in the Design Category in 2013.

It’s a fun fact that many of the OEMs we met previously backed TrueSmart on Kickstarter, and we were getting emails from distributors and industrial partners from around the world.

How do you stay productive?

At 6 a.m., I wake up, eat a French breakfast, and then pet my cat.

After that, I clean the living area while listening to YouTube podcasts, mainly in English and political news, and daily programs in French.

My kids wake up, and I make their breakfast before going to school with my wife.

Before I head to work, this is my morning routine where I can concentrate on the market and industrial challenges.

​How do you bring ideas to life?​

This involves a lot of brainstorming and conversations with colleagues and friends.

Ideas are the basis of all creation.

To begin with, I read extensively to research the market.

To be a good shopper in the market, I need to follow the right people on Twitter and LinkedIn.

I also set up Google Alerts. Finally, I have my own LinkedIn professional group that allows me to stay on top of what’s happening in my industry.

It is also essential to understand the world around us.

I try to surround myself with open-minded people, am curious about current trends, and have global visions.

What’s your favorite trend?

Digital parenting is my favorite, especially since I have two toddlers at the house.

The second is the senior industry, with the aging population and the boomers entering the senior category.

COVID has made many changes in how we communicate with our family members, so that’s what keeps you busy these days.

​What habits make you productive?

I use a well-known engineering rule for almost all my projects called PDCA.

It stands for Plan / Done / Check / Act then repeat. It is quite efficient.

What’s your advice for the Noob?

Take Bitcoins more seriously. Listen more to your gut feeling and intuition. Don’t be afraid to pivot.

Don’t change anything. Everything will be just fine. Do all you can to realize your childhood dreams.

What is one thing we can all agree on?

Most successful people you will meet will give you this advice: “You must concentrate on your idea.”

They will say to you because they are living proof of connecting the dots from their original idea to the final destination.

Focusing on something can be explained by having a great idea.

But, if you’re not focused on it, you won’t accomplish it.

But, I’m afraid I strongly disagree with the “focus” advice for startups.

This is also one of the main reasons most of them end up dying early.

First, likely, you are not alone in having that idea.

If you feel that you aren’t the right person to build that idea or make it a reality, don’t be afraid to pivot to do something else.

Therefore, while you can focus your efforts on one thing and move forward, you need to be aware of the many factors surrounding you.

Second, mistakes will happen. You should make small ones than big ones that could lead to your company’s demise.

You can save your crew and your ship from certain death.

You are the captain of the boat.

You have the responsibility to make the boat a safe and enjoyable place.

​What do you recommend as an entrepreneur?

Make sure you clean your home in the morning.

This will ensure that you are not having a bad day and feel at ease when you return home.

This is the same principle as making sure your bed before going to the army.

It is also an excellent way to get up in the morning and be productive.

What’s your rich strategy?

When needed, pivot and share your knowledge with anyone who asks, whether customers, suppliers or competitors.

Some people will remember it. Not all of them, but you only need a few to recommend you.

Remember that people will change jobs many times throughout their lives.

Be kind, loyal, and helpful to all people during your career.

I’m confident that it will pay off in the long term.

How do you overcome Failure?

There are many, but those are the ones I want to focus on.

It’s not essential if I don’t survive, but the company did.

​Can you share a business idea?​

Okay, I think there’s an excellent opportunity to continue developing and innovating projection devices.

I would rather metaverse through breakthrough projectors or holograms than wear AR goggles or VR headsets. Could you do it?

What’s your recent best buy? ​

True Wireless Earbuds are a must-have. I have one pair at work and two at home.

I have the best models from Huawei, Xiaomi, and Nothing.

They are all great for YouTube, music, and online meetings.

The bubble effect is my favorite because it allows me not to be disturbed while not disturbing anyone else.

The Xiaomi Ninebot Mini (Segway) is another excellent device at this price point.

It is a revolutionary electric vehicle. I use it for short trips.

It’s a far better option than an electric scooter.

However, people tend to forget about the low-end copycats of Segway that were made a few years back.

I believe that Xiaomi will continue to use the Segway brand by creating more concepts.

What are your favorite Softwares or Apps?

WeChat is China’s Super App. It’s challenging to understand elsewhere, but it’s my wallet and metro card. My Uber is my messaging app.

In other words, it connects to all the services I use every day.

CapCut is another app that I use often. It’s part TikTok ecosystem.

I use it multiple times per week to create short videos for work and family.

This is the type of thing that used to require a professional editor.

Now, I can do it all myself with my phone.

Which book would you recommend?

Let me refer to two books: Zero To One by Peter Thiel, a great management lesson, and Chronicles From the Future by Paul Amadeus Dienach because it will give you a long-term vision of what humanity might become.

It is a book that shows us how we can be humbled when we look back at 2000 years ago.

It’s a mixture of utopia and dystopia, but I believe people underestimate how much they can accomplish in a decade.

​What’s your favorite quote?​

You cannot fish for trout without dry trousers.

TL;DR by Laurent Le Pen

  • Clean your home early in the morning!
  • Take notice of the world you live in
  • Do not be afraid to pivot
  • Connect people
  • Long-term thinking is key

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