Daniel Friedman

Business: Ninja Blocks

Age: 25

State: New South Wales


Creating a world of connected home devices able to be controlled and monitored through the internet is the goal of Ninja Blocks chief executive Daniel Friedman.


Friedman took on the senior executive role earlier this year after joining the company as chief technology officer last year.


“This whole space of connected devices is going to explode,” he predicts.


“We’d just like to have a part of the conversation on how they should interact.”


Ninja Blocks are small, cloud-enabled computers that can sense their environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can influence their surroundings by controlling items such as lights, power sockets, air-conditioning and music centres. They operate on an open platform that allows developers to create their own applications for devices.


Friedman says Ninja Blocks enables people to connect almost anything to the internet.


He says one of their uses includes creating a cheap security system for the home.


Motion detectors can turn on lights if movement is detected while the home owner is out, and turn on a camera to record and send the images to their Dropbox.


Ninja Blocks was founded by husband and wife Marcus and Madeline Schappi, and Peter Moore. Last year the company secured $1 million from a range of angel investors in the US after taking part in the Startmate seed funding and mentorship program.


Also last year Ninja Blocks launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to manufacture the device and smashed its $24,000 target in just one weekend. The campaign eventually raised more than $102,000.


Friedman says the company is preparing to launch its next generation Ninja Block, which will include new features that focus on ways to control devices other than with your mobile phone.


He says moving into the chief executive role has been a “large learning curve”.


“It’s a different sort of responsibility,” he says of the role, which includes making sure business processes are efficient, speaking to stakeholders, making sure investors’ interests are being considered and the company is on the right path.


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