How A Favor Helped Launch This Fast Growing Business

It all began at a funeral home on Cleveland’s west side. The funeral director wanted to help families with the grieving process when not all members could travel to attend the service. He asked his tech-savvy friend Gordon Daily to help.

Gordon, who was working at Rockwell Automation at the time, has a background in computer engineering and product management. And he thought he had a simple solution—live stream the service online. But it wasn’t that easy.

“It’s surprisingly difficult to stream live video,” Gordon says. “It requires expensive hardware and lots of technical expertise. This means organizations, like funeral homes, churches, schools and small businesses, struggle to do it well on their own.”

He realized the only way he could make it easy enough for the funeral home to stream video themselves would be to build something that automated the streaming process. So he and his friends got to work.

Gordon and fellow Rockwell coworkers, Justin Hartman and Ron Hopper, designed and built a fully-automated encoder device that turns any camera into an end-to-end video streaming platform. A user connects an onsite camera with a pocket-sized, plug-and-play encoder called a BoxCaster, and the video shows up on their website.

The director loved it. And Gordon realized they had something special.

“A light bulb went off—we saw the power of connecting people to these one-of-a-kind experiences and knew that we needed to build a company around it,” he says.

In 2013 Gordon, Justin and Ron launched BoxCast. Their first stop to finance the company’s growth was the Innovation Fund.

“We won $95,000 that helped us prove we could build a scalable product,” said Daily. “Once we had a product, we could prove people would buy it. And once we proved people would buy it, we could secure investment funding.”

Read the full story on the Great Lakes Innovation & Development Enterprise blog.