By Steve Seepersaud
Michael Brown ’06 and his twin brother created a business opportunity for themselves in the early days of smartphones when they realized their clients weren’t using the emerging technology to its potential. In 2010, the Browns were energy efficiency consultants and contractors, teaching building superintendents in New York City how to manage properties more efficiently.
“They just started having iPhones and were using them as calculators, cameras, for notetaker and as flashlights,” Brown said. “Meanwhile, they were using paper log sheets to outline tasks they needed to do regularly. Many problems in facility management result from someone not doing basic things. Because the checklists were on paper, we had no way of knowing if tasks were getting done, and we felt we should leverage the computers in their pockets.”
Fueled by a $30,000 New York state grant, LogCheck — the company and app bearing the same name — came about. The firm builds software that helps operations and maintenance teams anticipate and prevent problems. The app streamlines routine inspections, maintenance tasks and meter readings in settings such as hospitals, data centers, schools, and commercial and residential buildings.
The Brown brothers secured a relatively modest investment from family and friends in 2013 to hire the first few LogCheck staffers and got venture capital funding the following year. It only took four years for the company to move into the black, and today it has more than 800 clients. LogCheck is used at iconic Manhattan facilities such as The New York Times building, One World Trade Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at a number of buildings across the country.
“Our product is simple, but that’s why it works so well,” Brown said. “By using a smartphone checklist, field staff know exactly what needs to be done. They record data, notes and photos quickly, and that information is reported back to management automatically. We eliminate the problems that arise because of poor communication between staff and management.”
As a member of Binghamton’s inaugural bioengineering class in 2006, Brown was up for the challenges he’d encounter in launching and growing LogCheck. In addition to the expected biology and engineering classes, the program had an entrepreneurship component that taught students to write a business plan, make an investor pitch and scout investment opportunities.
“When I was at Binghamton, I knew I’d start a company at some point, probably related to renewable energy or sustainability,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d end up helping improve building maintenance, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
“I also got a philosophy degree at Binghamton. At first, my application for a double major was rejected, but I didn’t give up and was accepted the following semester,” Brown said. “I rarely give up after only one attempt at something. There are other examples of that in my life, and I firmly believe that has been the key to my success. Grit and persistence are way more important than degrees or natural intelligence.”
November is National Entrepreneurship Month. Have you started a venture of your own? Want to get your brand in front of other alumni? Submit your information to the Binghamton Startup List, a portal of businesses and organizations formed by entrepreneurs including at least one Binghamton University graduate.