6 Problem Solvers Who Are Disrupting Entire Industries


Daily bread: James Beshara (left) and Khaled Hussein make crowdfunding routine.

Developing smart networks: Trisala Chandaria (left) and Jean-Baptiste Leonelli.
Photo (C) Ewan Burns

The Device Code

Developing smart networks: Trisala Chandaria (left) and Jean-Baptiste Leonelli.

Trisala Chandaria and Jean-Baptiste Leonelli knew they wanted to democratize programming, making it simple and efficient for app developers to create and update code. That's why in 2012 they launched New York City-based Temboo, a repository of programming processes that developers can use to connect to code utilities, databases and more than 100 application programming interfaces (APIs) for online services ranging from Amazon Web Services cloud storage to real-estate site Zillow.

Available in seven programming languages, Temboo's platform lets coders access a cloud-based library of more than 2,000 snippets of code, or "choreos" (short for choreographies), that they can insert into their projects. Whether they want to enable an app to copy files to Dropbox or check payments via PayPal, incorporating choreos can turn the once-lengthy process into short, five-line pieces of code. As a result, programmers get tidier software. And when an online service makes a change to its API, Temboo adjusts the code on the back end--a huge time-saver that eliminates one of the biggest headaches for developers: constant updates.

But Temboo goes even further. In May 2013, the company made the leap from software to hardware, announcing a partnership with Italy-based Arduino, a manufacturer of open-source microcontroller hardware boards popular with makers, hobbyists and designers. Embedded in the Wi-Fi-equipped Arduino Y?n circuit board, Temboo now enables hardware-based processes. Chandaria says hobbyists have programmed their Y?ns to manage everything from Twitter-connected home security computers to electricity usage meters that automatically log values onto a Google spreadsheet. It's a key development in the new range of "smart" networked devices, the so-called Internet of Things.

"With this little hook into our cloud, these dumb devices become incredibly intelligent, flexible and also really easy to program," says Vaughn Shinall, who works in product outreach for Temboo.

Programming hardware typically requires advanced skills, and microcontrollers like the Y?n--with no screen, limited RAM and low power--can be especially tricky to code. But by employing Temboo's virtualized code, developers can program the device easily and quickly. "For an Arduino user, from the time of sign-up to the time of successfully running their first choreo with Temboo--we've seen that done in about eight minutes," Chandaria says.

"Well-funded" by private investment (Chandaria declines to reveal figures about financing, user base or revenue), Temboo has enterprise clients including U.K.-based food chain Eat and a major U.S. financial institution.

With licensing plans that range from free for distributing up to 1,000 choreos per month to $299 for 250,000 per month, the company appears equipped to handle the load as its service increases in popularity.

Since the Arduino announcement, that user base has grown exponentially, Chandaria claims. "If you want an Internet of Things that is connected--that is supposed to bring all the parts together--one of the challenges is having programming capability for these devices that is easy, has a low threshold and is updatable," she says. "The solution we've built is a really nice fit for that." --John Patrick Pullen

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This article was originally published in the February 2014 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Digital Disruption.

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