Ben Howes

Software Engineer & Creative Problem Solver

Zoetrope Labs

by Ben Howes

Zoetrope Labs was a company I started almost immediately upon graduating from university in the summer of 2013.

Zoetrope had 2 lives:

  1. one as a 3D product photography company (detailed here)
  2. a longer and more productive one as an IoT consultancy

I’ll write more about the photography business another time - but suffice to say, I was not able to achieve product/market fit. In 2015 we successfully pivoted to IoT consulting, just as the buzzword was being popularised.

From this point on, we were able to sustainably build the business, always with a view of creating new and more scalable products and services in our market. Over the few years, we worked with around 12 clients ranging from startups to multi-nationals. Each of these engagements were a long term, high value and really interesting.

In June 2018, I myself and Richard (first employee / co-founder) sat down to discuss how we were going to achieve our product dreams with the business (following a similar discussion towards the end of 2017). We came to the conclusion that whilst there was no immediate/apparent threats to the business, we did not have a path to transitioning from consulting work to products. We’d explored several options over the past 6 months, all of which turned out to not be viable after enough research.

Our exposure to new problems and people was too small. Due to this, I decided that the best long term decision was to close the company down and move on to new challenges.

Zoetrope Labs was an increadible experience and I enjoyed (nearly) every second of it. Thank you to everyone that’s been a part of that.

Zoetrope team