Geek of the Week: Ben Taylor, CEO, and Founder of Doorport

Living in a big city means having to deal with apartment intercoms as a part of life. For a lot of people, apartment intercoms can be buggy, and if they go bad, waiting for them to get fixed can be a nightmare. That’s one of the reasons Ben Taylor came up with Doorport. The company is in the business of producing intercom systems that can be installed into existing buzzer systems, but that grants you access to it from your smartphone. You can quickly check to see who you’re buzzing in, or unlock your own door from the convenience of your personal smartphone.

According to Ben, his inspiration for Doorport came in a “lightbulb moment.” He was doing laundry, and his eyes wandered across the intercom, and he thought to himself, “Why can’t I let people into my apartment from my smartphone?” On doing a bit of research, Ben realized that despite his apartment building being relatively new, the technology that the intercom system was developed in the 1980s. He set about trying to figure out a way to upgrade intercom systems into the twenty-first century. The result is Doorport, a technologically advanced system that can be used in almost any apartment building without having to invest in pricey rewiring.

Ben’s rise to founding and running his own company hasn’t been smooth, however. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, he received his Bachelor of Engineering in 2011 and became a Control System Engineer Intern at QMSI. After his four-month stint there, he did another four months at Global Stories as their Web Developer before moving to Health Information Management provider Epic to become their Business Intelligence Developer. In 2016, Ben left Epic to found Doorport, and the technology has seen a lot of interest from investors. Most of the funding Ben does is on his own. Even so, the technology and the company seems as though it might be on the way up.

So far, Ben’s focus has been on developing and promoting the app for iOS since this target demographic is Class A luxury properties with leasing agreements and on-site staff. A majority of users for those sites utilize iOS in their devices. As a result, he decided to use that as the platform for his development.

According to Ben’s description, the road to making the product functional was a hard one. He notes that he spent the more significant part of a week visiting his initial setup and teasing it and tweaking it to work all the bugs out of it. His resourcefulness has shined throughout the development and funding phases of the project, showing that he has what it takes to run a company once he believes in what it does. He does notice that he has some shortfalls to working on, including under-utilizing resources and playing to his weaknesses as opposed to his strengths. While neither of these is, by themselves, a game-breaker, he mentions that they can be factors that might push others to quit their projects, even though they may believe in them. He advises others that, “…you have to have this level of optimism to truly give your company your all and to know at the end of the day that you’re doing everything you possibly can to make it succeed. You can’t afford anything less.”