Google's planned $3.2 billion buyout of Nest -- revealed this week -- has sparked additional interest in the already hot sector of smart sensors for the home.
With that in mind, Light Reading has picked out five startups that are worth watching in this area. At the very least, Google's surprise buy has given the sector additional credibility and may provoke additional buyouts from rivals looking to keep up with the search giant. (See Google to Buy Nest for $3.2B.)
So here's our pick of the home bodies to watch:
yetu AG, a Berlin-based startup, was founded in 2010 by the former Chief Product and Innovation Officer from Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Christopher Schläffer, who serves as CEO. The company makes a "smart home platform" that connects various devices with a home gateway and allows developers to create applications for the home across smartphones, tablets, and PCs. The company completed an $8 million funding round late last year, according to CrunchBase.
Dropcam. This San Francisco-based startup raised a whopping $30 million series C round last year to support the growth of its home monitoring WiFi video camera product, which uploads video to the cloud. Founded in 2009, Dropcam CEO Greg Duffy says he got the inspiration for the product when his father was trying to discover which of the neighborhood's dogs was "fertilizing" his yard.
SNUPI Technologies Inc. has just closed a $7.5 million round of funding. It makes the WallyHome sensor system to detect flooding and temperature changes in the home. The startup is based in Seattle and was founded in 2012 by CEO Jeremy Jaech and co-inventors of the technology, professors Shwetak Patel and Matt Reynolds of the University of Washington and University of Washington doctoral student Gabe Cohn. SNUPI Technologies has exclusive license on the technology from the University of Washington and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
tado° is something of a European alternative to Nest. Co-founded in Munich in 2011 by CEO Christian Deilmann, the firm makes a smart thermostat that can be controlled via a smartphone. The company raised $2.6 million in funding in September 2013.
Canary, a New York City startup, has developed a wireless security sensor that connects via WiFi and can be controlled with -- you guessed it! -- a smartphone. Co-founded by CEO Adam Sager, the company can claim the most successful crowd-funding campaign yet on Indiegogo with nearly $2 million raised in just over a month last summer.
Challenge 1 for all of these startups is clearly finding a name stupid enough to play in the home sensor sector! Beyond that, the major issue all will face is opening up mass distribution channels for their products. Aside from Google, carriers like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) could help with that, as well as the established sensor players such as Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON). (See Betting on Smart Homes.)
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading