Investors Consider Smart Hub Maker Revolv a Smart Bet, Invest $4M

Fresh off the launch of its smart device hub earlier this month, Revolv announced today it has closed a $4 million Series A round.

Revolv is developing a hub that will control smart devices like locks, lights, or thermostats made by different manufacturers, including Sonos, Phillips, Belkin, and Yale. Users can control the devices using a single iOS app.

The Boulder, CO-based startup is positioning its product, which it’s named the Smart Home Solution, as the one device to control them all, and it wants to be a key player in the home automation industry.

The first release has gone well so far, especially for a product that, while pretty advanced, will undergo some further refinement, said Mike Soucie, Revolv’s co-founder and head of sales and marketing.

“Our vision is not complete for what we want, for the number of devices we support, and for how feature-rich the app is, but we’re really, really pleased [with reviews],” Soucie said. “I think we have really great momentum, especially as it relates to our target, those early adopters and innovators that are really buying these premium brands.”

Revolv’s Smart Home Solution can be ordered at Revolv’s website or through Amazon for $299.

Momentum looks like it’s on Revolv’s side. The startup, previously known as Mobiplug, went through Techstars Boulder in 2012 and hit the ground running, attracting an experienced CEO during Techstars and landing a $2.7 million seed round within weeks of demo day.

The product launch was the final step needed before closing the recent investment, Soucie said. The round was led by the Foundry Group, which also led the seed round, and included prior investors and American Family Insurance.

“We’ve been working on this for a while, with the intent that we’d be hitting milestones and proving to investors along the way that we are for real, that we can hit goals that we lay out for ourselves,” Soucie said. The round “was in the works for a while, but you don’t get those commitments until you deliver.”

Following the Series A round, it’s all about scaling up and getting the hub to customers.

“What we were supposed to do with the seed round was to build a product, take it to market, and prove early interest, and we really executed according to our timeline. Our next round is really now about market expansion, distribution—there are some retail opportunities we’d like to take advantage of—and really getting it out to the consumers,” Soucie said.

Revolv is planning to have some pilot projects and test runs with a limited number of sellers early next year. If they are successful, it’s likely the product will be on store shelves by the 2014 holiday shopping season.

That would be an important milestone because Revolv has competition in the home automation market, which it estimates could be more than $9.7 billion by 2017.

Consumer electronics giants like General Electric, Phillips, or Belkin already are developing smart devices and could decide to create a hub that would support other manufacturers’ devices, which would make it a direct competitor.

Meanwhile, startups like SmartThings and Nest are making moves, even though their strategies appear to be leading them in different directions. Telecoms like Comcast also are trying to sell smart-home systems.

Revolv is betting it can build a superior product that’s advanced enough to be “future-proof” and support up … Next Page »

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