Home Automation Startups Begin Microsoft, American Family Accelerator

Microsoft and American Family Insurance today named the 10 startups selected for their joint accelerator focused on home automation.

The companies announced the accelerator partnership in June. The selected startups will work from Microsoft’s Redmond, WA headquarters campus through December and will have access to expertise and connections from Madison, WI-based American Family Insurance. American Family Ventures, the company’s venture arm, will offer the companies a $25,000 equity investment.

“The Internet of things, and home automation in particular, is rapidly emerging,” writes Microsoft vice president Steven Guggenheimer in a Microsoft Ventures blog post. “The goal of this accelerator is simple: to help a new generation of companies create smarter and safer homes.”

More than 400 companies applied. The winning companies will have the opportunity to present their businesses at a demo day in December.

Here are the 10 startup selected, with descriptions from Microsoft:

Chai Energy—Real-time energy understanding—from the whole house to individual appliances.
Heatworks—The world’s first fully electronic, connected, water heater that conserves water and energy in any application.
Neura—Creates intuitive and intelligent experiences between users and their connected environments. Devices gain contextual awareness and adaptive learning capabilities required for today’s developing physical Internet.
Novi Security—A portable smart-security system to seamlessly track activities across the home.
Reemo—A wrist-worn, gesture-control wearable, interoperable interface for both conventional appliances and more recent connected homes. Point, sync, and gesture control.
Plum—Wi-Fi enabled light pads, smart plugs and outlets that let the users control lights and electronics from a wall switch or from anywhere in the world using a smart phone.
Red Balloon Security—Ubiquitous host-based defense for embedded devices.
Scanalytics—The centerpiece for understanding consumer behavior in the offline world.
Sentri—HD camera and built-in sensors track the home’s vital stats and trends, allowing users to track temperature, humidity, air quality, weather and more.
Wallflowr—Connected home technology that helps consumers prevent and significantly reduce risks related to accidental fires caused by ranges, stoves and ovens.

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