Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Money going into Smartlocks and Digital Keys

Its been nearly two years since we published our first blog post about 'money going into Digital Keys'. With the recent announcement of capital raising rounds by August Smartlocks and Kevo smartlocks, we thought now was a good time to have another look at the money going into Digital Keys/smartlocks.

So in case you missed it, August smartlocks announced a couple of weeks ago that is had raised a $38 million Series B round to 'expand smart lock retail availability'.  This is on top of their earlier $10 million capital raise. August is led by some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley including Jason Johnson, and Yves Behar. Johnson is a serial entrepreneur having founded and exited three companies, including one acquired by Google. He is also the co-founder of Founders Den, in 'invite only' serial entrepreneurs club/incubator, and a TEDxSF, an organisation that puts on TED events in San Francisco. One of Johnson's buddies that co-founded Founders Den with him is Zack Bogue, a commercial real estate investor and entrepreneur with a net worth of $300 million, who is married to Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. We don't know for sure if Zack is one of the investors in the latest capital raising round for August - the point here is that Johnston is part of a old boys club in Silicon Valley with some serious capital and power behind them.

Not to be outdone by August, Unikey, one of the pioneers of smartlocks with its Kevo product, only yesterday, April 15, 2015, announced a $10 million capital raise.

Two current live crowdfunding smartlock projects, Sesame and Friday are doing well. A couple of days ago, Sesame just passed one million on their kickstarter campaign. And Friday smartlocks just exceeded their $75,000 target on Indiegogo.

Then there is the hospitality smartlock announcements in the last six months - we've seen the big announcements to start rolling out smartlocks/digital keys from Hilton Hotels, Starwood Hotels, and Accor Hotels.

Hilton is investing $550 million to roll out smartlocks/digital keys in all of its 650,000 rooms by the end of 2016

Starwood is in the middle of its first rollout of 30,000 smartlocks/digital keys in 10 hotels in USA, and Accor announced a $320 million rollout of digital keys/smartlocks as part of a new digital strategy.

Even Sony decided to get into the action of crowdfunding smartlocks - late last year they quickly passed their crowdfunding goal of $22,000 in one day.

The Sony Qrio smart lock

It hasn't been all smooth sailing though for the crowdfunded smart lock companies - this article from October last year reported about Goji going dark on their backers and failing to deliver after their successful crowdfunding campaign.

Finally early last year, Next Market, a leading Market Research firm, reported that the smart lock market is to see explosive growth over the next ten years and will grow to be valued at $3.6 billion by 2019.












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