By: Steve O’Hear
Dublin and Berlin-based Internet of Things (IoT) startup Smartfrog has raised $20 million in further funding, meaning that the smart cam maker has managed to pull in $30 million in total despite only launching roughly a year ago. The latest investment breaks down into $15 million equity and $5 million debt financing.
Existing investors investors e.Ventures and Target Global participated along with a number of unnamed family offices. Jean-Pierre Wyss, who is the co-founder of industrial IoT chipmaker u-blox, has also come onboard as a strategic investor.
In a call, Smartfrog co-founder Andreas Rudyk told me the startup has a penchant for strategic investors and partners, revealing that it has also recently signed a partnership with Amazon to offer its Smartfrog internet-connected cam and cloud service as a monthly subscription via the e-retail giant. It has a similar arrangement in place with German retailer Otto, in addition to deals with numerous utilities and consumer electronics distribution companies.
The Smartfrog cam and app/cloud service competes with similar devices from Nest et. al. and lets consumers add home surveillance to their smart home setup or perhaps as a first toe into the smart home or consumer IoT waters.
A free version of the service is offered that turns a disused smartphone into a smart security cam, something Rudyk says is largely targeted at emerging markets and other markets where Smartfrog is yet to launch its hardware device.
You can also purchase the rather neat-looking and feature-rich Smartfrog cam outright, which includes free cloud recording and storage of the last 4 hours footage or the option to pay a monthly fee for more cloud storage and a longer surveillance history.
And to lower the barriers to entry even further, there’s the subscription only package that throws in a Smartfrog cam and the premium cloud recording component all for a no-commitment and relatively low monthly fee.
This, Rudyk tells me, is in stark recognition that, regardless of all of the IoT and smart home hype in recent years, startups like Smartfrog are still very much at the “building a market” stage, something he and his team have experienced at the plethora of companies they’ve previously founded or worked at, such as publicly-listed anti-virus firm AVG.
To that end, Smartfrog, though shy on hard metrics, says it has customers in 130 countries. It has also recently doubled its staff to 60, made up of 22 different nationalities.
And, adds Rudyk, who confesses to owning a pair of “smart” socks that have an RFID chip to tell him when to throw them out, a smart security cam is just the start. Smartfrog has built the full IoT/smart home software, hardware and cloud stack that should enable it to enter new verticals, such as elderly care and health, and via other types of smart sensors.
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