How this Startup Raised $7.4 Million to Bring AI to Home Security

05/30/2017 10:23 pm ET

It’s well known that many tech startups are in a frenzied competition to see who can bring artificial intelligence to the mainstream fastest. From Google to Microsoft to MIT, the heavy hitters are investing hard and heavy in AI. But there’s a dark horse startup in an unexpected industry that’s looking to score a piece of the pie for itself.

That startup is Deep Sentinel, a newcomer to the scene of home security that has just raised a whopping $7.4 million in venture capital funding thanks to the lead investment of Shasta Ventures and additional investments from the likes of Bezos Expeditions, Lux Capital, and UP2398. The company plans to use the funds to advance its plans to incorporate AI technology into home security systems.

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Deep Sentinel isn’t the only home security company looking to bring advanced technology to a field that has often lagged behind the rest of the tech boom. Camio, Hikvision, and Nest have already produced cameras equipped with software that can automatically distinguish between benign agents (such as family pets) and legitimate intruders. Learning algorithms allow these systems to become increasingly adept at identifying potential crimes. Deep Sentinel plans to elevate these early takes on AI-enhanced home security by providing the same benefits at a lower cost to consumers.

The company plans to deliver similar features to the ones described above. For example, its AI technology would be able to distinguish between a mail carrier and a package thief and, in the latter case, report the burglar to the authorities. So the idea behind the technology isn’t inherently new—but the cost Deep Sentinel plans to pass on to its consumers is. The company plans to innovate on existing AI by developing tech that would allow most of the AI system’s computing to occur locally on the cameras themselves. Different devices would also be able to talk to each other locally, which would further reduce the system’s computing demands. Together, these developments would significantly reduce costs for consumers, as computing is currently the most expensive aspect of AI-based security systems already on the market.

In addition to saving customers money, the company also expects to usher in a new era of home security focused on crime prevention more so than crime detection. Instead of simply alerting homeowners to a potential intruder, the company’s systems will be programmed with algorithms that allow them to identify potential crimes and trigger alerts that can facilitate crime intervention to thwart burglars right out the gate. In the process, they’ll reduce false alarms and target the new era of property crime, which is trending toward mail theft and driveway break-ins and away from outright burglary within the home.

While Deep Sentinel has yet to release a product, it plans to launch a line of cameras as early as next year. The company boasts a team ready-made for this challenge: It was co-founded by David Selinger of Amazon fame, who has ample experience in developing and drumming up consumer interest in high-tech products. Deep Sentinel’s other co-founder is Winston Chen, a former senior engineer at the likes of LinkedIn, Banjo, and Quid who will be heading up the team’s engineering efforts.

Given that the company has been able to raise millions in funding without yet producing a single product, it’s fair to say investors are eager to get in on the ground floor of AI. With their help, Americans may soon have access to one of the most sophisticated security systems yet.

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