The keys to your house belong to startups

Crunchbase News. October 12, 2017 – Silicon Valley may be the techiest place on earth, but even here, the way people open the front door hasn’t changed much in a century. Most of us still get in by turning a flat metal key into a lock. Visitors ring doorbells, and we peep at them through peepholes. If we’re out, keyless guests are out of luck.

If investors have their way, that status quo will look quite primitive in a few years. So far this year, venture investors have poured more than $200 million into an assortment of companies with businesses and technologies tied to keys, locks, and building access. To date, those companies have more than $500 million, according to an analysis of Crunchbase funding data.

Several startups have business models tied to traditional keys, including offering tools to more easily copy and keep track of them. Most of the funding, however, has gone to companies offering digital alternatives to metal keys, including systems that tie in smartphone apps to monitor and control who gets through the door.

“Locks are anachronistic and inconvenient in today’s digital age,” Jason Johnson, CEO of August Home, a developer of smartphone-enabled keyless entry systems, told Crunchbase News. “People shouldn’t have to carry their keys with them all the time when they are only used one to two times a day.”

Moreover, Johnson says, virtual keys give users more control.  They get more information about who accesses their home and when. Users can also revoke virtual keys instantly, eliminating some of the worries that come with sharing physical keys.

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