IControl, a company that lets you control home security sensors and other appliances from your phone or internet-connected computer, is building some momentum.
The startup recently inked a deal with VOXCOM, a provider of home video-monitoring services, and today, it announced a bit of a coup: IControl raised $15.5 million from top venture firm Kleiner Perkins, with the firm’s leading partner, John Doerr, joining iControl’s board. Previous investors Intel and Charles River Ventures also participated in the round. We first covered the company, which focuses on residential and small commercial establishments, in early 2005, after it raised a $1 million angel round, so it has come a long way.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based iControl is positioning itself as a white-label solution that telecommunications companies and others can integrate into larger offerings to homeowners. As competitor 4HomeMedia told me recently, the market opportunity here is that many communications and security service providers are seeing dips in revenue as competition among them increases. They’re all looking for add-on subscription services — like what iControl and 4HomeMedia offer — that can get customers paying them more every month.
What’s more, iControl’s focus on home security may be especially timely, considering the home foreclosures happening in suburbs around the country. Other companies, like 4HomeMedia, focus not just on home security but on other services like health monitoring for elderly relatives, and ways for you to do things like turn your lights on and off while you’re out of the house. Generally speaking, iControl also offers these services — but it is making a point of branding itself as being about security: It calls its service “Home Security 2.0.”
Take a look at this demo video on its site (not embeddable). While the company makes a point of being affordable, the demo clearly brands the services as something wealthy homeowners would want — people who tend to have large homes in the suburbs.
There’s a strong correlation between poverty and crime in any population. The escalating number foreclosures on homes in the suburbs means that crime rates in these areas are increasing (check out this fascinating Atlantic article for more on that; or, this Reuters story). So, there’s also an increasing market opportunity for using home technology to guard against crime, and iControl is well-positioned to meet that problem.
VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition: Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.