By offering a potential solution to people’s chronic complaints about their Wi-Fi, it appears that Eero has touched a rather sensitive – and profitable – nerve.
The mysterious startup came out of stealth on Feb. 3 to announce that it had raised $5 million in venture financing and was building a new kind of Wi-Fi box that would offer affordable, robust wireless connections throughout people’s homes. Just two days later, the company said it had $1 million in pre-sales of a product that no one has seen or used, and that has no firm timetable for shipping.
“It’s hard to believe we announced our company and pre-order just a week ago today,” said Eero cofounder and chief executive Nick Weaver in an e-mail this week to people who had registered at the company’s website. “The reception has been nothing short of overwhelming.”
Eero is building a pod-shaped device that it says will be a dramatic improvement over the current crop of Wi-Fi range extenders that can be more complex to set up than they appear. Such extenders can often lead to conflicts when multiple devices are trying to connect, unless you have the technical know-how to configure multiple IP addresses.
Weaver has said Eero’s devices will use a combination of mesh networking and Bluetooth to avoid such issues and to make extending Wi-Fi throughout a house a more seamless experience.
Orders have been so strong that Weaver said the company is ending its pre-sale discount. Currently, you can still order one Eero for $125 and a package of three for $299 through February 15. After that, it will cost $199 and $499 respectively.
The company is still saying it’s hoping to ship sometime this summer. But it should be noted that it’s not unusual for new hardware startups who are flooded with orders to find it a challenge to meet deadlines. In these cases, founders have to rethink the scale of their manufacturing needs, a process that can complicate production and delivery.
We’ll see in a few months whether Eero can avoid this pitfall.
“We’re going heads-down to execute on our promise to you,” Weaver wrote.