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Last week, my upstairs neighbor asked me to use my apartment’s Wi-Fi. Her roommate had tinkered with theirs because he felt his room wasn’t receiving a strong enough signal, but ended up taking down the whole network instead.
This is an all-too-common issue. People struggle to get adequate Wi-Fi coverage throughout their homes all the time, but Eero, a new startup from San Francisco is building a gadget that could help solve that. And today it’s announcing that after it raised $5 million in funding last summer, preorders for its product are now open.
Eero’s pod-shaped devices, a new take on the range extender, use mesh networking and Bluetooth to connect and extend your network. You can get just one or multiple (Eero recommends three to cover a typical home). The first connects to your modem, while the others only need a power outlet as they connect to each other via mesh networking via the two radios built inside.
While it might seem like an obvious solution that should have been built ages ago, the current alternatives are still traditional range extenders and access points. Cofounder and chief executive Nick Weaver spent years setting up Wi-Fi for his family and friends, he told VentureBeat, which gave him a front-row seat to the problems and challenges.
The Eero devices are also equipped with Bluetooth chips, and that’s the key to Eero’s bigger vision. Although they currently only serve to connect with Eero’s companion smartphone app, Weaver said the company will eventually enable the devices to connect to other Bluetooth-equipped devices.
You can now preorder one device for $125, or three for $299, which will ship this summer.
First Round Capital led the round, with Stanford University, Menlo Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Homebrew Ventures, Alexis Ohanian, and Garry Tan also participating.
Weaver cofounded Eero in early 2014 with Amos Schallich and Nate Hardison. The team snagged former Palm chief executive Jon Rubinstein and Nest thermostat designer Fred Bould. Eero is in the current StartX accelerator batch.
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