SmartRent raises $60 million to manage connected buildings

SmartRent, which provides smart home automation for property owners, managers, developers, and residents, today announced that it has raised $60 million. CEO Lucas Haldeman said the funding will enable the company’s next phase of growth as it expands its portfolio of offerings.

According to Statista, revenue from the smart home market is anticipated to climb 18.3% from 2020 to 2023, resulting in market volume of $41 billion within the next three years. But appliances, lighting fixtures, and security cameras are often not user-friendly, which has threatened to impede adoption. A survey conducted by TechSee found that nearly 74% of respondents were “certain” or “very likely” to return a new smart home purchase if they found it difficult to install.

SmartRent promises to take the pain out of installation with a fully managed service approach. The company, which launched in the multifamily apartment space with a platform for single-family rentals, expanded to over 25,000 homes spanning 15 different states between 2014 and 2016. In early 2017, it relaunched with a “heightened focus” on multifamily communities and support for dual ownership, where a resident directly controls devices like smart locks, thermostats, and sensors, but a property manager monitors the system and supplies credentials.

SmartRent’s flagship product is Alloy Access, a cloud-based access control system that enables property managers to streamline the move-in and move-out process. There’s no need to collect fobs or keys — former residents and staff are automatically removed from the system once their contract, employment, or lease ends.

Alloy Access supports fobs for customers who choose to use them, as well as keyless entry and PIN codes and mobile credentials. Those credentials can be added to a mobile app or revoked, and managers receive alerts from that same app when doors are propped open or visitors arrive.

With SmartRent, customers can switch between communities to manage particular units and work orders. They’re able to create, assign, and manage units, leases, and unit-related work from the app and integrate the platform with existing software like Yardi, RealPage, Entrata, ResMan; single sign-on portals like Okta; and access control systems and hardware like Brivo or HID.

In addition to automated move in/out, SmartRent can handle vacant unit management and automatic hourly syncs, as well as tasks like reporting and analytics.

SmartRent works with property managers to inspect unit door locks and common area access points, as well as electrical, water, and network infrastructure. Depending on local municipal laws, geographic location, and property type, SmartRent’s channel partners design device packages for managers to choose from. SmartRent’s field staff installs selected hardware and performs platform activation, providing training and assistance for staff and residents.

Residents get features like climate control, keyless access, preprogrammed scenes, scheduled routines, and monitoring (of energy and usage), courtesy of devices from Yale, Honeywell, Nest, Amazon, Assa Abloy, Aeotec, and other popular manufacturers. SmartRent’s platform is fully compatible with assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. On the prospective renter side, it allows managers to offer self-guided tours that collect information like contacts and identification (i.e., a driver’s license) while providing a high-level overview of units, covering things like prices, bathroom counts, amenities, and ADA-accessible features.

Haldeman notes that the pandemic appears to be ushering in contactless experiences like SmartRent’s self-guided tours feature. In the payments arena, for instance, a Mastercard study showed that 79% of consumers who use contactless payments cite safety and cleanliness as the key drivers of adoption.

SmartRent says it encrypts connections using ciphers and keeps current on security incidents to patch its software as needed. The company also claims it walls off certain device usage data (like lock and air conditioning status) from property managers, excepting things like leak monitors, security and other cameras, and broken glass sensors. However, SmartRent concedes that it might disclose data when it’s necessary to “investigate, prevent, or take action” regarding “illegal activities, suspected fraud, [situations] involving potential threats to the safety of any person,” or during litigation. It also says it shares personal info with advertising and analytics providers and might provide “aggregated and de-identified” data with landlords and others for “research purposes.”

SmartRent competes with companies like Zego, as well as home builders, including Lennar and REIT BSR. But Haldeman says demand is on the upswing, with 600% of SmartRent’s customers in 2019 expanding their use of the platform to new units.

Spark Capital led this latest funding round, with participation from Fifth Wall Ventures, Energy Impact Ventures, the Amazon Alexa Fund, Bain Capital Ventures, and RET Ventures. It brings Scottsdale, Arizona-based SmartRent’s total raised to over $100 million, following a $32 million series B in June 2019.

Alongside the funding, SmartRent hired Darian Hong as its new chief financial officer and CJ Edmonds as chief revenue officer.