Microsoft has named the 10 startups that will be participating in its home-automation accelerator starting this fall.
Microsoft announced in June its plan to create a new venture accelerator focused on home automation in partnership with American Family Insurance, one of the biggest mutual property/casualty insurance companies. Via this accelerator, which will be based on the Redmond, Wash., Microsoft campus, Microsoft will be investing in these home-automation startups.
The 10 participants (and Microsoft-provided descriptions of their businesses) -- culled from a pool of 400 applicants:
- Chai Energy delivers real-time energy understanding – from the whole house to individual appliances.
- Heatworks Model 1 is the world's first fully electronic, connected, water heater that conserves water and energy in any application.
- Neura creates intuitive and intelligent experiences between users and their connected environments.
- Novi Security is a portable smart-security system to seamlessly track activities across the home.
- Reemo is a wrist-worn, gesture control wearable, interoperable interface for both conventional appliances and more recent connected homes.
- Plum is Wi-Fi enabled light-pads, smart plugs and outlets that let the users control lights and electronics from a wall switch or from anywhere in the world using a smart phone.
- Red Balloon Security is ubiquitous host-based defense for embedded devices.
- Scanalytics is the centerpiece for understanding consumer behavior in the offline world.
- Sentri's HD camera and built-in sensors track the home's vital stats and trends, allowing users to track temperature, humidity, air quality, weather and more.
- Wallflowr is connected home technology that helps consumers prevent and significantly reduce risks related to accidental fires caused by ranges, stoves and ovens.
Microsoft has been conducting its own research in the home-automation space, with projects like its HomeOS operating system. Last year, Microsoft bought a home-automation focused company, id8 Group R2 Studios, whose technology the Redmondians are thought to be integrating with Xbox. More recently, it announced a partnership with Insteon, which is developing home-automation applications for Windows Phone and Windows 8.
Microsoft formed its consolidated start-up outreach arm, Microsoft Ventures, in 2013. The company already launched ventures accelerators in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris and Tel Aviv.