In June 2022, Savant led an investment round into Sensor Networks, a smart-home automation company that offers clients peace of mind and ongoing savings. Savant was joined by Sanari Capital, Edge Growth and 4Di – all previous investors in the company. Sensor Networks closed the round at R22.5 million ($1.25 million).
Sanari Capital, Edge Growth and 4Di all have a significant fund heritage and are highly regarded fund managers. Having all these institutions double-down and dovetail their efforts, alongside Savant, into one company, highlights the high potential of the investment opportunity.
An app and home management system
Alongside ubiquitous smartphone penetration these days, there is practically an app for everything – some good and some bad. Some of these apps are superfluous for homeowners and households, while others are essential.
The Sensor Networks app is particularly relevant to our South African reality, as it enables peace of mind through its pre-emptive and real-time safety, security and geyser monitoring features. The comprehensive home sensor network doesn’t just monitor homes – but literally stops problems in their tracks – and makes contingencies to solve those problems. Furthermore, energy savings and geyser management around load shedding schedules are all handled automatically via the connected solution.
Putting homeowners back in control
Sensor Networks was born out of the need to solve the dire challenges facing household insurers. “As an example”, Mark Allewell, founder and CEO of Sensor Networks, explains “burst or leaking geysers (hot water cylinders) cause significant consequential damage to household contents and infrastructure, resulting in large insurance claims. As these claims drain the insurers’ coffers, higher premiums get passed on to consumers. Sensor Networks aims to limit these consequential damages by preventing the situation before it even happens, saving on costs to both insurers and consumers.”
But they didn’t just stop at geysers. Sensor Networks has now developed an integrated smart-home hardware and software system that monitors everything in the home: from the geyser, to the leak and smoke detection systems, connected alarms and security cameras, light and plug controls – even household energy consumption, all in real time, 24/7.
The home part of the Sensor Networks System is composed of three vertices: energy, security and convenience. Smart Geyser and Solar integration form part of energy. Alarm connect, remote alarm management, and camera’s fall under security. And lights, plugs, smoke and leak detectors form part of convenience. These sensors are all managed through the customer app, and if required via Sensor Desk, Sensor Networks proprietary management portal.
As Mark notes; “Our predict-and-prevent technology centres around the connected home. By using a unique software and hardware solution we literally put the ‘power’ back into the hands of the homeowner. For the homeowner or household head, this translates into peace of mind living. With Sensor Networks you get 24/7 remote access and the ability to monitor your home, all with automated contingencies in place in the event of failure.”
Predict-and-prevent IoT platform
The Sensor Desk is the heart of Sensor Networks’ IoT platform. An all-encompassing cloud-based platform that connects every sensor to an early fault-and-fraud detection system. This Predict-and-prevent technology uses a machine-learning algorithm to analyse the data and trigger actions that reduce consequential damage.
24/7 monitoring enables 24/7 management, which means regardless of whether the homeowner is at home, on the road, at work, or away, the system remains on duty. It doesn’t need human intervention to solve the problem, because with Sensor Networks on duty, the problem is already solved.
If a fault is detected, the sensor immediately connects to the notification centre that logs the fault, notifies the homeowner, coordinates an assessment – and sends out a technical-repair team. Reducing risk for insurance providers, and preventing costly, frustrating and time-consuming home events for you the homeowner.
Mark explains,“Our cloud-based technology connects to insurance companies, third-party call centres and repair-and-replace service providers, ultimately leading to easier claims processes with reduced friction.”
In a world of regular power cuts, where everything feels increasingly out of control, where load-shedding defines our lives – and imploding devices, exploding electronics, and endless expenses have become a daily reality, Sensor Networks remotely restores peace of mind and gives back a little control.
Ready for expansion
Up until now, Sensor Networks has only been available to insurance companies, serving the market indirectly, but with this latest investment round that is set to change.
“With the latest round,” Mark explains,“we’ll be expanding out of our traditional B2B2C business model and into offering B2C online, through our www.sensorconnect.co sales portal and through various brick and mortar shops.”
Savant Partner, Thaheer Mullins adds, “Savant always leverages its networks to help its portfolio companies get access to favourable capital and markets, as per their growth and sustainability requirements. Sensor Networks has proven its commercial model, and built strategic relationships over a sustained period of time. The type that is hard to topple. They’ve nestled themselves into value chains that are incredibly hard to crack, particularly for new technology start-ups.
The company was resilient enough to withstand the challenges of the pandemic and have shown all the markers of a company entering its high growth phase. The technology stack and approach to developing and incorporating enhanced offerings demonstrates their commercial acumen – all of which made it much easier for us to bolster their capacity. We are looking forward to working with them on this next stage of their growth.”