Seattle-based smart light switch builder Deako has raised $3.5 million in funding, and its technology will be used in close to 10 percent of new homes built in the Seattle area next year.
With the latest funding, Deako has now raised close to $6.8 million in the last eight months, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Co-founder and CEO Derek Richardson said six venture capital firms from Silicon Valley, New York and Chicago have invested in Deako so far, but he would not name them.
Deako’s customers are not home-buyers but rather home-builders and their electricians, who install the hardware in new homes. Richardson would not say which home-builders he is working with, but he said the number is in the double digits.
The company says it has just finished up an alpha test and has refined the interface and added the ability control any light in a house with any switch. Users can also control lighting through a smartphone app.
Deako plans to run a beta test this fall in 50 to 100 homes in the area. It will use that feedback to refine its technology before releasing a final product. Richardson did not say when the final product would be released.
Switches are easily swappable without turning off the power so that they won’t become outdated as technology advances.
“Technology is moving so fast, and people are installing permanent technology in their house, and what they are doing is signing up for five, 10, 15 years from now paying an installer to come back and swap everything out,” Richardson said.
Richardson comes from a technology background — he was an early employee at BlackBerry and worked at Cypress Semiconductor — rather than a home-building background. Richardson came up with the idea for Deako after he bought a new house and needed to swap out the light switches. When he checked out the market for smart light switches, he didn’t like how difficult it would be to replace them.
“I never want to have to pay an installer to have to come back and change light switches in my house,” Richardson said.
Along with funding, Deako is gaining visibility. Richardson said he will speak on a smart home technology panel at Sunbelt Builders Show in Texas in August.