Publicly-traded home services giant Frontdoor has acquired Streem, a Portland, Ore.-based startup that develops augmented reality technology for home improvement technicians.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Frontdoor bought Streem with a combination of cash and equity, including incentive-based equity. Streem’s CEO and co-founder, Ryan Fink, and the rest of the team, will remain in Portland.
Founded in 2017, Streem aims to give home service professionals a way to more quickly diagnose and quote a customer’s inquiry via new smartphone technology. Customers can use Streem’s app to stream HD video of their given issue to the professional, who can then use a digital toolbox to take measurements and other notes. Computer vision technology can automatically detect the brand and model number of a part or appliance. Professionals can guide the conversation with a laser pointer and use arrows anchored to a 3D map of the space. The photos, videos, notes, and data stay saved on the app.
The idea is to help professionals assess a problem during a “virtual visit” and gather the necessary tools, all before they physically enter a home.
Streem had raised more than $10 million from investors including Flying Fish Partners; Greycroft; Curious Capital; Oregon Venture Fund; Portland Seed Fund; TechNexus; Rogue Venture Partners; Betaworks Ventures; GGV Capital; General Catalyst; Loup Ventures; and others.
Earlier this year Streem acquired Selerio, a computer vision startup based in the U.K. that spun out of research from the University of Cambridge and a Google fellowship.
“Combining Streem’s AR-enhanced platform with Frontdoor’s marketplace, will accelerate the transformation of the service experience for consumers and businesses alike,” Fink said in a statement. “We’ve long said our platform is defined by three key pillars: remote video collaboration, simple augmented reality tools, and, most importantly, contextual data. This allows service experts to capture information as well as – if not better than – if they were on site. Our shared visions for simplifying life and delivering innovative technology to help solve problems are extremely aligned.”
Streem lists more than 30 employees on LinkedIn. Fink, who previously sold smart glasses startup OnTheGo to Atheer in 2015, started the company with Sean Adkinson, who was CTO of Provata Health.
Frontdoor describes itself as the biggest player in the home services industry, with more than 2 million customers and a network of 16,000-plus contractor firms. It responds to more than four million services requests annually. Frontdoor is the parent company to brands including American Home Shield, HSA, Landmark and OneGuard.
The company’s stock has nearly doubled this year; its market capitalization is $3.8 billion. Its Q3 revenue increased 8 percent to $407 million, while revenue came in at $61 million, up 23 percent.
“I am extremely excited about Frontdoor’s acquisition of Streem. Not only will it accelerate our work to transform the service experience for homeowners and reduce costs, it will create unique opportunities for new revenue streams across a variety of new channels,” Rex Tibbens, president and CEO of Frontdoor, said in a statement.
Companies such as Porch, Pro.com, Thumbtack, TaskRabbit, and even Amazon are trying to create new ways that match home service professionals with customers. Streem is similar, but with a focus on the initial diagnosis aspect of an interaction.
In an interview with Digital Trends last year, Fink said he wanted “to open Streem up to everybody.”
“No matter if you’re a chef; you own a local store; you’re a YouTube celebrity — you want to connect with your customers in a more personal way,” he told Digital Trends. “We want you to be able to do that through Streem.”
AR and VR technologies haven’t caught on with mainstream consumers, but businesses have found various use cases for something like home services, or training.
A press release noted that “Streem’s leadership team and employees will continue to focus on developing innovative AI-enhanced technology solutions post-acquisition, as well as expanding its existing retail, consumer telecommunications, and technology channels.”