Dwellwell Analytics, a data analytics and smart sensor company that aims to help landlords monitor their properties, announced raising more than $12 million in seed funding and emerging from stealth, according to a press release shared with FinLedger.
The funding included participation from the State of Maryland and executives from the proptech, engineering and real estate industries. The company says the capital will be used to continue product research and development (R&D) and accelerate sales and marketing initiatives.
Founded in 2018 by serial entrepreneur and founder Dan Simpkins, Dwellwell is attempting to provide landlords with a “Check Engine Light” for residential properties. Dwellwell accomplishes this with a single device, plugged into the wall, that is filled with sensors and uses artificial intelligence to monitor a home’s health and maintenance needs.
Simpkins says this method, which the company calls ‘Ambient Inference,’ utilizes AI on multiple levels to eliminate the need for technician installation and the hassle of opening up pipes and walls.
“How does ambient inference work? I measure the temperature across the whole home and then determine the statistical range of those temperatures, then I look for when I’m at a range. That’s just simple math, but then I have a machine learning algorithm where I’m actually taking electrical data and determining from a series of patterns when an appliance is turning on and off. That’s another level,” Simpkins told FinLedger in an interview. “Then with a neural network I might actually be collecting multiple sensors data together and figuring out when the furnace has turned on and off, and whether it’s working efficiently or not.”
According to Dwellwell, residential maintenance costs property owners more than $80 billion annually. Despite that, there is no easy way for landlords to know exactly what is happening inside their home’s vital systems until something goes wrong.
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Through remote sensing and smart technology, Dwellwell is actually able to monitor these systems, including HVAC, electrical, plumbing and environmental, and reduce the need for regular maintenance checks.
Simpkins, who previously founded Voice over IP (VoIP) technology company SALIX and Smart TV startup Hillcrest Labs, says that he originally founded Dwellwell because of problems he had with pipes bursting in one of his own secondary properties.
This drove him to create the startup with a focus on helping individuals monitor “any home that they don’t live in.” As he did market research and worked to develop the self-contained sensor system, however, he says he realized the scalability and potential market value of the single family rental market.
“The multifamily operators and apartment owners really jumped in and said, ‘We are desperate for this product. It’s hard to get superintendents and maintenance people. We want to improve our ESG footprint, we want to be able to manage in the face of increasing maintenance costs and tough labor markets.’ What we decided is to focus primarily on this rental space, and to really target the multifamily buildings and early adopters in those categories,” Simpkins said.
He also noted that due to the sensors all being in a single plug-in, the product can still suit any property segment and type.
While the company is still running two pilot programs, one with Washington D.C.-based developer Beinstein Management and a customer in the single family rental (SFR) space, Dwellwell has received its UL and FCC certifications to deploy electronics into homes and plans to expand its product across the industry later this year.
Looking ahead, Simpkins says that his big goals for the next several months are to have a successful pilot and to show the world that the idea of ambient inference and remote sensing can transform maintenance for the good of everyone.
“We think that this product can really help drive major change in this residential sector. We all live in homes, right? We all burn electricity. We all burn natural gas, but hopefully less of it over time. Our purpose is transforming maintenance with data,” Simpkins said.
“The more data we can deliver our customers, the more they can transform maintenance, the more well-maintained our homes are, the less money we spend and the better our lives are.”
In other recent proptech news, Measurabl launched its new ESG Real Estate Data product to help commercial real estate investors, lenders and participants to integrate asset-level data into their business intelligence. Arturo also launched its new portfolio-level property insurance risk engine to help insurers assess and respond to environmental events.