If you’ve been inside a Best Buy or stayed at certain Airbnbs in the last few years, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen the August Smart Lock — a $US230 gadget that screws onto your home’s existing lock and turns your smartphone into the key.
Thanks to that Airbnb partnership, the launch of a new doorbell camera, and a market-leading position in brick-and-mortar stores, times are good for August Home, the company behind the smart lock, said Jason Johnson, the company’s CEO.
Now, August is getting a cash windfall to try to unlock even more good times. The company is announcing that it’s received $US25 million in funding from Comcast Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, and others, including Australian utility company AGL.
“We are now in growth-and-expansion mode,” Johnson told Business Insider.
August, which has now raised around $US93 million in venture capital, plans to use the new funds to build out its roster of partnerships, he said.
August already has numerous ties that allow its locks to work with other companies’ gadgets and services. For example, if you own an August lock and you get a delivery from Postmates, you can temporarily grant the Postmates courier the privilege to unlock your front gate or door. Similarly, if you rent a room on Airbnb or HomeAway, you can allow your guests to unlock the door with their smartphones just for the duration of their stay. And if your appliances need repair, you can use August’s app to grant access to your home to a Sears Home Services technician.
Such partnerships have been very lucrative for August Home, and the company plans to sign more of them, Johnson said. August’s locks are were designed to meet the needs not just of consumers, but of enterprise customers, he said. Because of that, there are all sorts of opportunities for August to provide services that allow companies to control access to particular buildings or openings, he said.
Still, many of August’s 500,000 users are consumers, and the company plans to continue to focus on that market. Some of its new cash will go toward the launch of new hardware devices later this year, Johnson said.
“That’s our bread and butter,” he said.
August, which doesn’t disclose its precise device sales, has been working to ensure that its locks are compatible with the major smart home platforms, including Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s HomeKit. There’s fierce competition brewing among those tech giants for control of the home, but Johnson’s not worried.
“We definitely see ourselves as a neutral participant in the platform efforts in the home,” he said.