For anyone who has had to suffer through a spotty WiFi signal in their home, hardware startup Eero has an intoxicating promise: to fix that once and for all.
The trick to the Eero dream is using multiple units to blanket your entire home with a smooth WiFi signal that is both fast and reliable.
“You would never try to cover your home with one light bulb,” Eero CEO Nick Weaver tells Business Insider. “And the farther away you get from your WiFi router, the more the signal degrades.” This is inevitable, he says, unless you have a completely clear space, or employ multiple units (like Eero).
Though you’ll be able to buy a single Eero device, Weaver says the standard deal is a three-pack, which will cover an average home using mesh networking. But this purportedly flawless WiFi won’t come cheap. The retail price (on Amazon) will be $US199 for a single unit and $US499 for three.
But there is demand. The company launched a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, which snagged over $US1 million in preorders in days. But since then, Eero has had to push the release date back from this summer to February of next year.
This demonstrated demand is part of the reason Eero has been able to raise $US40 million from investors like Shasta Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Andy Rubin’s Playground, Weaver says. Shasta and Redpoint have experience investing in the space, and were involved with Nest and Sonos respectively.
Weaver says a main reason for the shipping delay is that testing the system has proved to be more strenuous than the company had initially anticipated. Every unit has to go through 225 separate tests, according to Weaver.
Weaver is trying to build a company around the concept of “reliability” (specifically in WiFi), and shipping a product that doesn’t quite work would probably be far more damaging than a shipping delay. This is especially true because of the premium prices Eero is charging.
Weaver says he has been “Mr. Fix It” his whole life, fixing people’s networks and computers. But part of what prompted him to leave venture capital and create Eero was a shift he saw in the importance of WiFi to people’s lives.
“A couple years ago when someone would say ‘my internet is broken,’ it actually wasn’t a huge problem,” he explains. It was annoying, but we didn’t have such a reliance on things like Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube, which need consistent WiFi to function. Seamless internet is now as important as electricity in our homes, he says.
While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, there is no denying that the reliability of our home wireless networks has not improved to the same degree that we have signed our entertainment lives over to streaming services.
And Eero’s blockbuster preorder numbers show that Weaver isn’t the only one who has noticed this problem. Now we’ll just have to see whether Weaver’s device will deliver on the dream.
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