- Openpath, a startup that lets employees enter offices with their phone, raised $US20 million in a series B funding round led by Emergence Capital, the company told Business Insider.
- The Los Angeles-based company was started by the founders of Edgecast, which was acquired by Verizon in 2013 and is now used as Verizon’s primary content delivery network.
- Openpath works by letting employees enter the office with their phones, hands free. After tapping on a reader, Openpath’s cloud-based software recognises the phone and automatically opens the door.
Getting into the office when you have to sift through a handful of badges or forgot your keycard at home is inconvenient.
Openpath, which just raised $US20 million in a series B funding round led by Emergence Capital, wants to fix that.
Existing investors Upfront Capital, Sorenson Ventures, Bonfire Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and Fika Ventures also participated in the round. The company last raised a seed round in May before the product launched, netting $US7 million from investors.
Openpath works by letting employees enter the office with their phones, hands free. By tapping on a reader, Openpath’s cloud-based software recognises the phone and automatically opens the door. Employees can also press a button inside an app, use an Apple Watch, or scan a traditional keycard to gain access too.
And while “digital keys” aren’t anything new, many of the ones on the market are riddled with glitches or only work 90% of the time, founders James Segil and Alex Kazerani told Business Insider. Openpath works with Bluetooth, WiFi, or cellular data, which the company says makes it more reliable than other systems that do the same thing. After a person taps on the reader, their phone sends three signals via Bluetooth, WiFi, or cellular data, and whichever one is the fastest is the one that ultimately opens up the door.
“People tell us that this is such a time saver, from an employee perspective where it only takes a second to get into the office, and from an administrator perspective so they don’t have to chase everyone down worrying about keycards and badges,” Segil said.
In addition to offices, Openpath is also marketing itself to landlords.
‘Like a dog collar’
James Segil and Alex Kazerani personally felt how difficult it is to get into your office with a dozen badges and keycards to sort through. The pair founded Edgecast, which was acquired by Verizon in 2013 for more than $US350 million and is now used as the cellular giant’s primary content delivery network.
After the acquisition, Segil and Kazerani were working at Verizon and found that the number of keycards they had to keep track of quadrupled.
“We saw other people with this problem too,” Kazerani said. “We saw people carrying them around their neck like a dog collar and we hated and resented that so much.”
Realising this was a problem and that similar digital key solutions were often glitchy, they decided to start Openpath in 2016.
From a security standpoint, Segil and Kazerani say that a phone is safer than a keycard, which can be easily copied, stolen, or given to anyone else. Users can also toggle security settings to require employees to authenticate themselves with additional measures, like a fingerprint or a code.
Openpath’s software comes with handy additional features, such as letting an administrator remotely unlock doors or letting them import employee lists and permissions from other apps.
While the company would not disclose how many customers use Openpath since it launched a month ago, Segil said the company has seen double the sales they originally put in their business plan, which in part enticed investors to back the company.
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