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The NextMarket Report — Startups

Smart Home Weekly: Alexa Set Free, Echo For All, Hoover Goes Wi-Fi

Mike Wolf Alexa Amazon Echo Echo Hoover Roost Smart Kitchen Smart Lighting Startups

Summer may be a time of vacation, swimming and slacking off, but not for those of us in the smart home (at least if Amazon has anything to say).  This past week has seen a flurry of activity, with Amazon unbundling Alexa from Echo, starting a $100 million development fund, Roost becoming available for preorder and Hoover Europe launching its Wi-Fi appliance lineup. You can read about all of these stories below as well as look at some of the interesting startups making news in the space. I also try to bring some sanity back to the smart home space which seems to...

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Smart Home Quick Hits: Curb, FreshHub/NCR, Astro Apartment Lighting

Mike Wolf Smart Kitchen Smart Lighting Startups

Here's a quick roundup of all the other stories we didn't go deep on but are interesting in smart home: Curb Launches Curb, a smart energy management system, launched this past week on Indiegogo. The system combines a module that connects into your home breaker box with an app and back-end cloud intelligence that monitors your energy usage and provides granular analytics. It can also send safety alerts, enable remote on-off shut off and monitoring as well as give you energy usage breakdowns by device.  The baseline system costs $249 and monitors four appliances, but you can also upgrade to a...

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The Sky Is Not Falling In Smart Home And Here's Why

Mike Wolf Amazon Best Buy Leeo Lowes Nest Startups Wink

Last week I wrote about why I thought the smart home market was in for a shakeout. The piece focused on some of the recent venture-funded startups in the space facing choppy waters and how some early efforts in smart home retail are seeing lackluster demand despite the significant amount of space they've allocated for their "smart home" sections. For those of you who think this is something unique to the smart home space, here's the reality: every new consumer technology market faces market challenges. Like the mobile computing and connected entertainment markets of the last decade or the 3D printing and wearables products of today, markets go...

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Smart Home Weekly: A Week of Reckoning For Hardware Startups

Mike Wolf Apple Arrayent Google Leeo Nest Smart Home Weekly Startups Wink

It's been a tough week in the connected home business, as evidence of a potential shakeout has started to rear its head.  Wink is potentially up for sale, while smart lighting/security company Leeo just had a big round of layoffs. If you don't already know (but I think you do by now), hardware is hard folks. It can eat the best entrepreneurs alive, and in new categories that require market education, it can be doubly treacherous.  I was talking Phil Dumas this week, CEO of Unikey, a company which, perhaps not coincidentally, purposefully avoided becoming a hardware company with its software licensing...

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Leeo Lays Off 30% of Staff

Mike Wolf Leeo Startups

VentureBeat had a scoop this week about smart night light/security company Leeo laying off a big chunk of employees. The original piece had layoffs at half, but in confirming the layoffs Leeo put the number at 30%.  It's always shocking to see these types of layoffs so soon after a funding round - the company raised $37 million nine months ago - but it probably is a sign of both over-hiring and tepid demand for a company that has had to pull double-duty of both creating end-user awareness for its brand as well as educating potential customers about a fairly new...

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