NOTE: I'm embarrassed that I said in the introduction Stefan and Smappee are from France - they're actually Proudly a Belgian company - I sincerely apologize for the gaffe, Stefan!
You know Shazaam, [the phone app] for music? So, Shazaam is using the microphone of your smart phone and is listening, processing, "ok, this is the melody for the song, ok, that's Pink Floyd!" Well, we do the same, except for your home, and with ONE sensor, just one.
That's how Stefan Grosjean "explains" his latest startup tech company, Smappee, to me over coffee at the recent Intersolar North America show in San Francisco.
"In my home, I have 50 appliances, we can hear them all - they all have their own signature." And the intresting thing is, can "make electricity speak", and can distinguish between each appliance from lightbulbs to Playstation to toaster ovens and garage doors.
Stefan's company can make an electricity bill that's itemized, per day, per week, by kWh used for each appliance that's measured. That begins to speak a story about your home that you simply couldn't hear before. Amazing.
"We are a foot in the door."
Customers who have smappee start to really care about energy.
Since the unit is about $200, it's a very easy step, a low bar of entry into the world of energy saving.
With zero action, just monitoring, most homeowners see a 12% savings.
Imagine how powerful this data is for a solar installer who is looking for a creative gateway into more homes and more residential customers in their market. It's very similar to the Vivint approach of offering solar to existing home alarm customers, in that you develop a relationship with a customer over a transaction that doesn't break the bank yet gives you and your customer great insight into exactly HOW they are using energy!
There's an important thing missing here. We're not just a classic energy metering company.
Energy is not fun. And we have to change that.
With our experience in Commercial & Industrial energy management [previous venture exited to Honeywell], we gained lots of insight into the customer by installing submeters, but this is an onerous & expensive process to actually make happen at the residential scale. With homeowners, many of them are asking, "where is my energy going? I'd like to do something about it but I don’t even know which device is doing what at an electricity consumption level."
So, we designed something unique, one sensor, that measures thousands of times a minute and "hears the fingerprints of each appliance in the home."
Stefan thinks Installers & Contractors should start moving towards recurring business, the smart home system allows the contractor to begin offering ancillary recurring services to the homeowner, like alarm services, home automation/monitoring services, itemized billing, etc.
Furthermore, it's a foot in the door…and every good marketer knows that it's more cost-effective to sell more products to an existing client than to originate new customers. And homeowners are much more likely acknowledge the value proposition of a home automation unit that is worth a few hundred bucks, which gives both installer and homeowner access to insight about how that customer can better be served with increasing energy efficiency and generation measures!
While I was recently in SF for the Intersolar N.America show, I was on the lookout for products that I thought were innovative. Thanks to my friend Tor Valenza, aka Solar Fred, I was introduced to the guys from Smappee. Smappee is WAY more than just a monitoring device, and I had the privilege to sit down with the founder, Stefen Grosjean, himself a serial entrepreneur, to dig into exactly how he his positioning the US launch of this innovative product. I'm happy to bring you that conversation, recorded live from Intersolar. In today's episode, we learn:
- How Stefen and the Smappee team have been disrupting the building automation and information business for years
- What exactly does Smappee do, and how could it revolutionize the smart home, not just connecting solar, but basically everything in the home
- What Stefen means that every appliance in the home has a "fingerprint", and how smappee can "hear" it all with only ONE sensor
- How the Blockchain can finally be realized for resi & commercial solar customers with Solarcoin - and of course how Smappee has been built to integrate it.
- And something I think is quite a unique approach or concept - Stefen envisions Smappee can be a gateway product, or door-opener for solar installers to get into offering smart home and automation services that lead to recurring revenue models!
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I also get into Stefen's previous successful entrepreneurial ventures and what it takes to found and grow a company to exit (sold to Honeywell). He blew my mind on several topics we discussed, and I was supremely impressed with Stefen, his product, vision and startup chops. I expect Smappee to do great things in their entry into the US Market. And I expect enterprising solar installers to begin to realize the opportunity at their doorstep with integrating smart-home technologies into their sales process.
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