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Smart building security tech providers attracted $3bn investment in 2019

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Over $2.9 billion was invested in firms providing physical security solutions for residential, commercial and industrial facilities in 2019.

That’s according to data from Memoori that charts the extent of global investment in the physical security sector since 2017.

One transaction in 2019, the post-IPO equity for Motorola Solutions by private equity firm, Silver Lake Partners accounted for $1 billion. Even discounting that single transaction, Memoori says physical security technology still ranked as the highest funded category last year within smart buildings.

An analysis of the high value deals reveals a consistently higher level of funding provided in the Chinese market for smart home, smart building and physical security solutions, such as AI driven face recognition. For example, Megvii, the Chinese developer of Face++ face recognition software closed a Series D financing round in May 2019 amounting to $750 million.

New entrants addressing alternative ways to control access to buildings are using a range of technologies including AI, electronic locking, sensors and biometric authentication. Companies receiving funding in 2019 include Alcatraz AI, B-Secur, Comydo, Glue, HAVENLock, Igloohome, Latch, Level Home, Nexkey, Open App and Proxy.

Memoori asserts that AI Video Analytics will be a main game changer for security over the next 10 years – see The Physical Security Business 2019 to 2024 – and many new entrants are receiving funding as AI technology applied to video surveillance has convinced the market that it will become mainstream. New entrants in this space who have closed investments in 2019 include Actuate, Boulder AI, Calipsa, Athena Security, Umbo Computer Vision, Viisights and Vintra.

One emerging area the report picks out for attention is weapons and gunshot detection solution. Evolv Technology, a Boston area start-up founded in 2013, has developed weapons-screening systems to detect anyone attempting to carry a weapon or other threat into venues without slowing the flow of visitors or employees. By fusing the latest sensors and Cortex AI, Evolv delivers weapons detection smart enough to screen thousands of people without the need to stop and empty pockets or remove bags. Their $24 million preferred stock financing closed in October 2019 with investment partners including Bill Gates.

The gunshot detection industry, meanwhile, is still in its infancy with just a handful of solutions. One company is Active Guardian, who has attracted $2 million seed funding from Stanley Ventures, the VC unit of Stanley Black & Decker, a corporate investor with a physical security products business, in December 2019. The startup has developed a plug and play gunshot detection technology device intended to allow critical information to be sent to first responders during an active shooter situation.