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Meet SmartHome Ventures, The Startup Behind Peq Home Automation

Venture-backed SmartHome Ventures comes out of stealth mode, promising to "accelerate mass market adoption of home automation solutions" with new Peq system, reportedly available through Best Buy.


SmartHome Ventures, the company behind Peq home automation
Julie Jacobson · August 14, 2014

This company called SmartHome Ventures has had a teaser Website page for a few months showing a pretty picture of a modern house that we should assume is filled with home automation products. The company just came out of stealth mode and ... well, we still know pretty much nothing about it.

We do know that it has created a smart home system called Peq, which apparently will be sold through Best Buy. I surmised in my original Peq story that the system probably is not some strategic collaboration with Best Buy. Rather, my guess is that Best Buy will simply sell it alongside other smart-home systems and devices, like Revolv, which the retailer already sells.

I declined to accept an interview with SmartHome Ventures about Peq and other embargoed news, preferring to hurl speculations before I’m no longer allowed to talk about the initiative.

I will, however, speak with them probably next week. From public information, we know that SmartHome Ventures is funded by OpenAir Equity Partners and that OpenAir managing director Scott Ford, a “wireless industry influencer, with a solid record in leading dozens of wireless market business deals, partnerships, and investments,” sits on SmartHome’s board.

You might think that SmartHome Ventures would be led by a bunch of home technologiests, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, no CTO or other high-level tech exec is listed under “Team.” Surely some exist within the company. We just don’t know who they are yet.

CEO Ted Schremp has experience in the cable business, including serving as the CMO at Charter Communications. COO David Bottoms helped “reshape” Sprint’s national retail distribution program. VP product & strategy Steve Bosch is an accountant who spent eight years at Best Buy in its “multi-billion dollar Home Customer Solutions Group.” Also noted in the “Team” bios is CFO Matt Madden, VP sales Christopher Caffrey and VP sales operations Mary Marzullo.

RELATED: Introducing Peq: Best Buy’s New Home Automation System?

In a press release published yesterday, CEO Schremp says, “SmartHome Ventures will be the first to bring sensible home automation to the mass market. ... With our deep bench of industry expertise spanning retail, telecommunications, cable and device technology, SmartHome Ventures is realizing the vision of a truly automated, simple, intelligent home.”

OpenAir’s Scott Ford makes SmartHome sound like a company that specializes not in developing technology but ushering it into the mass market. He says in the press release: “Smart home technologies have been around for years, but the market is now finally coming to fruition. ... The company has assembled an amazing group of executives who uniquely understand how to bring complex, service oriented products to mass market channels.”

If SmartHome really did snag Best Buy then it sounds like they’re doing a good job at what they do. Here’s the press release:

SmartHome Ventures Launches to Accelerate Mass Market Adoption of Home Automation Solutions

KANSAS CITY, MO—(Marketwired - Aug 13, 2014) - SmartHome Ventures, a company established in early 2013 and committed to delivering home automation to the mass market, announced its official launch today. Led by former cable, retail, and wireless executives, SmartHome Ventures is pioneering professional-grade home automation for the everyday consumer. With a vision of making the smart home simple, the company will be rolling out a line of products and solutions that will enable consumers to manage their home from anywhere. The company has already established partnerships with major national retailers, e-tailers, service providers and other major distribution channels to spark broader consumer adoption of connected home solutions. SmartHome Ventures combines state-of-the-art technology, a growing portfolio of interoperable devices, and uncompromising focus on the consumer experience to create solutions that leapfrog the home automation products currently in the market. Backed by venture capital and private equity firm OpenAir Equity Partners, SmartHome Ventures is making the smart home simple for distribution partners and consumers.

With widespread adoption of high-speed broadband, smartphones and tablets, the market is primed for an affordable and scalable home automation solution that makes sense for consumers, distribution partners, device makers and infrastructure providers. According to a recent Forrester report, one-third of consumers say they are interested in the connected home, but only 1-2 percent of consumers actually have connected devices to control lighting, climate, energy, appliances or provide remote home management. What the smart home market lacks is a solution that is engineered with the consumer in mind; one that is simple and flexible, allowing users to purchase the technology and products they need from retailers they know and trust, install them quickly and easily, and control everything with a single, intuitive interface.

“SmartHome Ventures will be the first to bring sensible home automation to the mass market,” said Ted Schremp, chief executive officer of SmartHome Ventures. “With our deep bench of industry expertise spanning retail, telecommunications, cable and device technology, SmartHome Ventures is realizing the vision of a truly automated, simple, intelligent home.”

In the coming weeks, SmartHome Ventures will introduce its flagship home automation solution, grounded in the industry’s broadest and most-robust set of interoperability standards and offered at an affordable price. Consumers will be able to shop for and purchase the solution from brick-and-mortar or online retailers, easily install it themselves, and have a complete solution up and running in as little as 30 minutes.

The executive team at SmartHome Ventures is comprised of industry experts from Google, Comcast, Charter, Sprint and BestBuy. Combined, the founders and leadership team have decades of experience in bringing new connectivity services and consumer electronics to the mass market.

“Smart home technologies have been around for years, but the market is now finally coming to fruition,” said Scott Ford, Managing Director of OpenAir Equity Partners. “The company has assembled an amazing group of executives who uniquely understand how to bring complex, service oriented products to mass market channels.”

About SmartHome Ventures

SmartHome Ventures is making the smart home simple. SmartHome Ventures is focused on bringing home automation solutions to the mass market. Venture investors in SmartHome Ventures include OpenAir Equity Partners. Visit http://www.smarthomeventures.com for more information.

About OpenAir Equity Partners

OpenAir Equity Partners is a venture capital and private equity firm focused on high growth, early stage companies in technology, mobile, and communications. Backers of GoGo Inflight (NASDAQ: GOGO), Zave Networks (acquired by Google), eRecyclingCorps, among others, the OpenAir team is comprised of mobile pioneers with a collective 65 years of mobile industry operating experience and 22 years of investing experience. Visit http://www.openairep.com for more information.

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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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