Want proof that the smart home is big? Check out the whopper private equity investment that KKR has made in Savant. Savant said it has raised $90 million from its founder Robert Madonna and affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR). The round will help Savant navigate a space where it has played for years but is suddenly seeing an influx of competitors at both the low and high end.
Savant is a bit unusual in that it’s designed for luxury homes and professional installers. The company uses Apple hardware and has built software that models itself on Apple’s ease of use and attractiveness. Touches such as taking a picture of your living room and then programming that picture to act as the touch screen for your home controls are an example of how friendly the Savant experience is.
You just touch the lamp in your picture and it turns on. It’s fun. In the last year Savant has taken its high-end ethos and moved closer to the DIY market with a cheaper product called the Savant Smart Series. Instead of running on a Mac Mini it uses a Linux server stored in a closet or cabinet somewhere. That cheaper product will still run you around $1,600 for the basic set up.
In my previous conversations with Savant representatives they discussed adding support for more popular gadgets such as the Nest and Hue lights and also were playing around with conditional programming. On a visit to the Savant experience center in New York, I played around with the home and was impressed with how good the software was, although the experience was not really about adding any old connected devices, but a far more clean and curated experience.
This makes sense and will likely help Savant differentiate itself from its competitors. That big wad of cash won’t hurt either. For more on Savant’s plans check out the podcast I did with co-founder Jim Carroll back in March.