Yetu has been widely mentioned both in the European startup community and in the US tech magazines. Its founder is Christopher Schläffer, Chief Product & Innovation Officer alla Deutsche Telekom, who proposed his own way to a broad consume market smart home. Yetu attracted $8 million series A funds from Bilfinger Venture Capital and KfW, and attended the latest edition of TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin with a very good media coverage.
The great idea is the use of a unique cross-border operating system relying on a single hardware gateway and an internet interface easily compatible with all the devices, managing our home environment with a smart dashboard, monitoring and detecting our appliances activity with a non-intrusive way. A single efficient platform to manage heating, entertainment devices, energy consumption, security.
We’ve managed to interview Christopher Schläffer (CEO and founder) who has been telling us awesome news and stories about his trendy Europea startup, that will reshape the home automation market.
How was your idea born? How did you set up your startup and put together an effective team? Tell us your experience and the…daring steps of the beginning!
Smart Home is a long-standing idea but has never been developed into something for a broad consumer market. When I was part of the launch of the world´s first mobile phone based on Android, called T-Mobile G1, it became apparent to me that only an open platform can bring disruptive technology like smart home to life. So that´s where it started. And then it took 3 years of consideration and taking the decision to start anew.
How are you managing your funding needs and what’s your attitude towards the global startup environment (university support, startup funding rounds, angel investors, startup awards / contests, etc.)?
Funding still is a fundamental challenge in Europe. The industry is still lacking venture capital for sizeable A rounds and very often public institutions are pivotal with their R&D funds to help foster groundbreaking ideas. We benefited a lot from public support by the European Union and the city of Berlin.
We’ve been through your website: Yetu is a very smart solution to integrate all your home automation purposes in a single platform. What’s the added value of your product/service compared to the market? What’s your disruptive potential towards leading companies/products?
Yetu is a truly open smart home platform for applications working across operating systems, browsers and devices as it is based on HTML5 web applications. Thus users can experience internet applications in a consistent way no matter which screen is in use. Second we rely only on one piece of hardware, our home gateway, and do not ask users to deploy sensors and actors at home or replace existing appliances – that´s just too complex. Third we utilize machine-learning to non-intrusively detect and monitor appliance load. Fourthly we have a vastly different approach to data security and privacy compared to industry mainstream. We think that the user does not give permission to share data for any general purpose except for the transaction for which he gives permission to do so and only in the given moment.
What trends are going to reshape the home automation industry? Which startups, in the European scenario, are carrying on the most innovative and cutting edge projects, in your opinion?
We should rather define the industry as smart home as it includes a lot of segments beyond home automation like for instance entertainment based on video and audio. There is a series of impressive new startups also in Europe but as a principle I would not comment on other contenders in the marketplace.
Tell us the best results achieved, since your startup foundation.
Our team is great fun and extraordinarily gifted.