Proptech Startup DwellWell Raises $15M to Launch Proactive Home Repair System

Dan Simpkins of DwellWell (LinkedIn, iStock)

A proptech company that claims to have produced the first “check engine light” for the home has launched its service with over $12 million in seed funding.

Maryland-based DwellWell, founded in 2018, says its sensors can detect abnormalities in a home’s air conditioning, electrical and plumbing systems, allowing homeowners to make repairs before they become serious. costly disasters, said founder and CEO Dan Simkins.

“Home maintenance today is fully reactive – if something breaks, you fix it,” Simpkins said. “Reactive maintenance is expensive.”

Potentially very expensive. The average homeowner spent more than $10,000 on maintenance in 2021, a 25% increase from the first year of the pandemic, according to home services website Angi.

Various technologies already exist to identify water leaks, poor air quality or electrical failures. DwellWell claims its sensors incorporate them all for the first time.

Bethesda diagnoses problems through a process called “ambient inference.” Its sensors collect temperature, humidity and air quality data, as well as acoustic, light and electrical information, and feed it into an artificial intelligence system that analyzes it alongside external data, such as equipment and geographic information. Users get the analysis through web and mobile apps.

A problem in the air conditioning system, for example, would be determined by measuring the internal temperature, comparing it with third-party weather data, and then evaluating how fast the system is cooling, not just at that time, but by relative to its own historical performance. .

“When it begins to perform differently from the norm, we signal that it needs repair,” Simpkins said.

DwellWell’s value proposition is also its potential weakness: it’s essentially educated guesswork. But Simpkins says DwellWell’s “multi-sensor” technology makes it particularly sophisticated and can save large owners millions of dollars in maintenance and labor costs.

“Large-scale real estate owners don’t want to have to cobble together and integrate their own smart building technology. They want a platform,” Simpkins said.

The company’s other value proposition is that its devices are plug-in. No one needs to cut pipes or open the circuit breaker box.

The average home requires one of DwellWell’s so-called “main sensors” for every 300 square feet, or about every other room. In addition, contact water sensors – typically five or six in an average home – detect if there is a leak or if a toilet has been flushed but not filled, indicating valve malfunction.

For now, DwellWell only markets to institutional owners in major urban areas. The company sells access to its platform in 1,000 square foot units, but declined to disclose pricing. He has two pilot clients, a Washington, D.C.-based multi-family manager called Bernstein Management and an anonymous single-family rental landlord.

Retail buyers will eventually have access to the technology through partnerships with security system vendors, Simpkins said.

Privacy issues could also be an issue for the company. Simpkins said DwellWell protects customers with encryption and keeping individual personal data local, not uploading it to the cloud.

“We’re not really interested in people,” he said. “We are interested in the building.

The state of Maryland, along with “leaders in the proptech, engineering and real estate industries,” including Tim Naughton, former CEO of multifamily REIT AvalonBay, contributed seed funding for the company.

Simpkins, an entrepreneur who holds more than 20 patents, previously founded Hillcrest Labs, which developed an early SmartTV operating system.