Kitchener-based startup sees big potential in “FitBit for your house”

by Support Team January 03, 2017

Kitchener-based startup sees big potential in “FitBit for your house”

Article written by Peter Nowak for Canadian Business Magazine

 

 

Basement plumbing isn’t exactly the sexiest product market, but it’s hot enough for Alert Labs to have won a $100,000 award at a recent Dragon’s Den-like startup competition in Toronto.

 

 

The Kitchener, Ont.-based company, which makes furnace and water meter monitors, beat out five other startups at Communitech’s Rev Demo Day to take the top prize. The competitors were all high-level startups with products ready for market and revenue growth prospects ahead of them.

 

 

For its part, Alert Labs is targeting a basement-protection market worth an estimated $10.5 billion in North America. The Rev Demo judges obviously figured the company has a good shot at capturing a healthy portion of that pie.

 

“We need to make this technology work to our advantage and make our lives simpler,” says company co-founder and chief executive George Tsintzouras.

 

Tsintzouras got the idea for Alert Labs while travelling in his previous role as a director at projector manufacturer Christie Digital Systems. He was in Beijing on business when he got a 3 a.m. call from a tenant at his rental property back home. A small water leak had unfortunately evolved into a major problem.

 

Tsintzouras was left scrambling to fix the situation, despite it being the middle of the night on the other side of the world. When he got home, he searched for preventative solutions to avoid such headaches in the future. He couldn’t find any to his liking and discovered that his friends Kevin Wright and Ruth Casselman, who worked at Christie Digital and BlackBerry, respectively, had similar experiences. The trio launched Alert Labs last year in response.

 

The company makes what Tsintzouras calls “FitBits for your basement,” or sensors that connect key systems – water meters, furnaces and sump pumps – to a smartphone app. They use 2G and 3G cellular connections rather than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth so that they can keep working even in a power outage.

 

The sensors cost between $259 and $299 each while the continual cellular monitoring is $3.99 a month per device.

 

The sensors monitor activity and alert home owners if something unusual, like a leak or unexpected heating, is happening. Unlike actual FitBits, Tsintzouras says the sensors provide actionable information and suggestions on what to do in given situations before it’s too late. “Don’t tell me I’ve used 933 litres in the last hour, tell me this is 15 times higher than normal,” he says. 

 

The sensors can quickly pay for themselves by preventing costly disasters such as floods, Tsintzouras says, while home insurers are also giving discounts to Alert Labs customers.

 

On top of the $100,000 Rev Demo prize, the company also recently won a contract with the city of Guelph, Ont., to outfit 40,000 homes with water conservation sensors. At 14 employees, Alert Labs is positioning for big growth.

 

“We’re happy to have a prize like that, but for all intents and purposes the money has already been spent,” Tsintzouras says.

 

Read how Alert Labs is helping Guelph





Support Team
Support Team

Author


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Water Level Sensor Can Monitor Rising Water in Elevator Pits
Water Level Sensor Can Monitor Rising Water in Elevator Pits

by Support Team November 08, 2018

During torrential rains in the Summer of 2018, two men became trapped inside an elevator after the elevator pit flooded in a parking garage in Toronto. They were rescued but the incident raises the question of how to better monitor the water level in elevator pits. A new sump pump sensor could be the answer.

Continue Reading →

Water Flow Sensor Helps Clients Save Money On Water
Water Flow Sensor Helps Clients Save Money On Water

by Support Team October 17, 2018

Clients of Smart Watering Systems are saving money on their water bills with the Flowie water flow sensor. More than 50 of them have installed Flowie at their properties and many have saved thousands of dollars on their water bills thanks to alerts for water leaks, floods, and unusual water use.u

Continue Reading →

Remote Air Conditioning Monitoring Easy with Sentree Smart Sensor
Remote Air Conditioning Monitoring Easy with Sentree Smart Sensor

by Support Team October 10, 2018

Service calls will never be the same again. Gone are the days of responding to air conditioning problems without the right information or tools. Today, Alert Labs announced their newest smart sensor - the Sentree A/C monitoring system. Sentree is designed for the remote monitoring of air conditioning systems from anywhere in the world.

Continue Reading →