Zero1.tv, the company behind the VooMote universal remotes for iOS devices, has raised a Series A funding round led by GoodVent, Signeo Ltd., and existing investor HTGF. The company isn’t disclosing the amount of the round, other than to say that the funding is in the low seven-digit figures.
With its VooMote products, Zero1 is attempting to solve the same problem that companies like Peel are looking to fix: that many of us have a small mountain range of remote controls, each of which performs a specific function on a specific electronic device. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The company’s first gadget was the VooMoteOne – a black case that clips onto your iPhone – which essentially turns the iPhone or iPod touch into a universal remote control that can be set up to work on almost all household media electronics, and can “learn” to control ones that aren’t already in its database. They’ve also just announced a new VooMote Zapper, which does essentially the same thing, but in a more stylish and colorful form factor that’s also compatible with the iPad (the Zapper looks like a iPhone or iPad case, but is also equipped with IR blasters).
Plug one of these devices into your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, and VooMote will connect to Apple’s App Store to download its corresponding app — which is what you interact with to control your home entertainment system.
One of the main selling points for this app is the ease and speed with which it can be set up and used. The main problem with many of today’s “universal remotes” is the pain of looking up the brand, model, type, series, year, etc., of each TV, DVD player, Blu-ray player, Roku box, and so on — which are often required to set up the remote. With VooMote, all you need to know is the brand (for example, Sony) and type of electronic (let’s say, television), and the VooMote will test various frequencies on your TV until it finds one that works for whatever model you have.
VooMote has plenty of competition, including Power A, Ré, L5, Redeye, Unity Remote, IRB1, Fastmac, and Harmony Series, which are all essentially devices that plug into Apple products and work in tandem with an app to control multiple electronics. Most of them are made so that the plugged-in end of the iPhone/iPod/iPad becomes the front of the remote control. We’ve already mentioned Peel, which is different from VooMote in that it relays commands from your iPhone to a standalone device that sits in front of your components and blasts IR signals (i.e., the IR blaster isn’t hooked up to your phone).