SmartThings Closes $3M Seed Round, Led By First Round Capital, Launches Competition To Grow Community Of Smart Object Developers

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Internet-of-things startup, SmartThings, this year’s winner of the Dublin Web Summit’s startup competition, has closed a $3 million seed round. The round was led by First Round Capital and includes contributions from SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, CrunchFund, Max Levchin, Yuri Milner’s Start Fund, David Tisch, A-Grade Investments, Chris Dixon, Vivi Nevo, Alexis Ohanian, Loic Le Meur, Martin Varsavsky, Kal Vepuri, Ryan Sarver, Jared Hecht, Steve Martocci, Emil Michael, Aaron Levie, Zorik Gordon, and Nathan Hanks.

The startup is building a platform for developers to connect everyday objects such as door locks and lights to the internet, allowing the physical objects to be controlled and monitored via apps and other digital interfaces — hence its talk of an “open physical graph”.

Individual smart object systems — such as the Philips Hue lightbulbs — are already popping up in the marketplace but SmartThings is aiming to build momentum behind an open platform approach, allowing multiple device makers to sit within the ecosystem, and multiple devices to be powered by the same core smart hub. “It will take a significant ecosystem and the participation of many of these innovators to realize the full potential of the physical graph,” it notes.

The startup said it now has more than 1,000 developers and makers signed up to its way of doing things. Growing that community is going to be key to SmartThing’s success. To increase support for its platform, SmartThings plans to use a swathe of the seed funding to launch the first SmartThings Developer and Maker Competition — to reward “innovation on the physical graph” — noting

Based on community feedback and more than 1,000 developers and makers that have signed up on the SmartThings platform, we’ll be choosing 5 key themes representing the most exciting areas of innovation on the physical graph. In each theme, we’ll be awarding a winner for the best software developer / SmartApp, and the best hardware/device maker. In April 2013, we’ll announce the overall winner.

The competition will be judged by a panel that includes First Round Capital, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, Matt Williams, EIR at Andreesen Horowitz, Loic Le Meur, David Tisch, and Alex Hawkinson, CEO of SmartThings. Winners will receive cash prizes — with $100,000 in total prize money, including $25,000 each for the top app and top new connected Thing — as well as “investor exposure, media coverage, manufacturing and design consulting and be[ing] featured across the SmartThings customer base and ecosystem”. SmartThings said it expects the amount of money in the prize pot to increase further in the near future via inbound sponsorship cash.

SmartThings has previously secured $1.2 million via a Kickstarter campaign, and is partnering with Instacube — to allow the cube to display notifications for things like visitors arriving or leaving the lights on.

SmartThing’s release follows below

SmartThings Announces $3M seed round and Developer/Maker Contest to Drive an Open ‘Internet of Things’

At SmartThings, we believe the next and perhaps most life-altering evolution of the Internet will be the creation of the physical graph; the digitization, connectivity and programmability of the physical world around us. Whether you call this the Internet of Things, sensor networks or home and life automation, the implications for how we live, work, and have fun are profound. At our core, we also believe that for the ecosystem to be healthy, it must be open. An open physical graph is the only way to bridge the innovation, inventions and brilliance of the many device manufacturers, hardware makers, developers, and everyday people who are working to change our lives today and in the future.

SmartThings sits at the center of this open ecosystem. We provide a platform that enables developers and makers to build smart and connected devices, an interactive and mobile user experience for consumers to manage and install apps into their physical world to make it behave more intelligently, and unique combinations of SmartThings and SmartApps packaged to solve real world problems, out of the box, with no professional installation required.

We appreciate the immense support we’ve received to date in making that open vision a reality. Our Kickstarter backers embraced this vision and made us the second largest technology project of all time, and the largest Internet of Things project by more than 2x when we closed. This momentum continued across the globe with SmartThings winning the Spark of Genius award at the 2012 Dublin Web Summit against a field of over 4,000 original startup competitors from 36 countries.

Today we’re announcing 2 significant events in our continued success and progress in bringing the open physical graph to the world.

The SmartThings vision is a big one. But it’s clear the world is ready. The entire Le Web conference in Paris this week is based around the Internet of Things, and new projects aiming to connect our physical world are emerging almost daily. It will take a significant ecosystem and the participation of many of these innovators to realize the full potential of the physical graph.

Fortunately, some of the best and most dynamic investors and entrepreneurs out there believe in our vision as well. Today we’re announcing the successful close of a $3 million funding round lead by First Round Capital and including SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, CrunchFund, Max Levchin, Yuri Milner’s Start Fund, David Tisch, A-Grade Investments, Chris Dixon, Vivi Nevo, Alexis Ohanian, Loic Le Meur, Martin Varsavsky, Kal Vepuri, Ryan Sarver, Jared Hecht, Steve Martocci, Emil Michael, Aaron Levie, Zorik Gordon, and Nathan Hanks.

This is the perfect group to both help us in our direct growth and to make investments in the ecosystem of developers and makers who will create a breathtaking array of connected devices, intelligent and learning applications, and breakthrough innovations.

With this funding, and in direct support of the open ecosystem vision, today we’re also announcing the first SmartThings Developer and Maker Competition. Based on community feedback and more than 1,000 developers and makers that have signed up on the SmartThings platform, we’ll be choosing 5 key themes representing the most exciting areas of innovation on the physical graph. In each theme, we’ll be awarding a winner for the best software developer / SmartApp, and the best hardware/device maker. In April 2013, we’ll announce the overall winner.

The judging panel for this contest includes First Round Capital, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, Matt Williams, EIR at Andreesen Horowitz, Loic Le Meur, David Tisch, and Alex Hawkinson, CEO of SmartThings.

Winners will receive cash ($100,000 overall including $25,000 each for the top app and top new connected Thing), investor exposure, media coverage, manufacturing and design consulting and be featured across the SmartThings customer base and ecosystem. You can learn more about and sign up for the competition at build.smartthings.com.

We expect this to be the first of many competitions driving an explosive growth in innovation on the open physical graph. Thank you so much for your continued support. Together we will create an open physical graph and a smarter world!