BuddyGuard, the Berlin startup behind the Flare AI-powered home security camera, has raised €3.4 million in new funding, money it plans to use to ramp up marketing of the newly-launched device. Leading the round is German electrical specialist Bachmann Group, with participation from over 20 unnamed angel investors across Europe.
Originally funded via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2015, BuddyGuard’s first product broadly competes with other connected security cameras, such as Google Nest Cam or Netgear’s Arlo, but is positioned as a more intelligent offering. The device uses AI to recognise faces and suspect sounds so that it can proactively alert a home owner of intruders without the need for them to proactively monitor the camera’s audio-visual feed.
“Camera solutions are usually nothing more but a camera with a motion sensor, triggering an endless stream of notifications on the user’s phone. This simply isn’t good enough for securing your home,” BuddyGuard co-founder and CEO Herbert Hellemann tells me.
“Flare is a complete solution that you can take with you when you move, and it protects your home all by itself by making informed decisions based on everything it sees and hears”.
Designed to be placed inside the home, near to the main entrance point, the BuddyGuard Flare consists of a 130 degree, wide angle, 1080p HD camera, and includes a privacy shutter which closes after household members arrive home.
Also key to its privacy stance, explains Hellemann, is that the BuddyGuard facial and audio recognition software runs on the device itself rather than the cloud, meaning that video footage can be processed locally for AI purposes and is only ever transmitted once an intruder is detected.
“What sets us apart is that Flare can recognise and categorise potentially dangerous situations, and then decide on its own whether to notify you or our partner through the Alarm Monitoring Centre,” adds the BuddyGuard CEO.
“Flare can differentiate normal sounds from suspicious noises using advanced sound recognition software, unlike Arlo or Nest Cam. Our camera protects your privacy and it will even stay online during a power outage, thanks to its battery and 4G LTE back-up”.
Meanwhile, I’m told that the BuddyGuard Flare is already on sale in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium and France, and will launch in North America next year. “With this investment, we look forward to bringing Flare to the mass market across Europe and North America in 2018,” says Hellemann.