You know that the summer is upon us when the door-to-door home security salesmen are in full bloom hustling the neighborhoods. The typical pitch is that by allowing the security company to place a small sign in your front yard—as advertising—you’ll receive a complimentary security system. They won’t tell you about the activation fee of $100-200 or the more imposing monthly fee of the minimum three-year contract. This portion of the pitch usually comes up after the salesman has walked every room of your house, noted all lower-level windows and doors, and now has you seated at the kitchen table—you with a pen and him with your credit card! So that “free” system could cost you $1,000-2,000.
Now I say this half in jest because I used to be the above-mentioned salesman during my off semesters in college. But the reality remains that security systems are pricey. In fact, those who need security the most, often cannot afford it and therefore do not have it. Steve Hollis and his team at Korner have engineered a security system that is affordable and functional. They are raising funds via a campaign on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.
The Korner consists of two main units; a fob and a tag. The fob plugs into an Ethernet port on the back of your internet router and is the hub of the security system. It can support up to 15 tags within a 100-foot radius. The tag is a slender triangular piece that adheres to doors and windows and is ideally placed in the corner of the frame. Unlike security systems today, the tag does not requiring two sensors to create an open or closed contact. Rather, it is engineered to sense specific vibrations in the door or window resulting from an intrusion rather than a knock at the door or heavy wind. Steve Hollis explained, "A lot of work went into developing a one-piece door and window sensor that would still work better than the traditional two-piece sensors. We finally cracked the code, but it took a lot of iterations".
As for alerts, the fob has a built-in alarm to ward off intruders and signal homeowners that may be in the home. But the best part is the accompanying application on iOS or Android. A notification is sent to the user’s smart phone identifying the entry point in question with two options: call police or notify circle. Users can organize their contacts into “circles” or groups that can be notified. For those who travel frequently, creating a circle of trusted contacts on your street is, effectively, a customized neighborhood watch.
For the team at Korner, the tag line “home security anyone can use and everyone can afford” is crucial. I spoke with Robert Chung, Korner’s marketing coordinator, and asked him about the future of Korner—specifically the next 5-10 years. “We will always maintain the goal of providing affordable home security to all,” was Chung’s lead-in comment. He proceeded to share the back-story of the company as found on their site. The startup has also partnered with Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN) to provide free security systems to survivors of domestic violence. Those who contribute to the campaign can elect to purchase a system on behalf of DAWN.
As parting counsel to entrepreneurs Steve Hollis commented, "Don't give up. You will hit multiple dead ends and it will look like you should give up. But think hard about getting over the hurdle, or pivoting in a new direction that still leverages your basic premise".
I admire ventures such as Korner that challenge the status quo and seek to make a difference. This definitely secures a POP from The Freshpreneur!