Smart-home device maker Wyze raises $110M as it plans to inject AI heavily into camera products – GeekWire
Smart-home device maker Wyze Labs has raised $110 million in new funding, GeekWire learned on Friday, boosting the Kirkland, Wash.-based company’s plans to improve its existing line of products and launch even more.
Wyze has launched more than 30 products, including everything from security cameras to robot vacuums to thermostats, and many of those products came during a flurry of activity over the past year or so.
“We are doubling down and investing heavily to build world-class artificial intelligence into our camera products,” Wyze co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Dave Crosby told GeekWire. “Just in the last year, our AI team has built person detection, vehicle detection, package detection and pet detection into our cameras.
“Right now we have AI features in the works that we truly think will be game-changing for any camera, let alone one that costs less than $36,” Crosby said of the company’s signature Wyze Cam security camera.
Wyze also plans to use the cash to improve internal processes such as customer service and shipping, according to Crosby.
Founded in 2017 by a trio of Amazon veterans, Wyze expanded well beyond that initial low-cost security camera toward what it hopes will be smart home mass adoption. It’s been undercutting higher-priced competitors ever since. It released a smart floor lamp in April; a $19.99 smartwatch last December; a smart sprinkler control system last November; a smart vacuum just before that; and an outdoor camera last summer.
The Series B round was led by Marcy Venture Partners, co-founded by hip-hop star Jay-Z, Larry Marcus and Jay Brown. The firm has made prior investments in such companies as Hipcamp, Hungry, Wheels and Versed and was part of a $15 million Wyze round last summer. American Family Ventures, which previously backed Wyze, and others also invested.
Wyze has now attracted $146 million in funding to date and has about 300 employees.
In July, the company sued Chinese consumer electronics giant Xiaomi and robot vacuum maker Roborock in federal court in Seattle, seeking to invalidate their 2019 patent for “an autonomous cleaning device.” At stake is the Amazon listing for Wyze’s own robotic vacuum cleaner.