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Roome completed nearly 100 million RMB of Series A+ financing led by HJW Fund and Deyi Capital in August this year. Roome was established in 2015 and completed the Angel Round in September of the same year. In January 2017, Roome completed their Round A funding of 21 million with lead investor LB and co-investor BW Investment.
Roome’s initial customers were mainly enterprises. Through cooperation with home and furniture companies, they have gathered information about consumer behaviour via AI technology. A year after its founding, Roome’s eventually developed their products for the end-user market.
Roome for end-users
Currently, Roome serves both enterprises and end-users. For end-users, Roome developed energy-saving home products including electrical appliances such as smart lamps. These products do not require any installation or changing of light bulbs. There are now 5 different product series with 12 new products. It was claimed that Roome has sold 350,000 products (as of Jan 2018). Sales volume has doubled as compared to last year, with a cumulative turnover of 32 million RMB. Roome was ranked first on T-mall’s intelligent robots and home furniture section on 18th June (one-day promotion event on Chinese e-commerce platforms, similar to Black Friday).
At present, the market penetration rate of smart electronics is very low (about less than 1%). Founder Duan Junlei told 36Kr that it is not easy to popularize smart home electronics because of the high user threshold and some products are still in its early development stage. Many smart electronics companies like Roome are cooperating with real estate developers to install smart home electronics in new homes. Roome plans to start with 400 million homes. This will eliminate the hassle of educating customers as the products are automatically installed in new homes.
Roome’s core service is an intelligent algorithm that learns the environment and habits of users. Roome’s products do not come with cameras, but through infrared, microwave radar, sound sensors, light, temperature and humidity, they collect signals from users’ habits, accumulate and filter effective data. The team has also developed their own independent algorithm to analyze the long-term habits of users with cloud computing.
At present, Roome has accumulated 2 billion sets of data from 500,000 users. The accuracy of judgment is able to reach up to 100%, and the accuracy of judgment on users’ sleeping habits is over 95%. Founder Duan Junlei said that the data on home behaviour is a black box; acquiring home data is very difficult. Thus, the main purpose right now is to rectify and perfect their algorithms. With data on their behaviour and living habits, Roome plans to refine their algorithm and develop health-related products.
Roome for businesses
For enterprises, Roome utilizes an intelligent technology, HOMI-inside, to provide technology and solutions to furniture companies. Currently, they have partnered with electronics companies like Schneider, Haier, Fotile and e-e-commerce companies like Alibaba, Tencent, Jingdong as well as other brands and platforms. In the future, Roome will develop kitchen products and target business owners in the food and beverage industry.
One of the challenges in the smart electronics market is educating the market. Artificial intelligence is a relatively new technology that is being commercialized in the home products market. Products such as Google Home, Amazon Alex, Tmall Elf, Xiaomi Audio, and smart refrigerators from JD, Samsung, Haier did not receive an overwhelming response from consumers.
Duan Junlei said that Roomie will partner with three user categories, mainly suppliers (such as kitchen appliances provider Golden Home), kitchen product e-commerce platforms (such as Alibaba, JD), as well as property and technology manufacturers. Roome will utilize artificial intelligence to learn user habits via the Internet of Things and deep learning technology, and help users complete kitchen operations, such as controlling the range hood and simplifying the interaction of the kitchen.
Duan Junlei has more than 10 years of experience in product technology. He has worked for Olympus, Jingdong, Sogou, and IBM. Co-founder Xu Xu has extensive experience in the field of customized recommendation algorithm. The core algorithm team are ex-employees of US entertainment company HULU.