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SA startup Sentian raises funding to help expand market for its IoT security device

Featured image, left to right: Sentian founders Trevor Lewis and Tigue Little (Supplied)

Cape Town based startup Sentian — which develops smart security technology products — has announced that it has secured a round of funding from Johannesburg-based Imfezeko Investment Holdings.

Sentian co-founder Tigue Little declined to disclose to Ventureburn yesterday the size of the investment. He said the deal was concluded on 19 September.

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Imfezek, which invests in businesses that operate in the security and connectivity verticals, said in an earlier statement that the company had worked together with Sentian “for a number of months” before the deal was signed.

Little founded Sentian in 2013 together with Trevor Lewis (pictured above, left together with Little) after the two engineers were personally affected by home break-ins.

Sentian’s flagship product, is the Sentian 3i, which it launched in 2017. The product is an Internet-of-Things (IoT) smart hub that physically connects to existing intruder alarm systems, CCTV cameras and home automation systems, making them smart and easy to control.

Sentian was founded in 2013 by Tigue Little and Trevor Lewis

Essentially the product places a “virtual control room” in the hands of property owners.

When an alarm is triggered, the Sentian i3 detects which motion sensors were activated and using corresponding camera coverage it immediately sends a 12-second video verification clip to a user’s phone through an app.

Sentian 3i units cost between R9 495 and R12 995, with an ongoing monthly cloud subscription fee of between R169 and R269 which is dependent on the scale of the installation.

Little declined to reveal to Ventureburn how many of the units the company has sold.

Investment to expand current reach

The startup said its latest investment will enable it to expand its current reach as well as gain access to new market opportunities.

“Our current product is targeted exclusively at the top end of the market. Our new product range will cost significantly less and service the middle income security market,” said Little.

He said he expects the new product to launch towards the middle of next year.

He declined to disclose how much funding Sentian has raised since launch. Little however revealed that WooThemes co-founder Mark Forrester had in 2016 made a “multi-million Rand” seed investment in the startup.

Forrester is also one of the investors behind another Cape Town based security startup Jonga (see this story).

Since that seed round Sentian has focused on on building its technology platform to support its rapidly expanding B2C business, as well as to streamline its independent installer channel support infrastructure.

The startup was last year selected to be a part of the fourth Grindstone accelerator cohort (see this story).

‘Rapid growth in 2018’

Little said Sentian experienced “rapid growth” over the course of 2018, with revenues swelling by 400% from the the previous financial year — however he did not disclose what the company’s revenue was.

“The first half of FY19 has been challenging though, but has recovered in the past quarter. Despite this, Sentian has already met and exceeded FY18 revenues in FY19 year to date,” he said.

The startup currently employs four permanent staff as well a handful of temporary contractors and is looking to hire two more employees, he said.

Featured image, left to right: Sentian founders Trevor Lewis and Tigue Little (Supplied)

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