- Smart-building tech promises to save energy, but adoption is slowed by high costs.
- Two tech veterans launched Domatic, which they say marries smart-tech and wiring at a low cost.
- Domatic’s founders walked Insider through the pitch deck they used to raise seed capital.
Jim Baldwin, cofounder and CEO of Domatic, has had a storied career in the tech world.
His accomplishments include working on an early iteration of Apple’s FireWire cable, a precursor to the modern USB cable that transmits both data and power. He also served as CTO of Microsoft’s television department and was a vice president of Intel’s digital home group.
When smart home products began to take off in the early 2010’s, Baldwin became obsessed with Nest cameras and security systems. At the time, Nest only let users to run ten devices on their home network, but Baldwin wanted 11. He “broke” the system with that last device, he said.
Frustrated, Baldwin rang up a friend at Nest. He wanted to fix the product’s limitations, but alas, it wasn’t his job.
“There’s a parallel universe where I had gone to Nest,” to help develop its products, Baldwin said.
Instead, in this universe, he met Gladys Wong, a career chip and hardware engineer who had stints at Cisco, Qualcomm, and Marvell Technologies.
The two ran Antimatter Research — a consulting group that worked with startups — until founding Domatic in 2019. Simple electrical wiring that puts smart home technology in the hands of electricians would be the new company’s goal, and draw from Baldwin’s early work at Apple and satisfy his obsession with Nest.
Wong and Baldwin tackled two problems preventing the adoption of smart building technology: it’s too expensive and difficult to roll out in scale. Smart tech, which often requires wiring separate power and data cables to devices that then connect to a central control room, can add 30% to the cost of electrical installations, Baldwin said. Most contractors don’t even have the skills to do it, he added.
The Domatic solution: low-voltage wiring that mitigates risks and that doesn’t require installation by a licensed electrician. It carries power and data, and eliminates the need to run devices off WiFi or an ethernet connection.
“This is sneaking the smart system into the building” through the wiring, Baldwin said. “It’s more energy efficient and leads to a better building for less effort and less cost.”
The company has installed its wiring into new commercial buildings and is targeting gut renovations and smaller residential projects in the future. To fuel growth, it raised a $4 million seed round, led by construction-tech specialists Brick & Mortar Ventures, with participation from Catapult VC, Alchemist, and Third Sphere, at the end of last year.
Wong and Baldwin walked Insider through the pitch deck they used to raise the round.