High-tech intercom developer ButterflyMX has raised $35 million in a growth equity funding round led by Volition Capital. ButterflyMX sells wireless smart intercom systems that connect building entry controls to smartphones, including voice commands through voice assistants like Siri and Alexa. Like many contactless technologies, the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis has sparked a surge of interest in companies like ButterflyMX that offer ways to engage with the world with minimal touching of surfaces.
ButterflyMX sells what are essentially high-end video intercom systems. Unlike traditional intercoms that need to be wired into a building to operate locks and alarms, the 7-inch and 11.6-inch intercoms only need a power cord, door strike, and internet access to operate. Residents set up an account with ButterflyMX via their management or building owner and can use the startup’s mobile app to see and speak with people who buzz their number and decide whether to unlock the door. The resident can also use their voice to unlock the door by connecting Siri or Alexa to the ButterflyMX app. The voice commands can be useful for either letting people in or as a way to unlock the front door when their hands are full. The owners can also send visitors or regular service providers a QR code or PIN to get into the building or leave a video message if the person isn’t home. Every door entry is logged with a time and photo, stored on an Amazon Web Services server for a year as a way of tracking any issues with people getting into the building who shouldn’t have been let inside.
ButterflyMX isn’t the only developer pursuing the contactless entry concept. Voice technology startup Picovoice has rolled out a way to integrate its voice control systems into elevators, intercoms, and other devices. Picovoice’s creation is focused on adding a software platform to hardware capable of supporting it, an intercom with a microphone and internet connection would be needed, but then Picovoice would handle requests to call apartments or send an elevator to a specific floor. Unlike ButterflyMX, however, Picovoice makes a point of on-edge processing, keeping the whole process in a device without sending information to the cloud.
ButterflyMX’s technology is already in 4,500 buildings, according to the company, running elevators as well in some buildings. With the new funding, ButterflyMX said it plans to scale up its sales and develop more features for its technology. The new funding gives the startup a considerable runway for growth, as it more than doubles the total raised by ButterflyMX previously to around $58 million in total.
“Our smartphone-based platform is built to provide a better living and working experience by solving the access challenges associated with modern properties,” ButterflyMX founder Cyrus Claffey said in a statement. “Our products also simplify the work of building staff by enabling them to focus their time effectively and efficiently, which has never been more important. Thanks to our investors, we will continue to develop products and services that help the real estate world move away from antiquated keys, fobs, and keycards for managing property access.”