NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Cloud video surveillance provider Smartvue announced this week that it secured $15 million in financing from Fortress Investment Group, a $67 billion firm.
I spoke to Martin Renkis, Smartvue founder and CEO, this morning and asked him what Fortress, which typically works with much larger companies, saw in Smartvue. Fortress likes Smartvue's vision of being "a major cloud platform in the video surveillance services business," Renkis said.
"[Fortress] saw what we saw, which is that [the Internet of Things] is going to be gigantic and someone is going to be the leader driving video surveillance services using the cloud," he said. Renkis and others believe that many of the "things" that will be connected to the Internet—cars and televisions for example—will have cameras or will "be video-enabled somehow."
Renkis describes Smartvue as a cloud surveillance and IoTV (Internet of Things Video) technology company, that will "develop the backbone for the storage, management, security and distribution of video for the Internet of Things."
Smartvue announced at ASIS 2014 that it is working with Western Digital, "which sells one million hard drives a day," to embed Smartvue software on their devices, so customers "who buy their NAS and want to save video to the cloud can do this with this software." Smartvue is also embedding its software on HikVision cameras, so no NVR is necessary.
Of course, Smartvue has been in the cloud business since Renkis founded the company in 1998, "Since day 1, before it was called the cloud," he said. Fortress also likes the fact that Smartvue has "27 patents filed over the past 10 years to cover the technology we develop," he said.
Smartvue provides its platform "to telcos, cable companies, security companies [commercial and residential] ... to help them generate recurring revenue."
The new funds will help support Smartvue's current work with Internet Service Providers, cable companies, telecoms, IoT device companies and cloud storage providers. Renkis said Smartvue has had notable success selling platforms to telecoms which they sell under their own names. He declined to name the telecoms Smartvue is working with. The funding will also be used for engineering staff with the goal of creating more intellectual property, Renkis said.
Smartvue is privately held, based here, and has just under 100 employees. It has three main pieces of software: VMS software that it builds into NVRs and sells; Low-level firmware (or a lean VMS) that it embeds in cameras, gaming consoles and other devices; and, centralized global video platforms.