Skip to Content

$15 million question: SSN interview with Deep Sentinel’s Dave Selinger

$15 million question: SSN interview with Deep Sentinel’s Dave Selinger

$15 Million Question: SSN interview with Deep Sentinel’s Dave Selinger

YARMOUTH, Maine—Security Systems News does a deep dive with Dave Selinger following the news that Deep Sentinel, an AI-powered 24/7 live video monitoring security provider that uses remote guards, has attracted $15 million in funding.

SSN - “Mr. Selinger, could you tell me a little bit more about yourself and Deep Sentinel and the work you're doing there?”

SELINGER - “Yeah, for sure. So, I I'm Dave Selinger. I'm the CEO and the founder of Deep Sentinel. I'm a 45-year-old dad of two girls and a technology entrepreneur. For the past umpteen years. I did my studies in artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning. At Stanford and was really, really honored and had a wonderful time there. I've been studying AI at various places like Amazon and Redfin and my most recent company was called RichRelevance all focused on data analytics and machine learning. Machine learning is kind of a funny term, and AI is kind of a funny term right now because in general it tends to make its way into vogue and then out of vogue reasonably quickly, and typically in in the context of big over promise and under deliver. About five years ago, though, (maybe) six years ago, there was a type of machine learning called deep learning that emerged, and I became really enamored with it. I'd actually been kind of temporarily retired, and I found this technology I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this actually does the things that I think we've been talking about doing for a long time’. Of course, you know the most recent kind of uproar in the last few weeks about ChatGPT and DALL-E image generation and text generation and all this stuff, they're a huge revolution, but kind of the tip of the iceberg, frankly. That the underlying technology there is what I find really interesting. It's been growing and changing over the last five or six years, and then if you take a bigger view, even over like 20-25 years, but it's really been this last five or six years that it's just started being able to solve problems that we thought were going to be intractable for a long period. That’s what really got me excited about starting Deep Sentinel, because I wanted to use technology in a way that we could, you know the Silicon Valley phrase, ‘Make the world a better place,’ and the thing that I learned as a dad was that safety is one of the most important and fundamental aspects of our personality and our environment. When people feel safe, they thrive. They're able to interact with empathy, they're able to act and take risks as kids, right? They're able to listen to other people's opinions, even if they don't agree with them (That’s some political sub context that's not that hidden in case I was being too subtle). I think those things are really critical for our next generation and in our society. So that's really kind of the mission of Deep Sentinel is to help people be safer.”

SSN - “Regarding, the Intel Capital led funding round of $15 million, what does this mean for Deep Sentinel and how is that going affect the physical security space? How is AI changing the landscape of the industry?”

Selinger - “That's the $15 million question, isn't it? The way that we're using that money is that we've spent the last four or five years really polishing our business model, our go to market, how we reach customers, how we work with our installer partners and make sure that customers have successful deploys. Really at the crux of it, is how do we use AI to make our guards more effective and more cost effective for our customers? How do we stop crimes by combining artificial intelligence and humans? And we've unlocked a really amazing. Equation that brings those two things together. We’ve stopped crimes every single day, all day long. That's the thing that I think, you know as much as the security industry talks about these various prevention and deterrent approaches. I’ll pick on two big players in the market right now, camera providers and alarm providers. Neither of them actually really stop crimes, right? You know, we don't really want to talk about that too much because (they’ve been) until now the best possible thing that we've had out there. But alarm companies generate 90 to 95% false alarms for police departments. That's overwhelming our underfunded police departments, so you can ask any cop in any district, and they'll give you the same answer. On cameras right there for the most part, they're forensic after the fact recording devices. They've become easier and more accessible with Ring and Nest and things like that. But even though it's more accessible, that doesn't mean it stops crimes. And let me. Give you a very specific example: One of my friends is a neighbor of ours, his Kids went to school with mine. He was sitting with me when I was emailing with Jeff Bezos, and he did one of our early seed rounds and he's like, ‘Man, can I invest too?’ And he invested and then he bought Deep Sentinel for his family. Last weekend, and this isn't metaphorical, this is last weekend, last Sunday at 3:00 AM in the morning, a man came to his house. And this man first tried the fence and tried to jump over the fence and then Deep Sentinel saw this and intervened over two-way audio and said, ‘I need you to leave the property.’ The man left, went around the other side, jumped over his neighbor's fence, and then went up to the back sliding glass door of his house, looking into the kitchen. Deep Sentinel was able to delay him, scare him, and convince him to leave. It was able to contact the Police Department to describe the suspect, describe the situation, describe that there are kids in the house and that they were home, and they needed an immediate response. The police were able to respond in under 5 minutes and my friend and his family are safe. That's something that when you look at the two solutions that are really the dominant ones in the market, cameras and alarms, neither of them would have provided that outcome. Neither of them. If it were just cameras, he would have a recording the next morning, say, ‘Oh, my God, honey. How scary is this? This guy was here, or he broke in and now we have evidence that we're sharing with the police because now I have just had a home invasion.’ If he had an alarm, he's going to have an open rear door, which again when they call the Police Department, police can say ‘Sweet, thank you. 95% false alarms. Maybe we'll send someone if we don't have anything better to do,’ but instead the police got the good call and that family never got disturbed. And that's the outcome that we focus on.”

SSN – “What is Deep Sentinel doing to set itself apart from its competitors? As we just discussed with, with the alarm and the camera industry, Deep Sentinel is making strides to fill in what they're lacking. Is there anything about that we haven't discussed?”

SELINGER - “AI is undergoing a huge revolution and again the things that we see publicly, ChatGPT and DALL-E, are really just a tiny piece of the equation. This has been going on for a while. If you look back, I think about six years you'll see that that the very first AI called Alpha Go defeated the GO champion of the world. What was surprising about that's not that it happened. Because most people don't know about the game and it's not that interesting but let me share the key statistic there. About 45 days prior to this event all the world's AI experts were polled to see how far out that accomplishment was going to be. The average was somewhere between 10 and 20 years out, and (then) it happened literally 45 days later. So this has been going on since really about then, and the underlying ability to continue finding new ways for that AI to manifest itself.  Again, ChatGPT and DALL-E just really being the most recent examples of that. That freight train has just started going and it's still going. We're going to see so many more interesting, evocative, and engaging examples of AI doing tasks that we didn't think computers were capable of doing over the next 5 to 10 years. That Deep Sentinel vision is to capture every single one of those new and novel ways of using computers. Pair that with human beings to make people safer, and that's the trend. That's what we've raised the money for. That's the trend that we see ourselves on.”

Selinger added in closing, “We're also expanding the customers that we serve. We started in residential, we expanded into small businesses and over the last two years, and we've started servicing larger and larger businesses. (Many of) those are like multi-tenant apartment buildings, and they make up about 50% of our pipeline at this point. We have also expanded into enterprise customers where we have places that have 5, 10, 15, 25, 150 locations and we're progressively becoming an enterprise partner to those companies to help solve the problems that they have across their portfolio, whether those are liability for reasonable care or because they are a self-owned business and they're being caught off guard because of the rampant amounts of car break-ins and outdoor crimes that's plaguing these businesses. We found that our value proposition has migrated into those enterprise spheres over the last two years.”

This article was edited for length and clarity.


To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.