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50 Best Companies to Watch 2019

An Interview with Marijn Van der Wal, DEN Smart Home CEO: ‘We Want to Partner up with Smart Home Solution Companies in the Future to Make Your Home as Safe as it Can Be’

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“We offer our customers a safe solution to remotely open their door for external parties like delivery services and home care professionals.”

Ageing people are staying at home longer and therefore increasingly have to deal with external parties like home care professionals and medicine or food delivery companies. Having access to, and control over, their door can be an issue. Especially when they have walking difficulties!

Moreover, two to three percent of the packages in the US are either delivered at your doorstep whilst not at home or taken back to the distributor. This leads to frustration, complex logistics and extremely high costs.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present DEN Smart Home – a spin-off of Ankerslot; a mechanical cylinder manufacturer since 1946.

DEN Smart Home designed a solution that enables users to grant access to one’s home remotely. The solution gives delivery services the opportunity to leave expected packages behind the doorstep or home care professionals to offer their services in a convenient way.

The company was incorporated in 2019 and is headquartered in Enschede, Netherlands.

Marijn Van der Wal, DEN Smart Home CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Why was the company set up?

A decade ago, the idea of controlling your home’s thermostat, lights and security systems remotely via smartphone would have seemed like futuristic science fiction. But 2017 proved to be the year of the smart home. Technology in this market continues to grow leaps and bounds. Keeping that in view, we set up DEN Smart Home.

More importantly, things should be simple and affordable for everybody. All current solutions (stand-alone) are add-ons to the door (Danalock etc.). Comparatively, our solution is designed to be beautifully integrated into the doorframe; no changes to the doorwhatsoever.

Could you talk about your business model?

Our business model is centralized around our integrated non-visible smart lock solution and ecosystem. Distributors can sell the DEN solution or either connect to the ecosystem as a third party.

The estimated price is around $199 and includes the lock, installation of the hardware and free use of the ecosystem (apps and API).

Tell us about your target market.

Our target markets are commercial building owners and homeowners. In the US alone, there are 5.6 million commercial buildings and 127 million households that could potentially benefit from our non-visible smart lock solution.

Who are your competitors?

There are no competitors with an integrated solution. Competitors with an external solution are Nuki, Kwikset Kevo, and Danalock. We differentiate with our non-visible solution. Owners can keep their own door fittings. Besides this, our API is open for third parties to connect with our ecosystem.

What are the factors that make DEN stand out from the competition?

DEN turns your house into a smart home with its locking system. Connecting DEN to your smartphone enables you (un)lock your door remotely from every location: whether you want to enter your home or grant access to a third party, as mentioned above. By connecting a camera with the speaker we create a safe environment. Our integrated services and third-party products make sure all deliveries can be done in time and every service can be executed behind your doorstep.

We offer our customers a safe solution to remotely open their door for external parties like delivery services and home care professionals. Our solution is a non-visible strike plate (smart lock) that is integrated with our ecosystem.

Brief us about your management team?

Our team exists of two developers and we have access to more if we scale up. Currently, we are advised by experts in mechanical engineering and financials.

Fostering a culture of feedback is crucial to the success of every organization. How is this true with your company?

We are open to every feedback available. The more we hear from experiences in the field the sooner we will get stronger and smarter. We do this together.

How does your company contribute to the competitive global IT platform?

We create an ecosystem which is not interfering with all the big systems available (Google, Amazon etc.). This will be an add-on in the total IT systems.

Currently, we are looking for investors and want to partner up with smart home solution companies, startups, and third-party products to build a strong ecosystem: Every company with the purpose of delivering or executing a service in one’s home. This way we can make homes as safe as they can be. Together we can run the next smart home solution.

Do you have any new products ready to be launched?

Not yet, currently working on the day latch version, secondly a day and night latch will be the next version. Some integration of face recognition is lined up in the 2019 version.

Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

We will be integrated into the main ecosystems available. People will know the name DEN in Europe and North America and is available online.

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Marijn Van der Wal: An Aspiring Entrepreneur

Marijn Van der Wal, 41, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of DEN Smart Home. Prior to founding DEN, Mr. Van der Wal worked as a project manager for a cylinder locks manufacturer called Ankerslot from 2004 to 2008. Later, he bought the cylinder locks company in 2008 and developed an idea of opening doors with a smartphone.

Mr. Van der Wal holds a degree in Hotel Management.

“Our solution is a non-visible smart lock in terms of an electric smart strike plate that is integrated with our ecosystem.”