Manufacturing, Small Business & Startups, and Technology

Auto supplier acquires stake in smart home startup

January 9, 2018
TAGS app / Gentex / IoT / mobile / Yonomi
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Yonomi smart home app
Yonomi's consumer mobile app helps people manage their smart home devices. Photo via fb.com

An automotive supplier in the region has acquired an equity stake in a startup that specializes in smart home technology.

Zeeland-based Gentex said yesterday it has taken an equity stake in Yonomi — dual-headquartered in Austin, Texas and Boulder, Colorado — to help integrate home and vehicle automation.

Yonomi is an Internet of Things company.

Yonomi recently completed a $5-million Series A financing round, led by Gentex.

The two companies also signed a licensing agreement allowing Gentex to use Yonomi software solutions that help apps and services integrate with a wide variety of smart home technology.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gentex said its President and CEO Steve Downing joined Yonomi’s board of directors as part of the agreement.

Product partnership

Over the past year, Gentex and Yonomi worked together to pilot Yonomi One, a software as a service, or SaaS, solution that handles the tasks required to integrate products and services with smart home devices and platforms. With Yonomi One, companies can integrate their apps and devices with more than 70 smart home products.

Gentex is using Yonomi One to launch HomeLink Connect, a new home automation app that pairs with a vehicle and allows drivers to operate home automation devices from the vehicle’s center console and/or rearview mirror controls.

HomeLink Connect is an extension of Gentex’s existing HomeLink feature, which consists of in-vehicle buttons that can be programmed to operate radio-frequency controlled devices, such as garage doors and security gates. More than 80 million HomeLink-equipped vehicles are on the road today.

“Our exclusive partnership with Yonomi helps ensure that HomeLink Connect is compatible with the ever-expanding list of smart home devices,” Downing said.

“Our combined capabilities will help us provide automakers with a versatile, comprehensive and robust home automation platform that opens HomeLink to new markets and users by providing an ever-expanding number of use cases.”

How it works

Drivers of HomeLink Connect compatible vehicles will be able to download and configure the app to control a myriad of individual home automation devices or set up home automation “scenes.” For instance, when heading home, pressing one HomeLink button could adjust a thermostat, turn on home lighting, disarm the security system, unlock the door and begin playing music.

The new HomeLink Connect technology leverages Gentex’s cloud infrastructure and customized apps to integrate Yonomi technology so that automotive original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, will be able to offer simple, secure and comprehensive vehicle-to-home connectivity.

Yonomi

Founded in 2013, Yonomi builds smart home technologies for people and companies to connect devices, integrate multiple platforms and “bring the home to life.”

Its consumer app is used in more than 150 countries.

Gentex

Founded in 1974, Gentex Corporation (Nasdaq: GNTX) is a supplier of automatic-dimming rearview mirrors and electronics for the automotive industry, dimmable aircraft windows for the aviation industry and products for the fire-protection industry.   

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