Hello: LifeDoor Inc.
This is the second in a series of interviews I am doing with new and innovative companies in and around the #SmartLock, #Security and #AccessControl industry. It's time they have a voice and we meet them. If there are any companies you'd like to see highlighted in the future, let me know. I plan to do this regularly. I am open to your feedback and appreciate the heads up. Thank you!
Sometimes you come across a company and you think to yourself: "I really hope they make it big." Its usually for a number of reasons including (1) good people (2) transformative product (3) they are doing it for all the right reasons. Well, if you spend just 5 minutes with Joel Sellinger or anyone at LifeDoor Inc, I think you'll find yourself saying just that - I really hope they make it big. Joel not only has a great story (Firefighter turned entrepreneur) but he's a tireless founder, born leader and is executing. His product is solid (first hand feedback from people in our industry that I respect). And lastly, most importantly, the product saves lives.
One last thing on the product that I find interesting... he's attacking "the door problem" where we've seen limited amount of disruption from technology. I plan to dig more into that later.
So here we are...please spend the next 5 minutes with the following 5 questions Joel answered and let me know in the comments what you think.
1. Tell us a little about your business.
Our company, LifeDoor, is based on the fire service safety message that people should be sleeping with their bedroom doors closed (commonly referred to as "close before you doze"). Our flagship product is a device that will automatically shut doors when triggered either by the sound of a smoke detector or signaled by the connected smart home hub. Beyond the life saving action of shutting the door, LifeDoor also sounds another alarm, lights up the room with built in LEDs and sends you or a 3rd party a notification. When not activated LifeDoor doesn't affect the normal use of the door. When you test your smoke alarms, burn dinner (me) or activate LifeDoor with your smart home app, the device will shut your doors, and then automatically reset themselves. LifeDoor is a firefighter founded and funded company.
2. What got you into the smart lock / access control business?
Being a firefighter I've seen first hand the dramatic difference a closed interior door can make during a fire. I've also witnessed tragedy where an elderly woman passed away from smoke inhalation, in her bed with the door open, just minutes before we could arrive. I also was part of a response to a fire where twin 3 year olds survived a raging apartment fire behind the protection of a closed door. That door held back toxic smoke and heat for at least 17 minutes giving us the time to arrive, put much of the fire out and get the kids out, relatively unharmed. Plastic toys had melted to the carpet in the rooms of that apartment that had open doors. One night, on shift, reflecting on these examples I was worrying about my family knowing my wife and daughter were most likely back home in bed with their doors wide open. This has been a hot topic in our home. My daughter has never wanted her door closed at night and many times when I would close it after she fell asleep I would wake up to find she had opened it at some point in the night. My wife has always preferred to have our door open, especially when I'm on shift for 24hrs so she can hear if our daughter needed her or if someone was trying to break in. Realizing the importance of having the door closed if there is a fire but also that people have practical reasons for leaving their door open, I knew a fire safety product like LifeDoor needed to exist.
3. What markets and verticals do you serve?
We’re exploring multiple retail and wholesale channels but we’re currently selling direct to consumer through our website - www.lifedoor.io. We’re primarily focusing on educating young families and the elderly about how they can avoid harm in the event of a fire. Unfortunately young children and the elderly continue to be among the most at risk age groups when it comes to fire injuries and deaths. One market that is beginning to emerge for us is adult family care homes. Many jurisdictions require a spring loaded door hinge on bedrooms in these high risk occupancies. This leads to great inconvenience to not only the residents but also the caretakers. We are happy to hear that many of these jurisdictions are approving LifeDoor as a passive alternative to these spring loaded hinges. We also see significant potential in assisted living facilities and non sprinklered multifamily dwellings. These high risk types of occupancies find our technology to add great value for a relatively small investment.
4. What is one thing that you were surprised to find out about the security/lock/access control industry?
How little advancement has been made in residential interior doors and hardware- beyond aesthetics not much has changed around residential doors and hardware. Connected deadbolts seem to be the one exception to the lack of innovation with doors and hardware on the doors. Companies developing video doorbells and package theft deterrents all based around the entry door are plentiful. Interior doors, hinges and knob sets maintain the same function they’ve had since their inception. Simple products like LifeDoor can unlock substantial safety potential that doors have, beyond that think of energy savings if we could remotely open and close interior doors to only heat portions of the house that are occupied.
5. Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Based on our research around barrier control we see LifeDoor not only becoming a leader in home fire safety but at the same time releasing products that align with our mission statement: "Create safer, more convenient and happier homes for our customers." Although fire safety is in our DNA we see many use cases where the technology we are developing will truly make the smarthome safer.