A WI-FI ROUTER-JUST ABOUT EVERYONE HAARNE, BUT MANY MAY not know a lot about them, or the companies that make them. Routers manage the connection between broadband internet service and the devices within a home or business network. Most consumer routers also provide Wi-Fi access.
The consumer router market has thrived, thanks mainly to the trend of "Internet of Things" (IOT), and home users connecting more devices to their networks. The consumer router market increased 5% in 2014, surpassing 166.1 million unit shipments, and it is predicted to reach 219 million shipments in 2020, generating $13.5 billion.
Luma, launched in June 2016, is among the new crop of routers employing cutting-edge technology to combat the issue of wireless dead zones--using several smaller routers around a home to create a "mesh network," which provides whole-home Wi-Fi coverage.
The startup was founded by Paul Judge, Ph.D., and Mike Van Bruinisse, networking experts who've worked together for almost two decades. Judge is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and scholar, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Morehouse College, and received his Master of Science and doctorate in network security from Georgia Tech.
Judge was involved in research at some of the most prestigious cybersecurity companies, including CipherTrust and Barracuda Networks. Additionally, he's won numerous awards and holds 30 computer security technology patents (some are patent-pending).
After launching his own investment firm, Judge Ventures, and funding several startups, he cofounded his own, LookLive--a shopping app for men--which reached more than $120,000 monthly gross merchandise volume in 2016.
Luma is a new type of startup for Judge because it's hardware-based. It's riskier venture because there are established wireless router companies that have been around for decades. TP-Link, Asus, and Netgear have the largest share of this market.
Still, Silicon Valley is showing confidence in Luma. After an undisclosed seed round of funding to get the product to market, Amazon invested $12.5 million in Series A funding through its Alexa Fund.
The Luma Difference
To create an automated home, "It needs to be connected," says Judge. "Wi-Fi is actually a foundation. Wi-Fi allows a connected toothbrush to get on the internet, or the connected luggage, or whatever you're into."
Reliable Wi-Fi is the key to getting consumers to buy connected devices.