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By Liana B. Baker
Sept 3 Private equity firm KKR & Co LLP
said on Wednesday that it is investing $90 million in Savant
Systems, a company that helps control the lighting, temperature
and TVs in some of the world's wealthiest homes.
The private company, which is valued at roughly $200 million
following this round of funding, was founded in 2005 by engineer
and tech entrepreneur Robert Madonna. It sells home automation
systems to the luxury market and can be found in homes of tech
CEOs and musicians, said Chief Executive Officer William Lynch
in an interview. Its technology is closely tied to Apple
devices and operating system, according to its website.
The systems, which runs on a home's Wifi network, can
control everything in a house from energy, lighting, music to a
Comcast cable box, all from a phone.
The industry for "smart" devices in homes has been
attracting attention from large tech companies, with Google
spending $3.2 billion in January to buy Nest Labs, a
company that makes thermostats and smoke alarms that connect to
Lynch, the former CEO of Barnes & Noble, said in an
interview that the company had been looking to raise capital
from investors before choosing KKR, which will take a roughly 35
The company's compounded annual growth rate has been 50
percent over the past five years, Lynch added.
"Home automation is set to explode. In five years, people
will view this as a utility in their homes," he said.
Lynch said the company, which has 200 employees and is based
in Hyannis, Massachusetts, will use the money for marketing and
research and development. It has also been branching out from
the luxury market and coming out with lower priced systems.
KKR had been interested in the "smart home" space for years
and has previously invested in the wireless music systems maker
Sonos. It funded the investment from its main North American
buyout fund, the North American Private Equity Fund XI.
This is the second growth equity investment the company has
made this week. On Tuesday, a real-money fantasy sports startup
called FanDuel said KKR had participated in their latest funding
round for an undisclosed sum.
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)