Dallas Tech Startup Chui Crowdfunds an ‘Intelligent’ Doorbell

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of this fall. Moore says the startup is seeking a round of seed funding to make new hires and complete deliveries of the device.

Moore says Chui’s main competitor in the digital gatekeeper space is Santa Monica, CA-based DoorBot, which also sells a smart doorbell for $199. The startup had a successful campaign on crowdfunding site Christie Street and then appeared on the TV show “Shark Tank” last fall. DoorBot raised $700,000 from investors such as Charles River Ventures and Upfront Ventures following its TV debut.

Personally, I can see the usefulness of devices like this, especially when you’re having people over: no need to interrupt your cooking to answer the door and let people in every few minutes before a dinner party. But what about security? How ideal is it have a message broadcast—even at low volumes—advertising the location of your spare key?

“Someone who intends to break into a home or business by overhearing a message … would have to literally be right next to the front door” to hear the message, Moore says. Also, if that is a concern, he added that owners could leave a more cryptic message along the lines of “The key is where I usually put it.”

Next, I asked Moore about the reliability of the facial recognition software. He says 214 Technologies’ tests—on sets of identical twins and in different lighting conditions—show that the software is 99.6 percent accurate. (The software is licensed from a European company that Moore does not want to identify until after the device has been shipped to customers.)

Moore and Chafni first met as classmates at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and then went their separate ways, Moore to Wall Street and Chafni to Morocco to run for parliament there. It was during a visit by Moore to Casablanca last year that the two began forming what would become Chui, settling on the Swahili word for leopard as the device’s name. Chui brought them back to Dallas.

“This is what we wanted to do,” Moore says.

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Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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