Posted on October 13, 2017 by staff

A cricket ball-sized solution to home security


A fast-growing home security tech start-up based in Leeds has revealed plans to expand overseas and grow turnover to £15m in the next two years.

Leeds-based Cocoon has developed a smart home security device which uses technology capable of detecting subtle sounds and vibrations that can’t be picked up by the human ears.

When an alert is triggered by the device – which is the size of a cricket ball – users are notified on their smartphone app and can access a live video feed to see if there’s an intruder.

Co-founder Sanjay Parekh said: “If the device detects something that isn’t quite right in your home, it’ll send you a video alert and you can see what’s going on.

“When we did our customer research, what people didn’t want is an automatic alarm system that went off like everybody else’s. They just get ignored.”

The system also uses machine learning software to learn a user’s movements and habits to differentiate between normal sounds and movements, like a pet walking across the living room, and unexpected ones.

Cocoon was launched after a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in 2014. The business has since attracted more than £5m of investment from Aviva Ventures and Breed Reply Investments and through an equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube.

At BusinessCloud’s recent tech roundtable, which was held in KPMG’s offices in Leeds, Parekh said that the 24-strong company will be expanding “rapidly” and internationally over the next few months and is on track to generate turnover of between £750,000 and £1m this year.

“Our growth strategy is to primarily expand our channels to market, starting with the UK retail channel, which is a well-developed market in terms of consumer electronics and the interest in smart homes is growing at quite a rapid rate,” he said.

“We’re also expanding overseas. The need is universal and people all over the world are concerned about security, so we’re launching in Dubai and Australia.

“That’s one strand of our expansion strategy, and the other is to develop partnerships with large corporates.”

Parekh says it’s easy to overtrade and over expand but that it’s crucial for Cocoon to open up the right channels to market at the right pace and manage the growth in a sustainable way.

“We certainly see that over the next two years we could get to the £10 to £15m turnover mark quite happily.”

Other attendees of the Leeds roundtable were:

Tina Kalantaridi, founder and owner, The Language Pod
Alex Epstein, chief marketing officer, Big Change Apps
Natasha Babar-Evans, enabler, Entrepreneurial Spark Leeds
James Gupta, founder and CEO, Synap
Adam Hildreth, CEO,Crisp
Alicia Ridout, deputy director, mHabitat
Laura Wellington, director, Duke Studios
Richard Ellis, head of digital retail, Answer Digital
Simon Brereton, acting head of economic policy and sector development, Leeds City Council
Mark Walsh, CEO / founder, KwizzBit
Sanjay Parekh, CEO, Cocoon
Graham Pearce, Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms, KPMG
Chris Maguire, editor, BusinessCloud (host)