16 August 2017
Investing in Dor
We’re pleased to announce that we recently partnered with Dor. This brilliant team from Apple innovated on hardware, firmware and software to build a foot traffic sensor at 1/15th of the cost of competitive products and in a way that doesn’t require professional installation, power or WiFi. This is a truly disruptive technology, in the Christensen-esque sense.
Making something that’s 1/15th the cost of competitive products and running it on batteries is hard but Dor’s founders are bona fide inventors. Gregg worked on the software that makes using AirPlay seamless, allows you to configure a Wi-Fi accessory wirelessly from any app (for example, when you setup a Sonos) and many other ways for gadgets to connect to each other. Getting to know Michael was fascinating. He designed a lot of the hardware in iPods, learnt how to solder the smallest links humanly possible, starting mining bitcoin many years ago and built P2P loan trading systems to earn money on the side. Great hardware, firmware and software engineers want to work with such founders, and have indeed joined the Dor team over the last few years. Together, they’ve made a beautiful product.
The first, and obvious, opportunity is for Dor to replace legacy products used by retailers to measure foot traffic. These products cost $2,500–5,000 per sensor, require professional installation, routing power cables to the device, routing ethernet cables to the device, ongoing maintenance and lots of bandwidth to transfer video signals. Dor’s product costs $190, sticks onto a doorway with double-sided tape, runs for over 6 months on a few AA batteries, has its own cell connection, doesn’t require any maintenance and doesn’t even connect to one’s WiFi. Replacing legacy systems with Dor is an easy decision for big retailers. Additionally, small retailers can access and analyze foot traffic data for their own stores — an operational advantage previously only afforded to the big players in retail.
The second opportunity we saw with the company is allowing more types of business — outside retail — to get foot traffic data. When you make a device this cheap and easy to install, people start using it for all sorts of things. Dor is already seeing a number of novel uses of its device.
- hospitals making sure there aren’t too many people in an operating room at any one time
- airlines measuring disembarkation times
- big banks optimizing building maintenance schedules
- companies making decisions about where to build more conference rooms
- co-working spaces optimizing yield
The third opportunity we saw with the company is combining this data on people traffic with other sources of data, for example, point of sale, marketing campaigns and staffing, Dor can make recommendations on how to run a business. The company can suggest, for example, when to staff less people in slow periods to save money, when to run a marketing campaign on Facebook to increase traffic or when there’s going to be a big event nearby that could drive foot traffic.
All of this adds up to a market opportunity in the tens of billions of dollars, impacting industries far beyond retail.