Digital doorkeys and more: Meet New York's latest start-ups

3 May 2013

That's a problem that the founders of Kisi hope they have solved, by coming up with a way of using your smartphone to open your front door.

"Most people have the pain of handing over keys, or keys getting lost," says Kisi co-founder Maximilian Schuetz. "Kisi solves that."

Kisi works like this: if you live in an apartment block with an intercom, you insert a small chip into the intercom, on the door to your apartment itself you fix a digital lock, and finally you plug in the control unit inside your apartment.

Download the app, and hey presto you're ready to go. When you get to the door, you simply push a button on your phone, which sends a signal to the control unit or gateway in your apartment, which then tells the lock to open.

What happens if you lose your phone? Well, your details are actually stored in the cloud (you only access them via your phone) so you simply go online on another device, or else there's always a back-up of typing in a pin code.

Using the software, you can also give access to others remotely - for instance a cleaner or a visiting friend who arrives while you're at work, or a neighbour in case of an emergency.

"You can be in Bermuda and give someone access in New York," says Mr Schuetz. "So you save travel time and travel costs."

Kisi has just launched in New York, and is one of a growing number of start-ups hoping to take the city by storm.

"There's a surge in start-ups in New York right now because technology is becoming much more mainstream and along with that there's start-ups being founded in areas like e-commerce and fashion," says Josh Constine, writer at technology web magazine TechCrunch.

Fast money

TechCrunch holds two Disrupt events every year - one in New York and one in San Francisco - that give start-ups a chance to showcase their businesses.

This week saw budding tech entrepreneurs descend on the Manhattan Center, setting up stalls on "Start-up Alley" and hoping to catch the eye of potential investors.

Mr Schuetz and his fellow Kisi co-founder Bernhard Mehl are originally from Germany but having studied in New York and already having many connections with the city, they decided to base the company here.

"They adapt faster to new technology here. Germany is very conservative," Mr Schuetz says, adding that New York has very good networking opportunities.

Source: BBC News


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