BostInno Article: Armored Things Raises $5.5M Seed Round to Predict Trends in Crowd Behavior

Armored Things, a Boston-based startup that uses Internet of Things devices and their data to keep large venues safe, announced on Wednesday that it has completed a $5.5 million seed round of financing.

Together with iNovia Capital, the leading investor in the institutional round is Glasswing Ventures, the early-stage VC firm that announced its $112 debut fund focused on AI startups earlier in July.

The round, which includes MassVentures as participating investor, brings the company’s total funding to $8 million. Before its first institutional fundraising, the company has been mainly bootstrapping.

Founded in December 2016 by Julie Johnson and Charles Curran, Armored Things will use the money primarily to add four or five engineers to its 16-people team, which already includes former Carbon Black and Apple executives.

The ultimate goal is to accelerate the development of its software, which will go live as part of a pilot program in the fall.

As we reported back in March, Armored Things is a cyber-physical security startup that is leveraging the network of sensors many institutions have in place to improve emergency response. Imagine Fenway Park at the peak of baseball season: huge crowds, long lines and thousands of square feet to monitor to keep the area secure. Armored Things’s software connects data from on-site sources (like video cameras and smart doorlocks) and help security officers spot patterns in crowd behavior that are consistent with incidents, with the ultimate goal of predicting attacks.

“People are very smart,” Johnson, president of Armored Things, said. “If the notice a suspicious package… they may chance their behavior in a way that the human eye cannot see, but the data can tell.”

Potential users of the software could be the chief security officer at large venues or the person who’s running operations for Wimbledon or the World Cup, Johnson added. Currently, they’re partnering with Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Microsoft and Cisco and are working with seven universities and 26 stadiums.

“We don’t disclose who those customers are, but it includes three of the five biggest universities in the U.S. and two of the five biggest collage stadiums,” CEO Curran pointed out.

In an email to BostInno, Rick Grinnell, founder and managing partner at Glasswing, said that Armored Things is not Glasswing’s first investment as part of its debut fund. Other local companies in the firm’s portfolio are Allure Security and Talla.

“Rick’s been a friend for 12 years,” Curran said. “He’s been tracking the company since Julie and I left Qualcomm to co-found this company.”

As part of the funding announcement, both Grinnell and Todd Simpson, partner at iNovia Capital, will join the board of Armored Things.

By:  Lucia Maffe

Kristin Butler