Density, a tracker of building users, raises $51M

Covid boost leads startup to project tenfold revenue growth this year

National /
Jul.July 28, 2020 09:30 AM
Density CEO Andrew Farah (Density, iStock)

Density CEO Andrew Farah (Density, iStock)

Density, a startup that anonymously tracks how people move through buildings, has raised $51 million from heavy-hitting investors in time to help offices reopen for business.

The Series C brings the New York City startup’s total funding to $74 million as companies scramble to keep employees safe at work.

The round was led by Kleiner Perkins with participation from 01 Advisors, the investment firm co-founded by former Twitter exec Dick Costolo. Other backers included Upfront Ventures, Founders Fund, Ludlow Ventures, Launch, DTA in participation with Alex Rodriguez, Greenoaks Capital, LPC Ventures, Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz and co-founder Kevin Hartz, Zivity co-founders Scott Banister and Cyan Banister, and others.

“The world is trying to reopen,” said co-founder and CEO Andrew Farah. “The reality is that every industry in the world is dealing with the challenge of trying to figure out how space is used and keeping people safe.”

Density was not conceived of as a post-Covid solution, however: It launched in 2014.

The company’s founders initially designed and created sensors to gauge activity at their favorite coffee shop in Syracuse. In the dead of winter, Farah said, the last thing you wanted to do was “walk through a bunch of snow only to hit a line.”

Over the past decade, however, the technology coincided with increased demand for AI and smart building-technology used to boost safety and efficiency. Unlike cameras, which have triggered privacy concerns, Density’s sensors measure height values on doorways to count how many people pass through.

Pre-Covid, enterprise clients including Pinterest, Hello Fresh and New York University used Density’s sensors to identify wasted space in their office portfolios. According to Farah, 41 percent of office space in the U.S. is leased but not occupied for a host of reasons.

When Covid hit, Density experienced a surge in demand, leading the company to boost production at its manufacturing facility in Syracuse by 90 percent. “Companies have been trying to modernize buildings for the last decade,” Farah said. “Well after the pandemic is over, they will continue to modernize buildings and understand how they are used. The pandemic has just accelerated the timeline.”

Density is one of several proptech firms that have raised money in recent months to accelerate products with post-Covid appeal.

Farah said Density was well-capitalized heading into the pandemic and held off on fundraising until May to see how things would play out. Demand was such that the fundraising was exceptionally quick. “We were in the market for nine days,” Farah said. He declined to disclose the company’s revenue, but projected a tenfold increase this year.

Write to E.B. Solomont at [email protected]


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