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Intact Ventures becomes strategic investor in Canadian IoT technology company Alert Labs


April 20, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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Intact Ventures has made its first investment in Canada Alert Labs Inc., an Ontario provider of easy-to-install technology that offers residential and commercial property owners real-time water use, flood, leak, temperature and power alerts.

Not only do the alerts generated by the cellular-connected, home-protection technology help homes and businesses guard against water damage, they also provide water-saving opportunities, Kitchener, Ontario-based Alert Labs noted in a statement Wednesday.

The cellular connection comes with a built-in battery back-up, meaning sensors do not rely on WiFi and will operate during an ice storm or power outage.

The Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor work together to provide minute-by-minute water use information, allowing the company’s analytics engine to identify leaks from the municipal water supply, such as a leaky toilet or malfunctioning furnace humidifier. Flowie also reports basement temperature and humidity, providing early warning about environments with higher potential for mould or freezing pipes.

Related: Northbridge Insurance teams up with Alert Labs for pilot project with home water damage sensors

“Homeowners receive email and mobile alerts for floods, leaks, high or continual water use and power outages,” the company adds.

Reporting that Alert Labs is committed to helping the insurance industry reduce preventable expenditures, it notes that in 2015, Canadian insurance companies spent approximately $2.6 billion repairing homes as a result of water damage.

In the next five years, it is expected that North American insurers will spend more than $100 billion to repair water damage in customers’ homes, the statement adds.

Related: New DGIG water protection program available country-wide

Alert Labs recently announced a program with the City of Guelph, Ontario, which relies solely on groundwater for its water source. The city is encouraging use of the company’s water sensor kit to drive water conservation and is offering a rebate to residents that purchase the company’s leak and flood protection solution.

“It’s exciting to support a company like Alert Labs that is developing technology that will help protect homeowners and mitigate risk,” Karim Hirji, senior vice president of Intact Ventures, the strategic venture arm of Intact Financial Corporation, says in the statement.

Beyond Intact Ventures, BDC Capital, Garage Capital, Hedgewood Inc. and several other investors have invested in to accelerate Alert Labs’ marketing activities and scale business operations.

The investments “will ultimately enable us to share our products with more customers,” suggests Alert Labs CEO George Tsintzouras.

The sensors – which can be placed on water meters, sump pumps, near toilets and other appliances – “are as easy to install as a watch or a Fitbit – everyone can do it with no tools or professional installers,” Tsintzouras adds.

“We appreciate the importance of providing homeowners and businesses with innovative solutions that are easy to use, cost-effective and reliable,” Hirji says.

“The value of this type of technology will continue to grow as we adapt to climate change,” he adds.

Related: Aviva Canada and DMZ launch Insurtech accelerator program, applications sought